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Archive for the ‘Rolling Meadows criminal defense’ tag

Shift in Illinois Sentencing Structure

March 18th, 2015 at 7:00 pm

Illinois criminal defense attorney, Illinois defense lawyer, criminal penaltiesThis firm has reported on criminal justice and sentencing matters multiple times in the past. From mandatory minimums to sentencing tools, it seems the sentencing structure in Illinois is in the process of an overhaul. Media reports provide further evidence of this in its description of the apparent cultural change going on in regards to criminal sentencing in the Illinois General Assembly.

A New Approach

In the past, Illinois lawmakers’ approach to dealing with crime involved imposing harsher penalties for their commission. The thought was that the enhanced penalty would effectively address the problem; however, lawmakers are starting to see that that is not necessarily the case. Despite the idea that harsher penalties for certain crimes often seemed like a good idea, lawmakers are starting to reject that notion, as evidenced by the significant decline in the number of sentencing enhancement bills that they have attempted to pass in recent years.

This may be due in part to the General Assembly’s recent reaction to such proposals. The House committee on criminal law has started to critically examine not only the effectiveness but also the advisability of enhancing prison sentences. This more scrutinized approach has resulted in such bills being more difficult to be passed. Many are surprised at this turn of events as compared to the attitude expressed in years past.

Driving Change

The approach of the House committee is likely indicative of a similar attitude on sentencing enhancements that is prevalent across the nation. The amount of information regarding criminal sentencing and its effects is vast. National concern about the overuse of incarceration has been constant, and has correlated to an increased realization that many prisoners who are incarcerated in this country are in prison as the result of addiction or mental health issues, who are often and most likely not getting the proper treatment while incarcerated. These factors, in addition to state prison budgets that seem generous but are actually spread too thin, are most likely to be the source for the change in approach to criminal sentencing across the country.

Perhaps surprisingly, the new attitude on criminal sentencing seems to have bipartisan support. Conservative and liberal groups alike are speaking out in favor of a new approach, with representatives expressing the opinion that prison is more appropriate for those criminals who need to be incapacitated in order to be punished, or in order to be treated.

Criminal Defense Attorney

Many are saying it is only a matter of time before such a sentencing approach makes its way into Illinois law. If you or someone you know has been charged with a crime and need expert legal defense, contact the experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorneys at the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley today for a consultation. We serve clients in Cook County and the surrounding area.

Sex Abuse Charges and Elderly Defendants

November 18th, 2014 at 10:00 am

senior prisoners, Illinois criminal defense attorney, Illinois defense lawyerIt should go without saying that sex crimes are serious offenses that have severe consequences associated with them. These cases present many issues that need to be addressed, but some cases involve special circumstances that deserve extra consideration. As one report points out, one type of sex offense case that involves additional issues are those in which an elderly defendant is charged with a crime stemming from facts that allegedly occurred decades ago.

Health Concerns

In addition to the myriad of other issues inherently involved in sex crime cases, those in which an elderly defendant is charged usually have an additional set of unique factors to consider. Not only can these cases involve displacing a criminal defendant from his or her place of residence, but can also involve extradition issues, which may be more common the further back in time the facts supporting the charges supposedly occurred. All of this is compounded by any health concerns elderly defendants have, which can also vary in severity. In some cases, an elderly defendant’s life could be placed at serious risk before they are even tried for their crime.

Not Only Sex Cases

Of course, these same concerns may be present in any criminal case involving an elderly defendant and may be particularly apparent in cases that involve the potential for extradition, the transportation of the defendant from one jurisdiction to another to face charges where the crime allegedly occurred. According to some experts, the cost of transporting and housing criminal defendants in this scenario can not only be dangerous, but is likely to also be expensive. These defendants would need to be treated and cared for while in custody, something many prisons are not equipped to do. Even if the defendant is treated at an outpatient hospital, it takes additional prison staff to accompany him or her. Another argument experts raise involves the acknowledgment that the purpose of incarceration in many criminal cases is to protect the public and ensure the defendant will not re-offend, something that may be less of a concern when dealing with an elderly defendant.

More Appropriate Sentences

The high cost of imprisoning elderly defendants coupled with the fact that most of them no longer pose a threat is leading many to argue that other methods of punishment may be more suitable for this population. One such alternative form of punishment is home confinement, which may be able to fulfill many of the goals of incarceration without the need for a prison sentence.

Criminal Defense Attorney

If you or someone you know has been charged with a crime in the Chicago area, do not hesitate to discuss the facts of your case with an experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney who can advise you of your rights. The experienced attorneys at the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley are prepared to listen to the facts of your case and defend your rights. Contact us today for a consultation.

The Basics of Shoplifting in Illinois

April 14th, 2014 at 4:20 pm

shoplifting, theft, retail theft, Illinois criminal law, criminal defense, lawyer, ChicagoShoplifting is typically a crime committed by citizens who follow the majority of other laws. The National Association for Shoplifting Prevention reported that between 2001 and 2006, roughly 10 million people were caught shoplifting. It is also estimated that almost 10 percent of all Americans shoplift.

The National Self Help & Support Center defines shoplifting as “theft or stealing of any kind from a retail store…taking merchandise from a retail store without paying for it or without intending to pay for it.”

What’s important to know is that shoplifting laws are different in every state and many laws also vary between each local jurisdiction as well. This post is specific to Illinois

If you have been caught shoplifting for the first time, you should call a criminal attorney to help you get a lighter penalty for your first offense. Many factors will be considered when the court decides what your sentence will be including if you have completed an education program and if you have shoplifted previously.

Information from the store where you have been accused of shoplifting will also be accounted for such as what you stole and what occurred when you were caught. Whether or not you had a proper ID when you were caught will also be included.

Another detail that is taken into account it how much you shoplifted, the value of the item(s) that were stolen. Typically, the offense is less serious and only considered a misdemeanor if it costs under $500. However, if the cost exceeds $500, the charge may escalate to a felony and have more serious consequences.

It is possible to get community service, be sentenced to an education program related to shoplifting, or some other form of sentence other than prison if the charge is not extreme.

Also note that you do not have to be the person who actually took the merchandise from the store to be charged if you are with someone when they have shoplifted. You may be seen as an assistant to the shoplifter.

Lastly, shoplifting occurs in many forms including changing the price tag on an item and buying for an incorrect price. You can also be charged for shoplifting if you are sampling foods that you have not paid for as you shop. For example, if you are walking through the produce section of a grocery store and you pick a few grapes off of the bunch and eat them that is a chargeable offense.

If you have been charged with shoplifting, contact a criminal attorney to help you in an Illinois court today. Even if you have been wrongly accused or the charge is small, an attorney can help you get a better or alternative sentence today.

Zero Tolerance in Illinois

April 10th, 2014 at 12:34 pm

zero tolerance, DUI, driving under the influence, Chicago criminal defense lawyer, DUI defense attorney in IllinoisAccording to United States law, no person under the age of 21 is allowed to consume alcohol and no person of any age is allowed to drive while intoxicated. Many times, adults will have a couple drinks and drive home safely, with a blood alcohol content below the legal level of 0.08. If a person under 21, however, is pulled over and is found to have a blood alcohol content of anything above 0.0, he or she can be charged.

This is called the zero tolerance policy of Illinois for underage drinking, says  CyberDriveIllinois.com. If a person under 21 is caught driving with even a trace of alcohol in his or her system, he or she will lose all driving privileges. Police officers can only pull over a person if he or she has probable cause.

Probable causes can include:

  • Driving over the speed limit;
  • Running a red/yellow light;
  • Not coming to a complete stop at a stop sign or four-way stop;
  • Not driving straight in the traffic lane.

The zero tolerance law says:

  • No person under the age of 21 can purchase, accept, possess, or consume alcohol. Penalties may be suspension/revocation of driving privileges;
  • Any person under 21 who receives court supervision as penalty will receive 3-month suspension of driving privileges;
  • Certain exemptions include religious and medical reasons;
  • All states have zero tolerance laws;
  • Other penalties may be fines, jail time, high insurance costs, mandatory alcohol evaluation and treatment, negative effects on driving record, and negative effects on job opportunities.

If you are caught with alcohol in your system while driving and you are under 21, your driving privileges will be suspended for 3 months. The suspension will be lengthened to one year for a second offense.

Although you can refuse to take a test to determine your blood alcohol level, you can be charged for refusal or failure to complete the test if you are under 21. The first time you refuse, your driving privileges will be suspended for 6 months and as a second offense, they will be suspended for 2 years.

Keep your driving record clean by not drinking and driving. If you have been caught drinking and driving, especially if you are under the age of 21, contact an Illinois criminal attorney to help you in court today.

“Ban the Box” Fight and Related Recidivism Risk

April 3rd, 2014 at 7:56 am

ban the box, criminal history, job application, felony, felon, discrimination, Chicago criminal defense lawyerIn filling out numerous types of documents and applications required for everyday things, many of us have likely noticed questions related to prior felony convictions. It may not be applicable to everyone, but for those who have to indicate a prior conviction, it could mean they are denied a job or a home and, as a result, a new start. A recent article discussed the discrimination associated with those who have a criminal record, as well as a campaign started by a prisoners’ rights organization aimed at removing the question from public employee forms.

Ban the Box

Ten years ago, the organization All of Us or None began the “Ban the Box” campaign, which 10 states and dozens of local jurisdictions have joined, in an effort to get any questions about prior felony convictions removed from public employee forms. They have had some success recently, which has propelled a movement at the national level to improve hiring opportunities for mostly non-violent criminal offenders.

States and Local Jurisdictions are Responding

In San Francisco, the mayor signed the Fair Chance Ordinance into law, which not only addressed the question appearing on public employee forms, but also on paperwork related to affordable housing and private employers with more than 20 employees. The idea is that punishing someone twice for the same past mistake is not a worthwhile goal.

The state of Illinois has implemented similar state laws regarding the removal of conviction history questions on public employment applications, and Chicago is among the jurisdictions mentioned above that have implemented ban the box policies.

Limits of Ban the Box

Although many states and jurisdictions may be taking actions in preventing initial disclosure of criminal history to avoid employers automatically disqualifying prior convicts for a given position, it will not prevent the information from being shared at all. Rather, many laws (like the one passed in California last year) will specify that the job applicant does not have to disclose criminal convictions until after a potential employer determines that the applicant otherwise meets the minimum qualifications required for the job.

Some States Hesitant to Follow Suit

While some jurisdictions in the south have implemented ban the box, no southern states have taken the step to pass or propose such a law going into effect. In order for the movement as a whole to be successful, the idea needs to be implemented in different places across the country, and also needs to include private employment practices, housing, and loan applications. The overarching theme of the movement is not only equal treatment, but also a shift in society’s thinking so that all people can hope for a better life.

Criminal Defense Attorney

There have been numerous issues involving criminal justice and improvements to the system in the United States that have developed lately. An experienced criminal defense attorney may be able to help you not only in protecting your rights in court, but in giving you the best chance of improving your life going forward. Contact the attorneys at the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley today for a consultation if you have been charged with a crime in Chicago or the surrounding area.

Man who Spent over 20 Years in Prison Exonerated

August 17th, 2013 at 8:00 am

criminal record expunge 164664874 (2)Over 25 years ago, James Kluppelberg was convicted of setting a deadly fire in the Back of the Yards neighborhood.  The home that was burnt contained a woman and her five children.  Elva Lupercio, 28, and her children who ranged between 3 and 10 years old, died in their home on the 4400 block of South Hermitage Avenue. After reviewing the scene, investigators determined that the fire was an accident.

Four years after the incident, Kluppelberg was identified as the perpetrator by a man who was arrested for burglary.  They booked Kluppelberg and, shortly after, he confessed to the crime.  Sentenced to life in prison, he maintained that he was innocent of all wrongdoing.

Kluppelberg was exonerated in 2012 of this crime due to advances in fire sciences.  It was also revealed that his confession of guilt was coerced by officers who had beaten Kluppelberg so badly that he started to urinate blood.  The man who turned him in was found to be lying in order to receive leniency for his burglary conviction.  The police department also withheld information about a drunk woman who started another fire nearby the

Although Kluppelburg was granted his release in May, he struggled to regain his old life.  It was very difficult to find a job with six murder convictions on his record.  Kluppelburg has applied to over 400 jobs and the only one that responded to give him an interview, didn’t give him the job because of his record.  He is forced to live with the support of his son and daughter-in-law in northwest Indiana.

For 14 months, Kluppelburg struggled to keep it together.  Luckily he was able to secure a certificate of innocence by proving that he was falsely accused.  He will also be eligible to receive nearly $200,000 in compensation for the years he was incarcerated.  Having a record makes it difficult to live the life you would want but you may be able to get it sealed or expunged.  Seek the assistance of an experienced expungement attorney in Rolling Meadows today to see if your record can be erased.

Medical Marijuana Law Approved by Illinois House

April 27th, 2013 at 9:18 am

GavelOn Wednesday, April 17th the Illinois House of Representatives held a vote about House Bill 0001.  It is a controversial attempt to create a regulatory system for medical marijuana.  The bill narrowly cleared in a 61-57 decision, but has support from the State Senate, who passed a similar bill in 2009, and from the Governor.

Although 18 other states have already legalized medical marijuana, the new regulations in Illinois will be the strictest in the country.  To qualify, the person must have one of 40 listed medical conditions as designated by a physician who has had a long relationship with the patient.  After that, the person who is prescribed medidcal marijuana can receive up to 2.5 ounces every two weeks from one of the 60 dispensaries that are regulated by the state.  The program is set to be a 4 year pilot which would require background checks for physicians as well as patients.

Both sides of the aisle voiced their opinions of this bill.  The proponents claimed that the decriminalization would allow those who suffer from illnesses to get relief without being driven to drug dealers and possible jail time for drug crimesRep. Lou Land, a Democrat, went so far to say that “we’re turning granny into a criminal” with current laws.

This legislation will be reviewed by the Senate soon, but at this time is not considered a law.  Yet, marijuana has been proven to be effective for treating nausea, pain, loss of appetite and other symptoms of serious illnesses.  If you have been charged with possession of illegal drugs, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney in Rolling Meadows who knows the tactics of prosecutors.

image courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net

Former Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. Pleads Guilty to Fraud

March 6th, 2013 at 8:00 am

American FlagIn a surprising turn of events, Jesse Jackson Jr. went from a man with huge political aspirations to someone who seems to have lost control.  The Democratic Representative from Chicago stepped down recently while being investigated and dealing with health issues.  He pleaded guilty to one felony fraud charge on Wednesday February 20th to secure a plea deal.  He was charged with fraud for using $750,000 in campaign money to pay for his lavish living expenses.

The court filed a 22 page report which outlines the spending habits of a politician who many thought would one day run for Mayor in Chicago or President of the US.  It started when Jesse opened a campaign account and then withdrew nearly $45,000 to purchase a Rolex watch.    He went on to purchase “high-end electronic items, collector’s items, clothing, food and supplies for daily consumption, movie tickets, health club dates, personal travel, and personal dining expenses,” according to the prosecution.

The details of his plea agreement allow his punishment range to be between 46 to 57 months in prison.  Though, it is not set in stone because both the defense and prosecution can influence the sentencing of the case.  The defense will urge the judge to consider probation given Jesse’s recent diagnosis of bipolar disorder.

Jesse’s wife Sandi has also been charged with assisting the cover-up of this fraud.  Sandi was formerly an alderman for the city of Chicago.  She pleaded guilty of failing to report that money from her aldermanic campaign was used as personal income also for failing to report this income on her tax return.  Her possible sentencing will be in the range of 1 to 2 years in prison.

What was once a promising career in politics for the Jackson may now be forever damaged.  White collar crimes can ruin reputations and result in jail time.  If you have been charged with any white collar crime, then it is important to receive legal guidance.  Contact a skilled criminal defense attorney in Rolling Meadows today.

Cases Dropped Involving Schaumburg Police Officers

February 11th, 2013 at 8:00 am

schaumburg policeA drug bust of a storage locker in Carol Stream has led to further arrests of police officers from Schaumburg.  The storage locker belonged to an informant who worked with the police.  When he was taken into custody, he had a very interesting story to tell.  He claimed that the police were supplying him with drugs seized from other drug dealers to sell on the streets.

The Carol Stream police investigated further and found that this was true.  DEA agents arrested the cops outside of the Woodfield Mall on January 16th.  John Cichy, Matthew Hudak and Terrance O’Brien were all tactical officers in the division that deals with drugs, gangs and other issues that require undercover work.

The police officers took drugs like marijuana, cocaine and cash from legitimate busts to make more money.  Now the men are facing a multitude of felony charges which could mean decades in prison.  The drug charges include manufacturing and delivering of illegal drugs, official misconduct, armed violence, theft, and criminal drug conspiracy.

Since these officers were arrested, Cook County prosecutors have dropped three felony drug charges against defendants who were arrested by the trio.  The state’s attorney has also decided that out of 19 cases that the officers worked on, 15 will be dumped.  It is assumed that the testimony of these officers would not hold up in court.

These people benefited from the crimes of their arresting officers.  It is not typical to have this happen, but the constitutionality of the arrest is something that legal professionals look at to limit the use of evidence.  Contact an experienced drug crime lawyer in Rolling Meadows who can review the particulars of your arrest.

Child Killed in Skokie Traffic Tragedy

May 23rd, 2012 at 2:08 am

One Skokie family will never be the same. Nhu Vo remembered his son, Carter Vo, while standing in front of the memorial erected to mourn his death. The 8-year-old was killed at the corner of Main Street and St. Louis Avenue as a result of a chain reaction accident on Monday afternoon. The accident ended with a vehicle striking the boy on the sidewalk.

Carter was a very smart second grade student that attended Madison Elementary School in Skokie. He aspired to be an engineer and had even recently thought of being a fighter pilot, according to his father.

Carter was pronounced dead about four hours after the accident. He died of multiple trauma to the head and his death was ruled an accident by the Cook County medical examiner’s office.

The intersection is controlled by two-way stop signs and according to police, village engineers are going to review possible safety issues at the intersection. Residents have complained about the danger of the stretch of road between Crawford Avenue and McCormick Boulevard for several years. The area of issue is about one mile long and the speed limit is 30 miles per hour. Many residents report that the speed limit is not followed most times.

The Vo family is originally from Vietnam and has resided in the village of Skokie for approximately 10 years. Private funeral services are scheduled for Carter on Wednesday. Carter’s classmates are making cards for the grieving family.

There have been no charges filed as of yet in this case.

Dangerous intersections and driving conditions are not the ideal way of travel for any driver. However, it is important to remember that even the most ill designed roadways do not absolve the driver from responsibility of safely operating their vehicles.

If you find yourself in a situation where your actions have in some way caused a traffic accident or injury, be sure to consult with a Chicago traffic attorney.

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