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Archive for the ‘police intimidation’ tag

Illinois Legislature Passes Police Body Camera Law

June 15th, 2015 at 7:27 am

Illinois defense lawyer, Illinois criminal attorney, police brutality,In the wake of the killings of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, and countless other unarmed African-American men, women, and children by police officers, the public has finally started to demand that something be done about our nation’s police problem. One of the possible solutions that has been offered is requiring police officers to wear body cameras to record their conduct and misconduct. The footage created by these cameras could exonerate innocent officers, and, conversely, could be used to prosecute guilty officers. They may deter police misconduct. And, the footage could be used by criminal defense attorneys to prove when police officers violate defendants’ rights. Illinois may be the first state to enact legislation requiring police to use these cameras.

Bill Passes through Illinois Legislature and Awaits the Governor’s Signature

The State Journal-Register reports that the Illinois legislature passed a body camera bill and that it is waiting for the governor’s signature. This bill is the first of its nature to pass since President Obama convened the Task Force on 21st Century Policing. If the governor signs the bill, Illinois will be the first state to pass such a law. This one would include requirements regarding body cameras, would create new training for police officers, and would create a database where officers who commit crimes can be tracked so it is less difficult for problem officers to jump from department to department.

The New Bill Likely Does Not Go Far Enough

While this bill may be a good first step, it does not go far enough. It does not require police to wear body cameras at all times. Instead it simply changes the state’s eavesdropping law to allow police to use body cameras and it sets standards for their use. For example, any officers who wear these body cameras will be legally obligated to record any incident with the public. That is a fantastic provision that could be huge in protecting innocent officers while aiding in the prosecution of the bad ones. But, without a requirement that all officers wear the cameras, the provision is actually quite toothless.

Another troubling provision of the law is that it would allow cops to turn off the recorders when interviewing a witness or a victim. This is a huge mistake. There is a real problem of some police officers coercing witnesses and victims to say certain things to help officers build their case. This can rise to the level of misconduct or even criminal activity on an officer’s part. Allowing them to turn off the cameras during these conversations undercuts the potential value of these devices.

Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley

Sometimes when the police go too far, no one dies, but people wind up wrongfully arrested and charged with serious crimes. If this happened in your case, you will want the help of a talented Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney who will use all of the tools legally available to help you fight your case. You should call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley. When you call us at (847)394-3200 we will schedule an appointment so we can learn about your case and decide upon the best strategy to use for you.

May 27th, 2015

Juveniles Are More Likely to Be Bullied into False Confessions

January 8th, 2015 at 8:32 am

Illinois defense attorney, police bullying tactics, Illinois criminal lawyer,The television news show 60 Minutes called Chicago the false confession capital of the United States just a couple of years ago. This is because there are twice as many documented cases of false confessions in the Chicago area as there are in there are in any other city in the country. A false confession is what happens when an innocent person commits a crime he or she did not commit. It may seem like no one would ever do this, but unfortunately it happens regularly, even in serious felony cases. While adults sometimes confess falsely, false confessions are even more common amongst juveniles.

Study Shows False Confessions More Common Amongst Juveniles

The Innocence Project is the organization that is responsible for using DNA evidence to prove that hundreds of prisoners in the United States were actually innocent. Last year they reported on a new study that shows false confessions are more likely among juveniles. The study was conducted by Florida International University, and was funded by the National institute of Mental Health. A psychologist, Lindsay C. Malloy, examined the interrogations, confessions, and guilty pleas of 193 teenage boys between the ages of 14 and 17 who were convicted of serious crimes. The results of the study showed that these teens were much more likely to falsely confess than their older counterparts.

Of those wrongfully convicted and then later proven innocent by DNA evidence, roughly 30 percent of the innocent defendants confessed to some degree or even pled guilty. Part of the reason that juveniles are so likely to fall into this trap is that they can be easier for interrogators to manipulate and they sometimes do not fully understand their situation. While even adults often times do not understand that they should not talk to police about a crime they are suspected of committing without having an attorney present, young people have an even worse understanding of this concept. They often believe if they say they are guilty (even if they are not) that investigators will let them go home.

A Video Taped Coerced Juvenile Confession

CBS San Francisco reported last year on a video taped coerced confession by a teenager. The interrogation started with the 15-year-old boy insisting to police that he “wasn’t there” as they questioned him about a gang shooting. The cops responded to him by saying, “That’s not really going to work, and its not going to be to your benefit to lie about what happened out there…” The cops told him that he was going to jail and that he needed to help himself by telling the truth. They even said that two witnesses had picked him out of a photo lineup. It is unclear from the CBS report whether witnesses actually had picked the juvenile out, but even if they had not, police are legally allowed to lie about such things.

The boy kept insisting he was innocent for an hour, until the cops left him in the interrogation room. He cried. The cops came back and kept pushing him, telling him that he was making a mistake by sticking to his story of innocence. After four hours, he cracked and told the cops he was involved in the crime, but that he was drunk so he didn’t remember the details. The state then convicted him of being an accomplice in the shooting. Now numerous experts who have reviewed the tape of the confession agree that it was coerced. And after 10 years in prison the prosecution’s star witness against the teen admitted his story that the boy was involved in the shooting was a lie. The hope is that these developments will lead to the release of the teenager, who is now in his mid-20s.

Criminal Defense Attorney

If your child is accused of a crime, you will need the help of an experienced criminal defense lawyer. This is especially true if the young person in your life has made incriminating statements to police. Contact the experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorneys at the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley and schedule a consultation. Whether its a traffic matter or a serious felony, we can help.

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