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Archive for the ‘juvenile offenders’ 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 Offenders: Wearing Restraints During Court Appearances in Illinois

January 4th, 2017 at 1:31 pm

juvenile offenders, Rolling Meadows Juvenile Matters LawyerAll too many Illinois juveniles end up in the hands of the law after committing minor offenses. A minor might get caught in possession of marijuana, or prescription drugs, or might get arrested for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Minors often wind up in trouble for theft and are charged with shoplifting, robbery and criminal trespassing.

Minors who are arrested and charged with these offenses have to be booked in to jail and then make an appearance in court. Juveniles who are charged with offenses need to get in touch with an experienced criminal defense attorney who has experience in juvenile matters.

One of the most upsetting and often embarrassing aspects of a juvenile’s court appearance for a criminal matter is having to appear before a judge in shackles. For nearly 30 years it has been customary for juveniles to wear restraints when making a court appearance, regardless of the nature of their alleged crime. The thought process behind this protocol is that it promotes courtroom safety and can protect the juvenile from hurting themselves and others. Minors often feel intimidated and humiliated by the experience, and what makes it worse is if the accused minor is actually innocent.

New Rule Changes Affect When Juveniles Are Shackled in Court

A new rule and an amendment to an existing rule are changing how juvenile cases are handled in court. These changes were largely supported by state and national juvenile advocacy groups. The new rules grant judges the authority to make decisions about whether low-level juvenile offenders really need to be marched into the courtroom while wearing restraints.

Supreme Court Rule 943, which was adopted on November 1, 2016, provides that juveniles who are minor offenders will not need to make their court appearances in shackles or restraints unless the judge has made a decision that such restraints are necessary to prevent harm, or reduce the risk of flight, or if the juvenile has a history of disruptive behavior. The judge’s decision must be made after a hearing has taken place on the issue. Amendments to Supreme Court Rule 941 make it so that these new rules regarding the shackling of juveniles apply to juvenile delinquency proceedings.

A case-by-case assessment of whether restraints are appropriate in any given case seems like a more logical approach to this issue. Twenty-three other states, and Washington D.C., have all adopted similar rules to address this issue as well.

Call The Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley

Juvenile charges are serious and they can make a lasting impression on a young person who made a mistake. Juveniles end up in all kinds of trouble and when they do it is important to seek guidance and advice from an experienced criminal defense attorney. If someone you love is a minor who has committed a criminal offense, please do not hesitate to contact a dedicated Rolling Meadows juvenile matters lawyer immediately.

Source:

http://www.illinoiscourts.gov/supremecourt/public_hearings/rules/2016/070816_Proposal_15-05.pdf

An Opportunity for Expungement

July 8th, 2014 at 7:00 am

opportunity, Chicago criminal defense attorney, Cook County Circuit Court, criminal records sealed, expungement, Illinois law, law-abiding citizensUnder Illinois law, those convicted of certain crimes may be able to clear their criminal record. While this is a positive thing for many eligible people, the problem is that many are not aware of their option to do so. This often puts them at a disadvantage when it comes to education and employment opportunities after completing their sentences. However, according to a recent article, the clerk of the Cook County Circuit Court is working to spread awareness about the law so that people can take advantage of the benefits it offers in having their records expunged.

Expungement Summit

The clerk has been running a campaign for the last ten years aimed at educating offenders about their options to get their criminal records sealed or expunged. While she has made progress, there is still room for improvement, particularly among juvenile offenders. An educational summit will be held to continue the campaign. The goal is to let people know if they have an opportunity to expunge their court records, and to take advantage of the second chance it affords them to be law-abiding citizens and productive members of society. The law is aimed at removing as many obstacles as possible for people who are trying to better themselves and the life of their family. Many agencies and organizations from Cook County will be involved in hosting the event.

Criminal Convictions

After the tragedy of 9/11, the number of background checks performed on job applicants drastically increased from 20 percent to 80 percent. This statistic presented obvious difficulties in securing employment for those with a criminal record. Perhaps more problematic is that even those charged with minor infractions in the past were denied jobs and other opportunities because of the charges.

Employment opportunities are not the only thing with which a criminal record can interfere. Prior criminal charges in court records can affect education opportunities, bank loan applications, eligibility for military service, and housing or rental applications, just to name a few. Another important piece of information to keep in mind is that even if a defendant was later found innocent of a charge or never charged with a crime, he or she may still have an arrest record.

Juveniles

Although the number of juvenile applications for expungements have increased in recent years, it is believed that only a fraction of those eligible apply. Part of the problem may be that since juvenile cases are confidential, those charged with juvenile crimes mistakenly think no one can access their record anyway, so there is no need to get the case expunged. This likely causes many juvenile offenders to never think they need to seek an expungement.

Criminal Defense Attorney

There is a legal process involved in applying for and successfully obtaining an expungement. If you are interested in petitioning the court to clear your criminal record, the experienced attorneys at the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley can assist you. Contact us today for a consultation. We serve clients in Cook County and the surrounding area.

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