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Archive for the ‘Illinois juvenile crimes’ tag

Illinois Supreme Court to Hear Case on Juvenile Sentencing

July 9th, 2018 at 8:40 am

Illinois juvenile crimes, juvenile offenders, juvenile sentencing, Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney, federal constitution violationJuvenile crime should be taken seriously. Society does not want to teach young offenders that they can get away with whatever they want. However, there is a big difference in making sure that a young person knows what he or she did was wrong and sentencing him or her to life in prison. The Illinois Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case to determine when the length of a sentence is “too much” for juvenile offenders.

Specifics of the Case

Dimitri Buffer was sentenced to 50 years in prison at the age of 16; 25 years for murder and 25 years for the use of a firearm. Following this sentencing, the United States Supreme Court decided the case Miller v. Alabama. In the case, the Court found that mandatory life sentences for juveniles without the chance for parole amount to the level of cruel and unusual punishment. There is evidence that the human brain develops past the first 20 years of life. This can reduce a juvenile’s culpability and ability to access the dangers and wrongdoing associated with crimes.

Buffer contends that his 50-year sentence violates the federal or state constitution. After the ruling in Miller, appellate courts across the country have been unsure of where to draw the line when it comes to juvenile sentencing and which sentences are too long. Buffer is now 25 years old with 41 years left on his sentence.

A study by Injustice Watch found that there are 167 juvenile offenders who are serving either life sentences, or sentences that are likely to result in only a few years of freedom before death after a release.

When Buffer’s case reached the Illinois Appeals Court, they found that the 50-year sentence violated the federal constitution because of the decision made by the Court in Miller. The appeals court determined that the average life expectancy for a prisoner like Buffer is approximately 64 years old. Adding 41 years to his current age of 25 takes him all the way to the age of 66 before release, beyond the life expectancy determined by the Court. In addition to an order for re-sentencing, Buffer, his family, and attorneys are asking that the Illinois Supreme Court try to provide some guidance on juvenile sentencing and when it is “too much.”

This is not the first time that the Illinois Supreme Court has ruled on juvenile sentencing and when the length was too great.

Let Us Help You Today

If you or a loved one has committed a crime as a juvenile, you need a knowledgeable attorney. Experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney Christopher M. Cosley is here to help you. Attorney Cosley does not want one indiscretion made in someone’s youth to dictate his or her entire future. Contact us today to start getting the best defense possible.

Sources:

https://www.oyez.org/cases/2011/10-9646

https://www.injusticewatch.org/news/2018/illinois-supreme-court-to-consider-how-much-time-too-much-youth-crime/

Juvenile Crime Law: Give Our Kids a Chance in 2017

May 22nd, 2017 at 8:50 am

juvenile crime law, juvenile criminal offenses-Rolling Meadows Criminal Law AttorneyWith the signing of State Bill 2777, it is now prohibited for a juvenile to be committed to a juvenile detention center for a crime that is not a felony, and even for some nonviolent felonies. This change in the law comes as a sweeping initiative is taking hold in the Illinois legislature, moving away from the tough on crime policies that have caused an exploding prison population in Illinois.

“There has been a recognition that our system of justice needs to be more just and less retribution-focused,” said Rep. Ron Sandack, R-Downers Grove.” This is coming as bi-partisan efforts to keep our children out of the prison system have begun to take hold in our criminal justice system.

Which Juvenile Crimes Does This New Law Effect?

The new law effects juveniles who have been convicted of misdemeanor crimes. Misdemeanor crimes include misdemeanor theft, misdemeanor possession of marijuana, simple battery, and trespassing.   

Why Now?

Illinois lawmakers have been grappling with the rising population of juveniles who go from juvenile detention centers directly into adult detention centers. Juveniles who are sentenced for misdemeanor crimes, and find themselves becoming adult offenders without having a meaningful opportunity to rejoin society, have a high societal cost and an extremely heavy financial burden on the state of Illinois.

Lawmakers have anticipated that the new change in the law will save approximately $4.5 million dollars that the state of Illinois must pay to house the 110 kids that are admitted to juvenile detention centers, on average, every year.

Is That the Only Juvenile Criminal Law That Has Changed?

House Bill 6291 is another law that changed in 2017. This change in the law prohibits a juvenile from being committed to the Department of Juvenile Justice for certain controlled substance violations unless it is his or her third or subsequent judicial finding of a probation violation.

Another goal of this bill is to change the minimum probation period for youths who have been adjudicated delinquent. “We need to approach our criminal justice system with more compassion,” said Illinois Governor Rauner.” It is time the state starts treating our youth who struggle with addiction with various treatment programs instead of sending them to jail.

Do I Still Need a Lawyer?

Even with the changes in the law, it is still important to have dedicated and experienced legal counsel on your side when you have been arrested and charged with a crime. Contact your experienced Rolling Meadows criminal law attorney at the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley at 847-394-3200.

Sources:

https://www.riverbender.com/articles/details/rauner-signs-bills-to-further-reforms-to-illinois-criminal-justice-system-14779.cfm#.WP_EqtLytqM

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/politics/ct-illinois-juvenile-justice-new-laws-met-20151230-story.html

Frightening Facts About Juveniles and Crime in Illinois

October 18th, 2016 at 7:00 am

juveniles and crime, Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorneyTeens and young adults sometimes make poor decisions. As a result, they may end up being charged with a crime. Teens may even be involved in criminal activities on a regular basis when they are caught, or they may be first-time offenders. If your teen is involved in a crime, speaking with a skilled criminal defense attorney is essential.

Teens, Crime, and the Statistics

Many crimes that are committed by juveniles occur while they are at school. For instance, according to a 2014 National Report on Juvenile Offenders produced by the U.S. Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, some frightening statistics about juveniles and crime while in school in Illinois include:

  • 3.9 percent of juveniles questioned reported having taken a weapon to school with them within the past 30 days prior to being surveyed;
  • 7.6 percent reported having been threatened in school by a weapon possessed by a classmate;
  • 3.3 percent of juveniles reported that they had used alcohol while on school property within the past 30 days;
  • 4.7 percent of juveniles reported using marijuana while at school; and
  • 27.3 percent reported being offered illegal drugs or alcohol while at school.

These statistics show that young people are exposed to a lot of opportunities to engage in criminal activities, even while they are in school. A number of other crimes often occur on school grounds as well, such as assaults, batteries, school-ground fights, thefts, bullying, and harassment.

When Teens Get Into Trouble At School

Teens are subjected to peer pressure, and because they are not good at exercising sound judgement, good kids can make bad choices—they are influenced by their peers. A lot of kids make bad choices and commit crimes because they want to appear cool to their friends, or are going through tough issues at home and are acting out. There are several reasons why teens make the decisions that they do, and they often do not have the foresight to understand the consequences of their actions.

When a teen gets into criminal trouble while in school, there are many consequences. The teen could be suspended or expelled from the school, and criminal charges could be pressed against the teen. If convicted, the teen could have a criminal record. These are all very serious consequences that can have a long-lasting impact on a young person’s life. The teen could have trouble finishing school, could develop a reputation as a troublemaker within the school, or could have difficulty getting accepted to college.

Contact Us Today for Help

Do not let your teen’s misguided mistake turn into a lifetime of harsh consequences. One youthful mistake could haunt your teen for many years to come in the future. If your child has been charged with a crime, it is important to diligently and aggressively fight the charges. Do not hesitate to contact a Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney immediately. Our office can help you today. Call 847-394-3200.

Source:

http://www.ojjdp.gov/ojstatbb/nr2014/downloads/NR2014.pdf

New Illinois Bill Could Give Juveniles Quicker Detention Hearings

May 25th, 2016 at 8:44 am

Illinois detention hearings, Rolling Meadows Juvenile Matters LawyerJuveniles are just children or teenagers; they make poor choices from time to time, and they make mistakes. When young people are involved in minor crime, and arrested for it, their detention by police can place a terrible burden on the juvenile and his or her family. For the juvenile’s family, there is a sense of uncertainty and worry until a judge reviews the juvenile’s case. For the juvenile, detention can mean being locked up for a long period of time away from people he or she knows and loves.

Children and teens need love and support when they are in trouble, and isolating them away to wait for the review of their case can be stressful. Moreover, detaining teens for extended periods of time can be detrimental to their well-being. It can cause them to panic, worry, and fret incessantly. Detention can trigger severe emotional and psychological reactions, especially if the juvenile is generally a good kid who made a silly mistake, or foolishly listened to the bad advice or goading of his or her friends, which landed him or her in juvenile detention. It is unfair and unjust to unnecessarily force juveniles to be detained any longer than is absolutely necessary. Juveniles should be rejoined with their families and loved ones as quickly as possible.

Current Illinois Law Concerning Juvenile Detention Hearings

Under current Illinois law, 705 ILCS 405/5-415, juveniles may be detained for up to 40 hours before they are granted a detention hearing. That 40-hour time frame does not include weekends or court-recognized holidays. So, in effect, a juvenile could be detained for up to five days, given that an arrest was made on a Friday, and the juvenile is detained over a holiday weekend. In such a case, the earliest a juvenile could be granted a detention hearing is on the next Tuesday morning. Over 1,000 juveniles are detained for suspected criminal activity each year in Illinois, and approximately 25 percent of these juvenile detentions occur over a weekend.

Fortunately, the Illinois Senate is considering a bill that would expedite detention hearings for juveniles who commit minor, nonviolent crimes. Under the proposed bill, HB5619, juveniles charged with minor offenses would receive a detention hearing within 24 hours of being charged. This time period for review of the juvenile’s case would include holidays and weekends so that juveniles would not possibly be detained over a weekend or holiday. The House of Representatives has already approved the bill.

When Juveniles Need Legal Representation

Individuals who face criminal charges, no matter how severe and no matter what their age is, should consult with an experienced criminal defense lawyer. The consequences of a conviction, even as a juvenile, can have serious long-term consequences. If you have a juvenile who is in need of legal representation, please do not hesitate to contact a compassionate Rolling Meadows juvenile defense lawyer at our office. We are happy to help you today.

Sources:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=070504050K5-415

http://ilga.gov/legislation/99/HB/PDF/09900HB5619lv.pdf

When Minors Get in Trouble With Alcohol, You Need an Illinois Juvenile Offenses Lawyer

May 11th, 2016 at 10:29 am

minors with alcohol, juvenile offenses, Rolling Meadows Criminal Defense AttorneyYoung people are often curious about alcohol, and sometimes their curiosity can land them into trouble. Rather than wait until they reach the legal age of 21 to buy, possess, and consume alcohol, juveniles find ways to gain access to alcohol, in violation of the law. Minors do not always understand the risks that they are taking, as well as the potential consequences of possessing, consuming, or trying to purchase alcohol when underage.

As a general rule, it is illegal for a person under the age of 21 to possess or consume alcohol in Illinois. A minor who is caught violating the law can face being charged with a Class A misdemeanor along with the suspension of his or her driver’s license.

License suspensions can last for three months when a minor is issued court supervision, six months when the convicted minor is a first time offender, and up to a year for a second conviction. Any third or subsequent conviction for a minor in possession or consumption of alcohol will result in a revocation of the minor’s driver’s license.  

Minor in Possession

Many teens and their concerned family members are sometimes surprised when a minor is charged with possession in Illinois—the minor may not have been physically holding or physically in possession of the alcohol in question. The alcohol might be in a backpack or car trunk, or might have even been sitting on a table near the minor when a party was broken up by the police. However, possession exists in two forms: actual possession and constructive possession.

Actual possession is what many people understand as physically holding the alcohol in your hand or on your person (i.e., a bottle of alcohol in your pocket). Actual possession makes sense to a lot of people—if you are holding an alcoholic beverage, you are clearly in possession of it. Yet, many people have trouble understanding constructive possession.

Constructive possession is based on the possessor’s intent to remain in control or possession of the alcohol, even if he or she is not physically in possession of it at the moment. A case of beer could be in your trunk, or you could have set down your alcoholic beverage nearby, but you would still be considered to have constructive possession of the alcohol.

Is There Any Scenario Where Minors Can Have Alcohol?

There are limited exceptions to the law when minors can have access to alcohol. These limited exceptions include the following:

  • Minors can have alcohol if it is with their parent’s consent and supervision while in the privacy of their home;
  • Minors can have access to alcohol if the alcohol is part of a religious ceremony; and
  • Minors who are 18 years old or older, but are under the age of 21, can have access to alcohol if it is part of an educational course.

Let Us Represent Your Child

Underaged minors get into to trouble with alcohol all of the time, and it is unfortunate. The conviction of a minor in possession of alcohol could seriously impact your child’s future, and it is important to diligently fight the charges against you child. Please contact a Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney immediately at our office. We will help your child throughout his or her case.

Sources:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=023500050K6-20

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=023500050K6-20

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