Criminal

Chicago news media recently reported on a type of story that they have some experience with: allegations of wrongdoing in public office. As we have seen in our city, these types of public corruption accusations are often complex and politically charged. The recent articles are not about allegations in Chicago, however, but are instead rooted in neighboring Indiana, where a sanitary district administrator and local businessmen were arrested by federal officials as part of a years-long investigation into alleged corruption in Muncie city government. Debra Nicole “Nikki” Grigsby, the district administrator of the Muncie Sanitary District, and Tony Franklin, owner…
A police officer can stop you if he or she has probable cause. An unlit headlight may be cause enough. But once stopped, an officer needs either your consent or a reasonable suspicion of wrongdoing to search your car. What is a reasonable suspicion of wrongdoing? The answer depends on how a judge sees the specific facts of your situation. A recent Illinois case provides a good example. In People v. Thomas, the defendant was stopped because of an obstructed windshield. An officer warned the defendant and returned his license. At that point, defendant’s first detention was over. However,…
The Fourth Amendment guarantees citizens the right to be free from unlawful searches. Therefore, an officer cannot enter your home without a warrant unless some exception to the warrant requirement—such as consent—exists. Court have also recognized that a certain area around your home, known as the curtilage, is protected from police intrusion. Your front porch would be one example but what about the hallway of an unlocked apartment building? An Illinois court says yes. In People v Bonilla, an officer used a narcotics dog to sniff the hallway outside defendant’s apartment. The court held that the police officer’s actions…
The appellant in People v. Dixon, 2019 IL App (1st) 160443 appealed the decision of the Circuit Court of Cook County to deny him access to his trial attorney’s file, after moving to represent himself, on the grounds that denial of access to those files rendered his waiver of post-conviction counsel invalid. The Appellate Court of Illinois First District ultimately reversed and remanded for new second-stage postconviction proceedings. Following a conviction at jury trial for first degree murder and aggravated battery, appellant Charles Dixon, expressing dissatisfaction with his representation, filed motions to discharge his attorney. Id. at ¶ 8.…
The appellant in People v. Knapp, 2019 IL App (2d) 160162 appealed the decision of the Circuit Court of McHenry County to summarily dismiss his pro se petition alleging ineffective assistance of counsel on grounds that the record positively rebutted his claims. The Appellate Court of Illinois Second District reviewed and ultimately affirmed the decision of the Circuit Court of McHenry County and assessed statutory State’s Attorney Fees. Following a conviction at trial for attempted first degree murder, two counts of aggravated battery and mob action, appellant Justin Knapp was sentenced to 16 years in Illinois Department of Corrections.…
For the deaf, imprisonment can be especially isolating and punitive. Inmates may literally have no one to talk to. As a result of a federal class action law suit, Illinois agreed to accommodate prisoners with hearing disabilities. Among its terms, the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) will begin screen for hearing loss, create a centralized database on inmates with hearing disabilities and provide a specialist to assess an inmate’s need for services. IDOC must keep a ready supply of hearing aid batteries. IDOC must also make certain technologies available, such as amplified telephones and a teletypewriter. IDOC audio-visual media such…
A few days ago, Chicago newspapers and TV stations exploded with the news that billionaire Jeffrey Epstein was again facing prosecution. The 66-year-old hedge fund manager has been accused by a federal prosecutor of sex trafficking and conspiracy. If convicted, Epstein faces a possible sentence of 45 years in a federal prison. The Chicago Sun-Times reported that a decade ago Epstein was prosecuted on related charges in Florida. At that time, Epstein, his defense attorney and prosecutors reached a deal that spared him a long prison sentence. He served 13 months in a county jail with work release privileges on…
The appellant in People v. Galvan, 2019 IL App (1st) 170150, appealed the decision of the Circuit Court of Cook County to dismiss his third-stage successive post-conviction petition on the grounds that the trial court misapplied the standard and made improper findings in regard to the petitioner’s actual innocence claims and failed to address several arguments related to Galvan’s denial of due process claims. The Appellate Court of Illinois First Judicial District reviewed and ultimately reversed the judgment of the trial court, granted appellant’s third-stage successive postconviction petition, and remanded. Following conviction at a jury trial for aggravated arson…
Individuals convicted of DUI often ask our Illinois license reinstatement attorneys when they will be eligible to obtain their full driving privileges. This question has become more and more complicated due to changes that have occurred in Illinois law over the last several years. Generally, in order to determine an accurate eligibility date, the driver must take two factors into account: the length of the statutory summary suspension (“SSS”) and the length of the DUI revocation. The length of the SSS can be anywhere from 6-months to 3-years depending on whether the person is a first offender or second…
Mitchell v. Wisconsin, SCOTUS No. 18–6210, Decided June 27, 2019. Episode 647 (Duration 22:02) Unconscious drivers plus natural BAC dissipation create an exigent circumstance for a blood draw. Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Google PodcastsSpotify | Android | RSS | Direct Download APPLE PODCASTS GOOGLE PODCASTS SPOTIFY ANDROID RSS DIRECT DOWNLOAD Free Printed EditionDUI Special Report… Get Caught Up WithAll The Most Current & ImportantIllinois DUI Cases. Click Here For Special Report. Click here to subscribe Gist Police get a call of a very drunk man driving off. Man Is Found Man is found near a lake stumbling and…
In the People v. Hoover, 2019 IL App (2d) 170070, the Appellate Court of Illinois Second District reviewed and ultimately affirmed the decision of the Circuit Court of Stephenson County denying Hoover leave to file a successive petition under the Post-Conviction Hearing Act, on the grounds that the proposed petition did not satisfy the cause and prejudice prongs of section 122-1(f) of the Act. Following a reneged-upon plea deal, confession and jury trial, appellant Michael Hoover was found guilty of first degree murder and armed robbery in July of 1994. Id. at ¶ 2-6. At sentencing, the court heard…
Richard Wallace, the founder of the non-profit Chicago civil rights and justice organization, Equity and Transformation (EAT) says the legalization of recreational marijuana in Illinois presents us with “the greatest contradiction that we’ve seen.” Wallace points out that a “poor person sells cannabis to put food on the table; they’re a criminal. A wealthy person sells cannabis to make more wealth; they’re touted as innovators.” One important feature of legalization is that the arrest records of hundreds of thousands of people who have been convicted on marijuana-related charges are now eligible for expungement. Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx…
As of July 1, 2019, a first offense for texting or using a cell phone while driving is now a moving violation. Before the change, a second offense incurred the moving violation. The rest of the law remains the same: It prohibits using an electronic communication device while driving. Such a device includes, but is not limited to, a hand-held wireless telephone, hand-held personal digital assistant, or a portable or mobile computer, but does not include GPS or a device that is physically or electronically integrated into the vehicle. Fines range from $75 for a first offense to $150 for…
You were visiting family when things got crazy. One drunken relative started beating their spouse so you grabbed the family gun to put a stop to it. But since you didn’t have a gun license, the police arrested you on a weapons charge. Can they do that if you were just trying to protect yourself? Depending on the facts, a recent Illinois court said no. You may be charged with Aggravated Unlawful Use of a Weapon if you (1) knowingly carried or concealed on your person an uncased and loaded pistol, (2) at a time when you were not on…
You know you blew a stop sign, so you were not surprised when the officer pulled you over. But then the officer searched your car and found an open bottle of whiskey under the passenger seat. You are now under arrest for DUI. Did the officer have the right to search your car? What can you do? To search your car without a warrant, the officer must have probable cause to believe that your car contains evidence of criminal activity. The officer may also search if an item of contraband, such as open alcohol or drugs, is in plain view,…
The appellant in People v. Conway, 2019 IL App (2d) 170197, appealed the decision of the Circuit Court of Winnebago County denying leave to file a second petition for post-conviction relief under the Post-Conviction Hearing Act, on the grounds that the State improperly participated in the trial court’s determination regarding leave. The Appellate Court of Illinois Second District reviewed and ultimately affirmed the decision of the Circuit Court of Winnebago County. Following a conviction at trial for armed robbery, appellant Erick D. Conway was sentenced to life imprisonment as a habitual criminal. Id. at ¶ 3. Conway’s conviction was…