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Kathryn L. Harry & Associates, P.C.
630-472-9700Available 24/7

Illinois defense attorneySometimes, young people make mistakes. When that happens, Illinois law allows them to be tried in juvenile court as long as they are under the age of 18. If your child has been arrested or charged with a crime, the matter will be handled in a very different way than it would be in an adult courtroom. Nonetheless, ensuring you have a good attorney to help your family through the process can make things easier on all involved.

Many Differences

Unlike proceedings in regular court, juvenile proceedings have differing nomenclature and require different people and things. For example, representation by an attorney is required in all cases in Illinois juvenile court, and in most cases, a putative offender’s parents are also required to be present. Also, under Illinois law, minors who commit crimes are not seen as criminals, per se; rather, they are seen as “delinquent minors,” and the focus in most juvenile cases is intended to be on rehabilitation, rather than retribution. This does not always play out, but the general slant of the law pointed is in this manner.

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FBI, flawed testimony, DuPage County criminal defense attorneyMany criminal trials involve the presentation of evidence which has been analyzed at a law enforcement laboratory and is then offered into testimony by a person who is somehow associated with that laboratory. Our legal system is based on the fact that the expert is qualified in performing that analysis, and that the testimony, which is then entered into evidence, is based on knowledge and truth. However, a recent admission by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) decades of flawed FBI testimony raises questions on the legality of hundreds – if not thousands – of guilty convictions.

According to a statement released by the DOJ, there have been approximately 1,500 cases identified as requiring a review after determining that FBI experts from the agency’s microscopic hair comparison unit who testified at these trials overstated the existence of positive forensic matches. So far, the DOJ and FBI have reviewed 342 cases and found that the FBI provided flawed testimony in 268 trials. In 95 percent of those cases, the flawed testimony was in the prosecution’s favor.

There are still another 1,200 cases that the FBI has identified as needing review, including 700 cases in which prosecutors and/or law enforcement had not responded to the agency’s request for transcripts from the trials and other information. The cases involved come from all over the country for over two decades. There are 46 states, as well as the District of Columbia, in which state prosecutors and defendants are being notified of the situation in order to determine if these defendants have grounds for appeal. Four of the cases were tried in Illinois courtrooms. Thirty-two of the defendants who were found guilty were given the death penalty. Fourteen of those defendants have either already been executed or have died in prison.

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license plate reader, camera, Chicago criminal defense attorneyOver the past several years, license plate readers have become a popular surveillance tool for law enforcement across the country. It is a tool most people are not even aware exists.  The readers use small, high-speed cameras to photograph license plates, documenting the date, time, and location of each one. The information is then added to a computer which is linked to other law enforcement data bases, such as those which include arrest warrants or missing persons.

License plate readers can be mounted onto police vehicles or other objects, such as bridges or street signs, making them virtually unnoticeable by passing motorists. Although the readers have proven useful in apprehending offenders, the readers also capture information on people who have no criminal history at all. Many civil rights groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) have come out against the use of readers. Lawmakers have also voiced their opposition to the use of readers, and one Illinois lawmaker has introduced a bill that would limit their use by law enforcement.

The current procedure used by law enforcement allows all the metadata collected from the scan to be kept indefinitely. The concern is that instead of the tool only being used as legitimate way to alert police to vehicles involved in specific criminal investigations, it allows for mass location tracking.

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Internet sex crimeBeing labeled as a sex offender is a punishment with wide-ranging implications that can have a detrimental impact on your life. Internet sex offenses may range anywhere from sexual harassment to producing obscene materials to a minor. Regardless of the cause of action, sexual crimes are viewed among the most severe and unforgiving under the law, and all allegations should be taken very seriously.

Sex Offender Registry

Probation, fines, and jail time aside, one of the most damaging aspects of a sex crime conviction is that you will have to register as a sex offender. Being labeled a sex offender can greatly compromise your ability to find housing, make a living, visit with your children, or maintain custody of your child. You will have restrictions placed on your ability to travel, and be present around children, schools, or parks. These limitations can greatly affect your freedom, future, and emotional well-being. You must register as a sex offender for life, and failure to timely register as a sex offender in Illinois can carry its own significant criminal penalties.

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credit card fraudTheft. Fraud. Misappropriation. Possession. Receipt. All of these terms have legal significance under the Credit and Debit Card Fraud Act of the Illinois Criminal Code. While the broad term of credit card fraud encompasses an array of specific crimes, credit card fraud is generally defined as a person using, obtaining, possessing, selling, or buying a credit card bearing a false number or a number that does not belong to him or her. Misusing a credit card that has not been lawfully issued to you is a serious crime that may lead to federal penalties.

What Constitutes Credit Card Fraud?

Credit card fraud comes in many forms. Some of the most common, as laid out in the Illinois Credit and Debit Card Fraud Act, include:

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