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Archive for the ‘Illinois crime’ tag

Chicago’s Ban on Guns Struck Down

January 26th, 2014 at 1:02 pm

According to an article recently published by the Chicago Tribune, a federal judge decided that a main part of Chicago’s gun ordinance which prohibits licensed gun stores from operating within the city is unconstitutional. The U.S. District Judge, Edmond Chang, opined that he was not convinced that the prohibition was necessary in order to achieve the goal of reducing gun violence, something that was imperative in order to outweigh the constitutional protections found in the Second Amendment. In addition to that provision, the Judge also decided that it was legal to transfer firearms as gifts or through private sale, provided the recipient was 18 years old or older and had a firearm owner’s identification card.

 Chicago gun ban IMAGEChicago’s crackdown on guns in the relatively recent past had made it a primary target of the National Rifle Association. Reversing the recent ban on licensed retail stores in the city and private gun sales is considered a win by gun rights advocates in their crusade to eliminate some of Chicago’s strict firearm prohibitions. The ruling coincided with Illinois’ new concealed carry law, which was set to take effect in the new year. It should be noted that the city is expected to appeal the judge’s decision, which will likely prevent any gun stores from opening in Chicago any time soon.

While it goes without saying that Chicago struggles with illegal guns and gun violence within the city’s borders, it seems the local government will have to try again to strike a balance between gun safety and respecting constitutional protections, a task lawmakers have been struggling with in the last few years.

The federal judge said that in this particular case, the city failed to show how allowing the legal sale of firearms in Chicago would result in a “genuine and serious risk” to public safety. The ban, he said, reached too far in totally banning legal transactions between buyers and dealers, while also failing to prove that doing so would achieve the purpose of the ban itself. The Judge pointed to other methods, such as regulations and licensing, that would address the city’s concerns while allowing law-abiding citizens to acquire firearms if they chose to do so.

While the NRA has been a key player in this suit as well as others across the country in their aim to chip away at gun control laws, others say that individual citizens have been successful in passing laws with the goal of keeping gun violence down. Some say the city’s ban failed because it aimed too high: the blanket ban on gun sales contradicted the idea that if there is a constitutional right to own a gun, part of that protection is the right to obtain one. Instead, the city may have been more successful in imposing numerous regulations on the sale of firearms.

It is likely that gun control will continue to be a hot button topic in the news and in politics and the local government. This means that crimes involving firearms may be particularly scrutinized by law enforcement and the public. If you or someone you know has been charged with a crime involving a firearm, contacting an adept criminal defense lawyer in the Chicago area is crucial. Contact us today for advice in your particular matter.

New Year Brings New Police Procedure

January 11th, 2014 at 11:24 am

The New Year is here, and with it come new laws and regulations that are going into effect. One change that could be especially relevant for criminal defendants involves new training for law enforcement in the use of Taser guns. According to WICS, who recently reported on the change, a new law went into effect on January 1st, 2014, and requires more training for police officers who may use Tasers on a suspect.

Taser gun IMAGEThe new law also requires police departments to keep detailed records of their training related to Taser use and when they are used in a confrontation with a potential defendant. In the event a police officer uses a Taser on a suspect, the officer will then be required to collect certain information from the suspect.

Some law enforcement agencies reported that it had already been their practice to keep records similar to those required by the law for the last seven years, and also regularly practiced displaying Tasers when an officer had one in his or her possession, something which was not required under the old rules. Displaying the Taser involves removing it from its holster and making sure the suspect sees it as if the officer is going to use it. At times, the suspect may start complying with law enforcement after seeing it and the officer can then secure it in the holster again without having to use it. Then, the protocol is for the officer to complete paperwork stating that they displayed the Taser, the suspect complied, and was not tased.

Under the new rule, all of the data kept by police departments will be required to be turned over to the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority, who in turn will present a report containing the relevant information to the governor of the state of Illinois and the Illinois legislature.

While not all changes in police procedure may have a significant impact on the rights of a criminal defendant, violations of procedure could very well affect the outcome of a criminal case.  It is best to consult with an experienced Chicago criminal defense attorney who can discuss your case with you and protect your rights. Our attorneys have experience defending citizens in many types of criminal law cases, and we can advise you on the specific facts of your case. Contact us today for a consultation.

New Legislation to Address “Knockout Game”

January 7th, 2014 at 10:23 am

Chances are you have seen or heard of the disturbing new trend among teens to participate in what is known as the “knockout game,” in which the assailant unexpectedly attacks a member of the public from behind in an effort to knock them out. Victims are usually targeted at random. The dangerous trend has been featured on news broadcasts, online, and through other media outlets, who reported on the attacks with sometimes fatal consequences for the victims. Now the government is taking steps to address it.

knockout gameAn Illinois state representative, Dwight Kay, has proposed House Bill 3783, known as the Knockout Assault Prevention Act, which takes aim at punishing knockout game offenders. The Act would impose higher penalties on those convicted of the crime of battery while participating in the game, making it punishable by three to seven years of incarceration. It also provides that any minors above the age of 14 would be tried for the crime in adult criminal court. Currently, law enforcement seems to think that the trend is mostly confined to large cities, but if the legislation is passed into law in Illinois, any county would be able to use it.

In a case involving an elderly black male victim, the “knockout game” attacker will be charged with a federal hate crime. Authorities say that the attack in that case was racially motivated, as the attack and the moments leading up to it were video recorded, which revealed that the suspect targeted the man because of his race and color.  The recorded statement was of the attacker posing the question that if he were to hit a black person, would it be nationally televised. That defendant was 27 years old at the time of the attack, which occurred in the state of Texas. The victim’s jaw was fractured in two places, and he was hospitalized for several days as the result of the injuries he sustained in his fall to the ground. It is important to note that this defendant allegedly suffers from mental illness, including bipolar disorder, and was reportedly off of his medication at the time of the attack.

In New York, police charged a suspect with a hate crime in connection with the attack of a Jewish male as part of the “knockout” game, and other cases have been reported in numerous other states, such as Missouri and Washington. While this dangerous game does not seem to be confined to one area across the nation, it is safe to say that law enforcement will be cracking down on offenders from here on out.

If you or someone you know has been charged with a crime in the Chicago area, an experienced criminal defense attorney can protect your rights. Our attorneys have experience defending citizens in many types of criminal law cases, and we are prepared to advise and represent you in your case. Contact us today for a consultation.

What Is an Expungement and How Can You Get One?

November 22nd, 2013 at 3:30 pm

If you have a prior conviction on your record and have ever tried to get a job, you understand the problem: the employer is going to ask you if you have any convictions and you are obligated to disclose that you do. For many employers, this is a deal-breaker, and upon seeing a prior conviction, they will move on to the next candidate. This leaves you in the precarious position of not being able to obtain gainful employment, no matter how hard you try, because of a past mistake.

Expunging your record gives you a clean slate.Both conviction and arrest records are public, so potential employers can actually see if you have been arrested for an offense; even if you were not charged. Those of us who work in the field of criminal law appreciate that there is a huge difference between being charged for a crime and being convicted–police officers make errors all of the time. But potential employers are far less forgiving.

However, there is some good news. The State of Illinois understands this dilemma and has come up with a way to seal arrests and certain criminal convictions, making it so employers (and anyone who runs a background check) cannot see them. This is what an expungement is. Basically, an expungement erases your criminal records and lets you start off fresh again.

Do I Qualify for an Expungement?

Not all applicants can qualify for an Expungement based on the severity of their criminal history and the crimes contained therein. Generally, expungements are for misdemeanors and non-violent felony convictions that were committed a long time ago. To find out specifically whether you might qualify for an Expungement you should contact an expungement attorney today.

 Also, if you would like to learn more on your own, the Illinois State Appellate Defender’s website provides some helpful resources that shed light on this issue.

I Want an Expungement, What Should I Do?

If you are interested in starting fresh and getting your criminal record expunged, you should contact an experienced criminal defense firm. Here at The Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley, we have experience in successfully getting records expunged involving DUI offenses, traffic offenses, license reinstatement, drug charges, domestic violence, and all juvenile matters.

Click here to contact The Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley today, or call 847-394-3200 to schedule a free initial consultation and to determine if you are eligible for an expungement.

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