Search
Facebook Twitter Our Blog
The Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley
24 HOUR ANSWERING | 847-394-3200
SERVICE

1855 Rohlwing Road, Suite D, Rolling Meadows, IL 60008

24 HOUR ANSWERING SERVICE

Archive for the ‘violent crime’ tag

Illinois’ Hate Crime Law

July 8th, 2015 at 2:36 pm

Illinois defence attorney, Illinois criminal lawyer, felony crimes,In the wake of the tragedy in Charleston, S.C., there has been a great deal of public discourse about the reasons why people commit violent crimes. Those of us who handle these cases understand that a whole host of sociological, psychological, and physical factors come in to play and that in some cases it is simply impossible to know why these things happen. There is certainly some evidence that the shooter in the Charleston case may have been motivated by racism. But it is impossible for us to know if that was this young man’s exclusive motivation, and we will not understand his true mental state unless and until he undergoes psychiatric evaluation.

When race, or some other sensitive characteristic, such as gender or religion, plays a role in a crime, it often gets called a hate crime. Hate crimes have a very specific definition under the law, and it is important to understand exactly what a hate crime is.

What Is a Hate Crime in Illinois?

In Illinois, hate crimes are defined by statute. Under Illinois law a person commits a hate crime if, “by reason of the actual or perceived race, color, creed, religion, ancestry, gender, sexual orientation, physical or mental disability, or national origin” of a person or group of people that person commits one of the following crimes:

  • Assault;
  • Battery;
  • Aggravated assault;
  • Misdemeanor theft;
  • Criminal trespass to residence;
  • Misdemeanor criminal damage to property;
  • Criminal trespass to vehicle;
  • Criminal trespass to real property;
  • Mob action;
  • Disorderly conduct;
  • Harassment by telephone; or
  • Harassment through electronic communications.

Of course, there are some obvious hate crimes missing from this statute. This statute takes crimes that would otherwise be relatively minor, and turns them into serious felony offenses because of the defendant’s motive. It is important to note that extremely serious felonies like murder and rape are not included on the list. Perhaps this is because of the harsh sentences that already result from those offenses. However, while murder itself cannot qualify as a hate crime in Illinois, a person could be charged with both murder and a hate crime at the same time.

For example, imagine the defendant who is accused of murdering someone and in the course of the crime he or she also breaks some of that person’s property, and he or she is motivated by one of the protected characteristics when he or she does so. That person could be charged with and convicted of both murder and a hate crime. It is important to understand that the federal government also has its own hate crime laws, so if a person is charged in federal court, those laws, not the Illinois law, would apply.

Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley

If you are facing criminal charges then you have many important decisions to make. Perhaps the most important decision you will make will be when you choose a skilled Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney. Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley. We have the experience and the tenacity to handle your situation the way it should be handled. Call us today at (847)394-3200.

The Second Amendment and Criminal Law

June 22nd, 2015 at 4:22 pm

Illinois criminal attorney, Illinois defense lawyer, Illinois gun laws,Guns are a part of American culture. Unlike many other western nations, our country, for better or worse, has a strong connection to firearms. Aside from our having what is likely the best armed military in the world, we also have a heavily armed population and a constitutional provision that will keep our society that way. The Second Amendment guarantees us the right to “bear arms.”  Despite this constitutional right, men and women across our state and our nation find themselves charged with crimes for possessing guns. How is that possible?

What Does the Second Amendment Say?

The Second Amendment is one of the shorter amendments to our constitution. In its entirety it says, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” Although it is short, it has led to significant confusion over the years. Some people read this language on its face to mean that individual citizens have a right to gun ownership, while others read it to mean that individual states need to have the ability to arm their militias.

What Does the Second Amendment Mean?

In 1939 it seemed that the Amendment was about the militia part, and not about individual gun rights. That year the United States Supreme Court adopted the collective rights approach in allowing Congress to regulate sawed-off shotguns. This interpretation was the law of the land up until 2008 when the United States Supreme Court ruled that the Second Amendment established an individual right for citizens to possess firearms. Then in 2010 the Court ruled that states could not infringe on this right any more than the federal government can.

If People Have an Individual Right to Bear Arms, then Why Are People Locked Up for Possessing Guns?

If we have the constitutional right to possess guns, why do people get locked up for possessing guns? Part of the answer is that some of our laws have not changed or have not been adequately changed to comply with the United States Supreme Court’s’ holdings, and some people are still being prosecuted under these outdated laws. But that is only part of the issue. Certain limitations on gun ownership are still allowed even though the constitution says that the right “shall not be infringed.” For example,  convicted felons and certain mentally ill people are currently allowed to be stripped of their gun rights. This is similar to how felons in some states are striped of their rights to vote and to act as jurors. Other restrictions that are allowed include those that are similar to the “time, place, and manner” restrictions placed on your right to free speech. Guns can be banned from certain areas and licensing requirements can be put in place for those who want to carry their guns in public. This is similar to how protesters can be required to obtain permits to protest in certain areas.

Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley

Even if you never commit a violent act you may find yourself charged with a gun crime. You can also find yourself charged with a crime after you have justifiably used a firearm in self-defense or in defense of another. If this happens to you, you will need the assistance of an experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney. Call us at the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley at (847)394-3200. We will fight for you and help you to obtain the best possible outcome in your situation.

Unlike Television, First Degree Murder Does Not Require Premeditation

May 11th, 2015 at 8:51 am

Illinois defense attorney, Illinois criminal lawyer, lawful justification,Many people base most of their knowledge of the criminal justice system on what they see on television. Some of the information on television is accurate, particularly when it comes to news reporting on police misconduct and other related issues. But many people’s beliefs about criminal justice come from fictional crime procedural shows, and often the information provided by these shows is inaccurate. People do not realize that their understanding is mistaken until they find themselves in need of the help of a criminal defense attorney. One such common misconception regards what constitutes first degree murder.

The Misconception: First Degree Murder Requires Premeditation

Television shows, books, and conventional wisdom leave many Americans with a mistaken belief regarding first degree murder. Most people believe that in order to be convicted of first degree murder the prosecutor must prove that the murder was premeditated — that the defendant planned it out or thought it out ahead of time. A perfect example of a premeditated murder would be one where a person hired an assassin to commit a murder for profit. This sort of premeditation is absolutely not required in order for someone to be convicted of first degree murder in Illinois. Premeditation may very well be required in some states, but each and every state has its own criminal code and its own definition for each crime.

What is Actually Required for First Degree Murder in Illinois?

Like other crimes, first degree murder is defined in Illinois by statute. There are actually three separate ways that a person can commit first degree murder in our state. All three of them require that the accused kill an individual without lawful justification. Lawful justification means a legal defense, like self defense or defense of others. Those justifications are not simple common sense justifications. Instead they are each defined very specifically by other statutes. The three types of unjustified killings that constitute first degree murder in Illinois are:

  1. Killings where, in performing the acts which caused the other person’s death the defended either intends to kill or do great bodily harm or knows that his or her acts will cause death to that individual or another;
  2. Killings where the defendant knows that his or her actions create a strong probability of death or great bodily harm to that individual or another; and
  3. Killings where the defendant is attempting or committing a forcible felony (other than second degree murder).

Notice that none of these type of murder require premeditation. In fact, some of them don’t even require that the state prove that the defendant even intended to kill the deceased.

Call the Law Office of Christopher M. Cosley

If you have been charged with a crime, you will need the help of a knowledgeable Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney. Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley at (847)394-3200. When you call we can schedule an appointment to go over the details of your situation and figure out how we can best be of help.

Criminal Sexual Assault and Aggravated Criminal Sexual Assault

May 6th, 2015 at 7:01 am

Illinois defense attorney, Illinois criminal lawyer, rape,Sex offenses are some of the most difficult types of crimes to defend. While juries and the public are willing to consider most criminal defendants to be innocent until proven guilty, and while they are supposed to do this in sex cases, often they are unable to do so. This is particularly true when the alleged victim of the offense is a child, as most people do not understand the reality that children can be easily led to make false or inaccurate allegations. That is why it is so important that when you are facing charges for a sex offense that you obtain the help of a criminal defense attorney who is experienced with defending this type of offense. There are many different types of sex offenses one can be charged with in Illinois, so it is important for you to understand exactly what it is you are being accused of having done.

Criminal Sexual Assault

Criminal sexual assault is a felony sex offense in Illinois. A person commits this offense if he or she commits an act of sexual penetration and one of the following four statements is true:

  • He or she used force or the threat of force;
  • He or she knew that the alleged victim was unable to understand the nature of the sexual act or was unable to give knowing consent;
  • He or she is a family member of the alleged victim and the alleged victim is under the age of 18; or
  • He or she is 17 years old or older, the alleged victim is between the ages of 13 and 18, and the accused holds some sort of position of power or authority over the alleged victim.

 Aggravated Criminal Sexual Assault

Aggravated criminal sexual assault is another more serious felony sex offense in Illinois. This crime requires that the accused commit criminal sexual assault and that one of a list of aggravating factors is present. This aggravating factors include:

  1. That the accused displayed, used, or threatened to use a dangerous weapon other than a firearm, or that the accused displayed, used, or threatened to use some other object that would lead the alleged victim to reasonably believe that it was a dangerous weapon;
  2. That the accused caused great bodily harm to the alleged victim.
  3. That the accused acted in some way that threatened or endangered either the life of the alleged victim or the life of some other person;
  4. That the accused committed the assault while committing or trying to commit some other felony;
  5. That the alleged victim of the sexual assault is age 60 or older;
  6. That the alleged victim of the sexual assault is a physically disabled person;
  7. That the accused drugged the alleged victim without the alleged victim’s consent or by threat or deception;
  8. That the accused was armed with a firearm;
  9. That the accused personally fired a firearm during the commission of the assault; or
  10. That the accused personally fired a firearm during the assault and that the firing of the firearm caused great bodily harm, permanent disability, permanent disfigurement, or death.

There are two other ways to commit aggravated sexual assault. The first happens where the accused is under 17 years old and he or she commits an act of sexual penetration with a person under nine years old or uses force or the threat of force to engage in an act of sexual penetration with a child between the ages of nine and 13. The other type of aggravated sexual assault happens where a person commits an act of sexual penetration with an alleged victim who is severely or profoundly intellectually disabled.

Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley

If you or someone you love has been charged with a sex offense, you need the assistance of an experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney. Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley today at (847)394-3200 for a consultation on your case.

Assault in Illinois

April 23rd, 2015 at 5:00 am

Illinois defense attorney, Illinois criminal lawyer, Illinois criminal statutesWhat exactly is assault? Because different states have different standards, there can often be confusion about what counts as assault, what counts as battery, and whether they are the same thing. For example, our neighbor to the southwest, Missouri, does not recognize a crime of battery and considers all offenses that involve striking another person to be “assaults.” Here in Illinois, however, we have multiple types of assault and multiple types of battery.

Simple Assault in Illinois

The first assault crime in Illinois is known as either “assault” or sometimes as “simple assault.” A person commits this crime when he or she, without lawful authority, knowingly does something that places another person in reasonable apprehension of receiving a battery. So the immediate follow up question has to be: what is considered a battery in Illinois? Illinois defines battery where one person knowingly, without legal justification, either (1) causes bodily harm to an individual, or (2) makes physical contact of an insulting or provoking nature with an individual. Basically, one commits an assault when one makes another reasonably afraid that they are either about to suffer bodily harm or be touched in some sort of insulting or provoking way. Simple assault, on its own, is a relatively minor offense in Illinois. It is only a Class C misdemeanor. There is a special sentencing provision that requires that anyone convicted of assault perform between 30 and 120 hours of community service if such community service is available in the community where the assault was committed, unless the person is sentenced to actual incarceration.

Aggravated Assault in Illinois

Aggravated assault is like simple assault, but the facts of the case are somehow worse than a simple assault; thus, aggravated assaults are punished more harshly. There are three main times of aggravated assault in Illinois:

  • Assaults aggravated based on location of the conduct;
  • Assaults aggravated based on the status of the alleged victim; and
  • Assaults aggravated based on the use of a firearm, device, or motor vehicle.

Aggravated assault based on location or conduct comes in a few forms. This includes assaults that are committed against a person who is on or about a public way, assaults that take place on public property, assaults that occur at a place of accommodation or amusement, and assaults that occur at sports venues. This kind of aggravated assault is a Class A misdemeanor.

Aggravated Assault Based on Victim Status

Aggravated assault based on the status of the alleged victim is the most sweeping part of the aggravated assault law. Alleged victims who have special protections under this statute include:

  1. Physically handicapped people and people aged 60 or older;
  2. Teachers and school employees on school grounds, grounds adjacent to the school, or in any part of a building used for school purposes;
  3. Park district employees on park grounds, grounds adjacent to park grounds, or in any part of any building used for park purposes;
  4. Peace officers, community policing volunteers, firefighters, private security officers, emergency management workers, EMTs, or utility workers under certain circumstances;
  5. Correctional officers or probation officers who are performing their official duties;
  6. Employees of jails, prisons, and juvenile detention centers or treatment centers for sexually dangerous or sexually violent persons who are doing their official duties;
  7. State or local employees and officials doing their official duties;
  8. Transit employees performing their duties and transit passengers;
  9. Sports officials or coaches who are involved in any level of athletic competition; and
  10. Process servers who are engaged in their official duties.

The severity of each type of offense based on victim status depends upon the exact victim status in question. Most of them are Class A misdemeanors, but some of them are class 4 felonies.

Aggravated Assault Based on Use of a Firearm, Device, or Motor Vehicle

There are nine types of aggravated assault that fit into this category. It includes assaults where the assailant is:

  1. Using a deadly weapon, air rifle, or item that looks like a firearm;
  2. Discharging a firearm other than from a motor vehicle;
  3. Discharging a firearm from a motor vehicle;
  4. Wearing a hood, robe, or mask to conceal the assailant’s identity;
  5. Flashing a laser sight near a person;
  6. Using a firearm but not discharging it when the victim is some sort of law enforcement or first responder doing their job;
  7. Operating a motor vehicle in a manner where someone would reasonably fear they could be hit;
  8. Operating a motor vehicle in a manner where a law enforcement-type or first responder would reasonably fear being hit; or
  9. Recording the assault with the intent of disseminating the recording.

Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley

If you have been charged with assault, you need an experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney on your side. Christopher Cosley has represented many people in your very position and he wants to fight for you. Call the Law Offices of Christopher M . Cosley today at (847)394-3200.

Juvenile Justice System: Some Juveniles Are Tried as Adults in Illinois

April 16th, 2015 at 5:49 pm

Illinois defense attorney, Illinois criminal lawyer, Illinios juvenile crime attorney, We have two different systems in Illinois that deal with criminal justice: one for adults and one for juveniles under the age of 18. Cook County was one of the first places in the country to do this, realizing that children, by their very nature, are capable of changing their nature. Their brains, including their ability to control their impulses, are not fully developed, so they are not as culpable for their bad actions as their older counterparts. Unfortunately, some of these young people in Illinois are treated as adults despite the fact that this treatment is not supported by science.

The Juvenile Justice System in Illinois

The treatment of juveniles accused of crimes is covered in Illinois by the Juvenile Court Act. One of the goals of the act is supposed to be to provide individualized assessments and adjudications in juvenile cases with the goal of rehabilitation and preventing future delinquent behavior by juveniles. This can involve detention in some circumstances, but also involves diversion programs. In other words, unlike criminal prosecutions that are based almost exclusively on the ideas of punishment, revenge, and isolation of offenders from society, the juvenile system exists so as to change childhood bad behavior so that young people may improve their behavior and work well in society. The children found responsible for crimes under the juvenile system face a different punishment system from their adult counterparts, and they have stronger privacy rights including the ability to have their records shielded from public view.

Some Juvenile Offenders are Forced into the Adult System

Unfortunately, some of the most troubled juvenile offenders do not receive the benefit of the juvenile system. A portion of the Juvenile Court Act excludes certain minors from the protections of the law. Minors aged 15, 16, or 17 may not be judged in the juvenile system if they are accused of certain crimes. These crimes include first degree murder, aggravated sexual assault, certain types of aggravated battery with a firearm, armed robbery committed with a firearm, and aggravated vehicular hijacking with a firearm. In all fairness, these crimes are some of the most serious violent crimes on the books. But, while the crimes may be more serious, this does not indicate in anyway that the minors committing them are somehow more mature and developed than their peers who are committing less serious felonies like burglary or selling drugs. If anything, committing these sorts of crimes may demonstrate that a particular young person is not fully matured and does not yet have the impulse control of an adult.

Particularly troubling, however, is the sentencing for these crimes. If a young person charged with his or her first burglary were charged as adult, which cannot happen, the worst case scenario would involve the minor spending a few years in confinement. But when a 15-year-old is prosecuted as an adult for one of the serious charges mentioned in the previous paragraph, he or she faces sentences that are often so long that they act as de facto life sentences.

As a society we need to reconsider allowing juveniles to be tried as adults in criminal court. But in the meantime both juveniles and their parents need to understand the serious adult consequences they could face if charged with certain crimes.

Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley

If your child has been charged with a crime, you will need an experienced Rolling Meadows juvenile criminal defense attorney. This is especially true if your child is charged as an adult. Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley today at (847)394-3200.

Everything You Need to Know about Robbery in Illinois

February 17th, 2015 at 10:12 am

Illinois criminal defense attorney, Illinois defense lawyer, theft, property crimes,“I got robbed.” This is a statement that is used very often in our contemporary society. While sometimes it is applied metaphorically, such as when complaining about a call in a sporting event, we usually mean it to imply that someone stole something from us. However, like many areas of criminal law, the common understanding of this term and the legal definition are not the exact same. Not all victims of theft are robbery victims and not all thieves are robbers. Instead, robbery is a very specific type of theft.

What is Robbery in Illinois?

In Illinois, the offense of robbery is defined by statute. As one would assume, robbery requires one person to take property from another person. This can be any property except for certain motor vehicles, which are covered by a separate law. What differentiates robbery from mere theft is that in order for a taking of property to be a robbery, the robber must either:

  • Use force; or
  • Threaten the imminent use of force.

There is also another difference between mere theft and robbery. In order for a taking to be a robbery, the property has to be taken either directly from the victim or from the victim’s presence. If, for example, one were to break into a store at night when no one was there and steal the cash register, that person would not have committed a robbery. While the natural response of the store owner might be to say “I’ve been robbed!” that is not technically accurate, and the thief could not be prosecuted for robbery; instead, the thief could be prosecuted for other crimes like burglary.

Robbery is normally a Class 2 felony, unless the victim is over 60 years old, the victim is a physically handicapped person, or the crime is committed at certain places like schools, churches, or child care facilities. In those cases it is a Class 1 felony.

What is Aggravated Robbery?

Some robberies are worse than others in the eyes of the law. Because of this, Illinois law includes another offense called “aggravated robbery.” Aggravated robbery is a Class 1 felony. There are certain ways to turn a robbery into an aggravated robbery. These include:

  • Indicating through your words or actions during the robbery that you have a dangerous weapon, even if you do not have such a weapon; or
  • Taking the property by administering a controlled substance to the victim without his or her consent.

What is Armed Robbery?

Armed robbery is robbery where the robber has a dangerous weapon or a firearm during the act. There are also versions of this crime that deal specifically with discharging a firearm during the robbery and with seriously injuring someone by discharging the firearm. These are all Class X felonies, but in cases where a firearm is involved there are substantial add-ons of prison time in addition to the regular sentence.

Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley

When you are charged with robbery or any other crime, you need a fierce litigator in your corner. That is why you should contact experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney Christopher M. Cosley. Call the office at (847)394-3200 today to learn how we can help.

Resisting or Obstructing a Police Officer

January 9th, 2015 at 9:32 am

Illinois defense attorney, violent crime, Illinois criminal lawyer, Illinios criminal justice statuteAs many across our nation continue to protest against abuses of power by police officers, unfortunately some people are winding up arrested. All too often these sorts of arrests are for things like obstructing or resisting arrest. This is why it is so important for politically active citizens to understand their rights and know exactly what does and does not count as obstruction, so they can do everything they can to avoid criminal charges.

What is Resisting or Obstructing a Peace Officer?

Crimes in Illinois are defined by statute. Under Illinois law a person “who knowingly resists or obstructs the performance by one known to the person to be a peace officer….of any authorized act within his or her official capacity commits a Class A misdemeanor.” This definition is a little bit circular, though, so we have to look at how the courts have defined the crime in practice. The Illinois Supreme Court said in a case called People b. Raby that:

Resisting or resistance means withstanding the force or effect of or the exertion of oneself to counteract or defeat. Obstruct means to be or come in the way of….These terms do not proscribe mere argument with a policeman about the validity of an arrest or other police action, but proscribe only some physical act which imposes an obstacle which may impede, hinder, interrupt, prevent or delay the performance of the officer’s duties, such as going limp, forcefully resisting arrest or physically aiding a third party to avoid arrest.

So What About Refusing to Comply with a Police Officer’s Orders?

A new decision was recently released by the Court of Appeals that has to do with whether it counts as obstruction to merely refuse to comply with a police officer’s orders. In this case a woman went to pick up her son from school. In the process, she briefly stopped her car in a traffic lane. As a result, a cop pulled her over. The cop claims the woman argued with the cop. The cop decided to write the woman a ticket, and he went to his car to call for back up. The woman allegedly started to pull away slowly, but the cop told her to stop and she did. The cop told the woman to give him her license and insurance information and she told him no. Then she drove away. The cop caught up with her and pulled her over again. He told her she was under arrest and that she had to exit her vehicle. The cop claims the mother told him, “I don’t have to do (explicative).” The cop told her to get out of the car again and she would not. The cops then forcibly removed her from the car.

Obviously the driving away from the initial pull-over was a problem. But the obstruction charge in this case had to do specifically with the woman’s refusal to get out of her car. The Court decided in this case that just refusing to get out of the car was enough to convict the woman of obstructing a police officer. In doing so, it said that considerations of officer safety were paramount in the case. A jury could conclude that the defendant refused the cop’s repeated orders to exit the vehicle and that as a result the cop had to put himself in danger, which is enough for the conduct to be considered obstruction.

Criminal Defense Attorney

If you are accused of resisting or obstructing a police officer you will need the help of an experienced criminal defense lawyer. You should contact the experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorneys at the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley and schedule a consultation.

Rhetoric is Wrong: Violent Crime is Actually Down

December 11th, 2014 at 9:28 pm

Chicago crime rate, Illinois criminal defense attorney, Illinois criminal defense lawyer, Day after day we hear the rhetoric about how bad crime is today and about how much worse crime is now than it used to be. Stories pop up about Chicago being the murder capital of America. Citizens are left to believe that there is some mass criminal class that is much worse than it has ever been before. The problem with all of this is that it simply is not true. In fact, violent crimes rates are the lowest they have been since the 1970s.

Violent Crime is Down

The Chicago Tribune reports that violent crime in the United States fell 4.4 percent in 2013, bringing the violent crime rate to its lowest level since the 1970s. Fewer violent crimes were reported last year than have been reported in any year since 1978. This trend rings true for all types of violent crimes including but not limited to murder, rape, and robbery. The violent crime rate has fallen every year since 1994 and has fallen by roughly 50 percent since 1994. Property crimes were also down last year.

Decreased Prison Populations Lead to Even Greater Violent Crime Rate Decline

Some tough-on-crime law and order types point to our nation’s extraordinary levels of incarceration as the cause of this decrease in crime. However, the evidence indicates that violent crime is dropping in spite of, not because of, our over-imprisonment problem. The Pew Charitable Trusts compiled data over the last five years regarding states’ imprisonment rates and crime rates. They found that over the last five years the majority of states have decreased imprisonment rates while seeing a decrease in crime at the same time. Hawaii decreased its imprisonment rate by 23 percent and saw a whopping 14 percent decrease in crime. In the 33 states where imprisonment rates decreased, crime fell on average by 13 percent. While crime also fell in the states where imprisonment rates increased, crime only fell 11 percent in those states.

This Means We Need Solutions Other than Prison

This data demonstrates that we need to use tools other than imprisonment if we want to minimize crime. Rather than focusing solely on punishment, it is high time our justice system focused on rehabilitation. Drug treatment, mental health treatment, and education need to become our primary tools of corrections, rather than oft ignored side programs. For those criminal defendants who do wind up serving sentences in jail or prison, we need to focus substantial efforts into supporting reentry programs. Reintegrating into society with a felony conviction can be extremely difficult and our society needs to work to make it possible for people to make it in society after incarceration. People who serve long sentences for violent crimes especially need assistance reintegrating into a world that has changed dramatically during their incarceration.

Criminal Defense Attorney

Being accused of committing a violent crime is terrifying. These crimes carry stiff penalties, but even just being accused can have a profound and permanent effect on your life. If you or someone you know has been accused of committing a violent crime, contact the experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorneys at the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley. We can schedule a consultation where we can discuss your situation and see what we can do to help you.

2014 Marks Decrease in Federal Prison Population

October 16th, 2014 at 10:50 am

 Illinois defense lawyer, prison population, federal prisons, White collar crime is often not considered as serious as other types of criminal conduct, but it is often punished just as harshly. Depending on the type of crime and the severity of the offense, the defendant could be looking at a substantial amount in prison. In many cases, white collar crimes may be prosecuted at the federal level in federal court. Such cases involve slightly different laws and procedure, plus the imposition of a federal prison term.

There has been discussion in Illinois and across the country recently about sentencing reform, decriminalization of certain criminal acts, and shorter prison terms. All of this is likely in an effort to achieve both fair and practical effects by both reforming the criminal justice system and decreasing prison populations. According to recent report, there has been an important shift in the federal prison population toward those ends.

First Drop in Decades

The federal prison population has decreased by about 4,800 inmates in the last year. The Justice Department reports that this marks the first time the number has gone down in several decades. In addition, the Justice Department reportedly projects that the prison population will be about 215,000 inmates at the end of the current budget year, which would reflect a total decrease of about 5,000 from the same count taken just one year ago. If that happens, it would mark the first time since 1980 that the federal prison population has actually declined over the course of a year.

Going forward, it seems as though the trend will continue. The Bureau of Prisons released internal figures that show an expected decrease of over 2,000 prisoners to happen in the next year, and almost another 10,000-inmate decrease the year after that.

What is Causing the Shift?

In commenting on what factors have contributed to the decline in federal inmates, Attorney General Eric Holder said that a decrease in crime rates has had an effect on prison populations.

Holder has been working to reduce prison populations across the country over the course of the past year. His efforts included taking actions such as discouraging prosecutors from charging nonviolent offenders with crimes that would carry mandatory minimum sentences, to encouraging certain prisoners to apply for clemency, to supporting reduced sentencing guidelines. He is also encouraging the government to measure the success of its criminal justice policies by how many people are prosecuted and sentenced to prison. He is purportedly of the opinion that the idea of using enforcement as the measure of success is outdated and that a holistic approach is preferable and more useful.

Criminal Defense Attorney

If you or someone you know has been charged with a crime in the Chicago area, you need an experienced Rolling Meadows defense attorney to advocate for your rights. Contact the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley today to schedule a consultation to discuss your case. We have successful experience representing clients in Cook County and surrounding areas.

Back to Top Back to Top Back to Top