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Posted on in Arrest

Being arrested can be quite overwhelming. You cannot control the circumstances surrounding your arrest, but you have the power to be smart about what you say and how you act. Equally important is your body language and tone of voice. Make the most of the situation by being cooperative and polite.

 Being cooperative does not mean offering damaging statements; simply comply with reasonable requests. For example, if the officer states that you are under arrest and requests for you to put your hands behind your back for handcuffing, do so calmly and quickly. Remember, dashboard cameras can be a silent witness to your arrest, in addition to witnesses in the form of onlookers and police officers at the scene.

1. Never admit guilt.

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On Monday, August 12, 2013, the Obama administration revealed its plan to eliminate long-term mandatory minimum sentences for many low-level, non-violent drug offenses.  With U.S. federal prisons nearly 40% above capacity, with almost half of the inmates serving time for drug-related offenses, the goal is to reduce the length of a non-violent offender’s sentence, while simultaneously reducing the prison population and saving billions of dollars for the U.S.

Rather than following the current mandatory minimum sentencing laws, the U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder is recommending sending people convicted of low-level offenses to drug treatment programs and community service programs.  The intent is changing from convicting and incarcerating to getting help and treatment for the significant number of inmates suffering from substance abuse disorders.

Other efforts are also being made to take into consideration early release for those inmates convicted of non-violent crimes who are elderly or suffer from serious medical conditions and have already served a significant portion of their sentence.

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By now we have all heard the story and the apology of the Oscar-winning actress, Reese Witherspoon, about her embarrassing behavior during the recent DUI arrest of her movie-agent husband, James Toth.

According to CNN, Witherspoon was in Atlanta working on a movie entitled "The Good Lie".  While there, she was charged with disorderly conduct for interfering with the arrest of her husband on a drunk driving charge.

According to the arresting officer’s account, Witherspoon began to hang out the window of the car and say that she did not believe that he was a real police officer.  In response, the officer asked her to sit down and be quiet.  As the squad car video showed, Witherspoon did not follow the officer’s instructions.  Instead, she exited the passenger side of the vehicle that was being driven by her husband and continued to engage the officer.  She even attempted to avoid being handcuffed by the officer.

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On April 17, 2013, the United States Supreme Court held that any person who is suspected of driving under the influence cannot be automatically subjected to blood testing without a warrant and without consent.

It has been routine practice in the State of Illinois for an officer to transport a person suspected of driving under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol to a hospital to submit to a blood draw for purposes of procuring evidence.  This situation almost always arises when the incident is accident related, and frequently occurs after there has been a refusal to submit to a breath test.

With the United States Supreme Court ruling in Missouri v. McNeely, No. 11-1425, it is even more important now for an individual to exercise his 4th Amendment rights against unreasonable search and seizure and refuse to submit to such requested blood testing.

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Talking on the phone is such a natural process – some of our best conversations happen there. However, there are people out there who use the phone to scheme ways to get your hard earned money through telemarketing fraud – when you send money to people you do not know, give personal information or financial information to unknown callers.

Illinois Criminal Lawyer

There are many warning signs that, when you hear them, you know to say no and hang up the phone. From offers that need immediate attention to be valid, to winning a free gift, vacation or some other prize to which you need to pay only postage and handling. When they ask for payment right away, giving your credit card number, bank account number or waiting for someone to come over and pick your money up are all dangerous options. Recognize the immediate need for money as a sign! By agreeing to have someone come and pick up your money you will have no way to trace the company. Always make sure you get the salesperson’s name, business identity, phone number, street/mailing address and business license to make sure it is a legitimate business.

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LaraThe Quad City Times recently published an article stating that a juvenile justice advisory group recommended Illinois should stop automatically treating 17 year-olds who are charged with felonies as adults.

The 24-member advisory group issued its report after examining the impact of a 2010 change in state law.  Until the change of the law, anyone older than 16 was treated as an adult, and had to go through the adult court system when charged with any type of crime.

In 2010, the General Assembly came to the conclusion that 17 year-olds who were charged with misdemeanors would go through the juvenile court system, whereas 17 year-old charged with felonies would be prosecuted as adults.

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LaraAccording to an article published by www.bnd.com, two more cases of drug-induced homicide have arisen in Madison County.

Tony Sellers was found dead outside the home of Robert J. Kirchner back in June.  According to autopsy results, his death was due to a heroin overdose.

Kirchner, 40, is allegedly accused of buying heroin down in St. Louis and proceeding to deliver it to Sellers.  According to Madison County police, Kirchner and three others then took Sellers’ body out of the house and left it in the back yard so as to disguise the cause of his death.

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KerryValentine’s Day didn’t quite have a happy ending for one Skokie couple. Elaine Cook, 51, and her boyfriend of 10 months had gone out to dinner to celebrate the holiday, but got into an argument later in the evening back at the woman’s apartment.

According to a report in the Chicago Tribune, Cook told her boyfriend to leave the apartment. He put his shoes on and began to leave, but in an effort to end the fight and make-up, he went back over to her and tried to kiss her and she bit off a large portion of his tongue.

He ran over to the sink, bleeding and Cook allegedly threw the tongue on the counter. The 47 year-old man put the tongue in a bag of ice and Cook’s roommate called 911.  Paramedics rushed the man to Evanston Hospital. Doctors were not able to reattach the tongue because of an inadequate blood supply.

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Chicago criminal defense lawyer (Amanda)Early Saturday morning, on February 16th, a Chicago man was driving, while intoxicated, on an expired license, when he hit a group of pedestrians who were waiting to cross an intersection, according to the Chicago Tribune. Three people were struck; one was killed and the other two were seriously injured. The driver, Leroy Bobo, had a blood alcohol level that was double the legal limit. He will not only face multiple aggravated DUI charges but also counts on failure to report a fatal accident and driving on a suspended license.

At 12:45am, Bobo, 42, was driving through the Cragin neighborhood when his car hit a parked car and then swerved into the victims who were waiting at the crosswalk. One of the victims, Mario Ortego, 38, suffered a hard hit to the head and was pronounced dead a few hours later at Our Lady of the Resurrection Medical Center, according to records. The second victim, a 32-year-old woman, was brought to Loyola University Medical Center in critical condition and was treated for bleeding to the brain. The third victim, a 36-year-old was taken to Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center and was treated for a fractured hip.

After the accident occurred, Bobo continued to drive, and he slammed into another car at a red light. When police officers arrived on the scene, they found Bobo slamming on his accelerator trying to flee the scene. Bobo told police he had three glasses of Brandy and smoked marijuana before driving. The bond for Bobo is set at $500,000.

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KerryA 42 year-old Westmount woman has been charged with first-degree murder for stabbing her husband to death. Lisa Davis is currently being held on $2 million bail, accused of killing 49 year-old David Davis.

According to a report in the Chicago Tribune, Davis called 911 at 7:29 p.m. and reported that her husband had been stabbed. She allegedly told dispatchers that she was the one who stabbed him. When police arrived at the scene, they found David Davis bleeding from a knife wound to the right side of his stomach.  He was still conscious when they got there and told he told police that it was his wife who stabbed him. Paramedics transferred to him Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital in Downers Grove but died from his injuries at 11:36 p.m.

Police say that the couple had been involved in a verbal altercation and at some point during the argument, Davis grabbed a kitchen knife and stabbed her husband with it. Lisa Davis told police she "stuck" her husband with a kitchen knife during the argument.

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TheresaAccording to a recent report in the Chicago Tribune, 15 of 19 cases that were due to be brought before the court will now be dropped. The common thread in these cases is that they are all felony drug related cases that were all handled by the same three Schaumburg police officers.

These cases came under scrutiny after the three police officers were arrested for allegedly beginning their very own criminal enterprise utilizing money and drugs that they had previously stolen from other drug dealers. It is unclear at this point in time what exactly happened for the officers to be arrested. The main concern of the Cook County prosecutor's office is that not only are there charges that are now going to be dropped but that there may be several convictions that may be overturned as a result of these events. One prosecutor stated that now that it is in the open that these officers were running heir own drug dealing business, their testimony in court is not longer credible. This breach of credibility not only affects the cases that they were directly linked to, but it will also affect cases in neighboring cities and counties. The officers were arrested by federal drug agents near the Woodfield mall. Ironically, this is the same area that they had made several arrests themselves. In a criminal case where a breach of trust or an authoritative position is used in the commission of a crime, the charges as well as penalties can be multiplied. If you find yourself in a position where you have been charged with a felony of any kind, you need to have an aggressive and knowledgeable Illinois criminal defense attorney there to make sure that your rights are preserved. You also want to make sure that your best defense is presented before the court.

MelissaA 24-year-old Dominican woman has claimed that Chicago Cubs closer Carlos Marmol kidnapped and abused her. Marmol claims these accusations are false, and it is nothing more than an extortion attempt.

“The stuff that she says is not true, and I proved it,” he told the Chicago Tribune in this article. “It is about the money.  The first thing, when they went to the police, they asked about money right away.”

On October 28, Marmol gave the woman a ride home from a party. He states that although he had never spoken to her before, they grew up in the same hometown so he knew who she was.

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ChristineA family member passes away unexpectedly in a murder. Justice was thought to have prevailed, except you hear that the killer was released. You&re furious. Do you trust the law enforcement to rectify this situation? The first question to come to mind is “Why?” only to find out it is totally the fault of the people you are supposed to trust to enforce justice.

According to Yahoo! News, on January 30, 2013, convicted killer Steven L. Robbins, 44, was released after being accidentally brought to Cook County on a dismissed drug charges from 2007 that was still recorded as an active arrest warrant. His time in Indiana State Prison hardly over, serving a 60 year sentence for murder, he should have never left Indiana. The reason for this mix-up is a system of easy failure using paper as the means to record and report all information. This antiquated system is to blame because the shuffle of information was not easy to cross reference and check for updates. Unlike most other government agencies and businesses that use computers to keep track of everything, the Indiana State Prison relies on paper alone to disseminate information.

Luckily, the law enforcement caught on to this and searched him out. On February 1, 2013, Robbins was caught in a town home in Kankakee about 60 miles from Chicago. No resistance to the arrest and recapture, Robbins went back to Indiana State Prison that Saturday continuing his 60 year murder sentence.

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ChristineIn the wake of the school shootings in Connecticut, people are in debate about gun issues on both sides. It seems more and more gun news appears by the week. The Second Amendment, where all citizens have the right to bear arms, seems to be in question over and over. Is it truly a right? Guns are not the problem, people who do not know how to handle their emotional and physical actions are to be blamed.

According to Yahoo! News, on Tuesday, January 29th, 2013, 65 year old suspect Jimmy Lee Dykes, a loner Vietnam veteran, boarded a school bus with children. He proceeded to shoot the driver four times with a 9mm gun. After that he took a 5 year old kindergarten boy hostage for almost a week in a bunker. FBI and law enforcement tried their best to negotiate with the suspect to get the boy out of harm ways and back home. Monday, February 04, 2013, after 24 hours of trying with the looks of the situation not going the way they wanted, the FBI invaded the bunker. Officials said stun or flash grenades were used in the operation. After the situations, Dykes was dead and the little boy, unharmed, was released and freed.

Everyone can feel the pain for the bus driver’s family, the other students on the bus, and the little boy and his family in Midland City, Alabama. Such horrific events occurring to our most innocent citizens will cause a lifetime of damage and repair.  Even in the community it will take time to heal. If you are in a situation where you need legal advice about a threat in your life, contact a criminal lawyer in Illinois who is a knowledgeable attorney.

KerryA new law has been signed by Gov. Pat Quinn which will allow illegal immigrants to get special driver's licenses. The Illinois Secretary of State’s office told the Chicago Tribune that it will take approximately ten months to finalize rules about who will qualify for the licenses and what documentation will be accepted. Once that’s done and employees are trained, the state will then begin issuing the licenses.

The bill was sponsored by Rep. Edward Acevedo, D-Chicago, who attended the bill signing, which was held at Instituto del Progreso Latino in Chicago. Acevedo noted that the bill was not about driver’s licenses but was in fact about equality for everyone. The licenses will be referred to as temporary visitor driver's licenses. They will only be valid for three years from date of issue and will clearly be marked “not valid for identification”.

In order to qualify for one of these special licenses, an applicant must prove they have lived in Illinois for a least a year. They also cannot be eligible for a Social Security card. Acceptable documentation includes a copy of a lease, utility bills and a valid passport or consular identification card. Applicants will need to make appointments at one of the eight state-wide designated locations. There will be a wait time before the license is issued in order for the state to verify the application information and perform a facial recognition search against other databases.

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KHarryCrim2ChargedA teen-aged boy was shot on January 16 outside a high school basketball game at Chicago State University. Two men face charges and no bail for the shooting. The Chicago Tribune reported a story on the shooting.

According to authorities, Michael McNabb, 32, and 29-year-old Stephen Gilbert were both charged with murder in the killing of the 17-year-old victim, Tyrone Lawson.

Lawson was shot around 9:20 p.m. on Wednesday night after Morgan Park had lost to Simeon High School. The shooting took place just outside the CSU gymnasium near 95th Street and King Drive.  Lawson was pronounced dead at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn.

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 An Elgin woman pleaded guilty to a murder her lawyer says was a result of impaired judgment caused by the influence of drugs. The 29-year-old woman pleaded guilty to the murder of a man who described as her friend. The Chicago Tribune reported a story on the woman's case.

The 29-year-old, Jessica S. Leach, received a prison sentence of 20 years for her role in the murder of 61-year-old James Granger. Granger was also an Elgin resident.

The body of Granger was found on December 17 2011. Granger's apartment in Elgin had been damaged by fire.

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 According to the Chicago Tribune, a 35-year-old Warrenville man, who formerly served as a counselor and track coach at Naperville North High School, pled guilty in DuPage County to one count of criminal sex abuse involving a student. Although the case was set for trial, the man decided to plead guilty at the last minute to the criminal charge.

Law enforcement officials arrested the man in February 2011 and he was charged with a sex crime after school officials discovered that he had been involved with a student who was under the age of 18. The school also suspended the man from his employment; he had worked at Naperville North since 2006. As part of his guilty plea, the man admitted that he had touched the girl inappropriately at his residence during the summer of 2010.

The man will face a sentencing hearing on February 19. He could receive a prison sentence ranging from one to three years, although he also could be placed on probation.

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 The Chicago Tribune is reporting that three Schaumburg police officers, all tactical members of the department’s special investigations unit, were the subject of a recent sting operation by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration that resulted in their arrests. The trio now faces a barrage of felony charges related to a drug ring that they were allegedly operating with the help of a former police informant.

According to the informant, the police officers began to steal drugs and cash from drug dealers in 2012. Sometimes, the police officers would use the informant to illegally buy and sell drugs. Other times, the officers turned over drugs seized in legal operations over to the informant to sell, dividing the profits with him. After the informant was caught with drugs, he advised the authorities of the cops’ scheme, which had been going on for approximately six to nine months. This led to the DEA operation that brought the alleged drug ring down. The police officers were told that an out-of-state associate had stashed $20,000 in a storage facility. The officers allegedly broke into the facility and stole the money, an event that was recorded on audio and video equipment. Law enforcement officials then took the three men into custody and executed about 20 search warrants for the men’s homes, vehicles, and the police station.

Not only do the three police officers face multiple serious criminal charges, but their alleged actions may have invalidated prior arrests and pending criminal charges against others. For instance, despite the outcome of the officers’ criminal charges, their credibility has been compromised by the allegations, and they are likely to be unavailable to testify in other criminal cases, if they remain incarcerated. In fact, a later report states that Cook County prosecutors already have dropped felony charges in three cases in which an undercover drug bust involving the three police officers occurred. It is expected, based on statements from the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office that charges in at least 12 other cases will be dismissed, as well.

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Posted on in Criminal Defense

 One of the things that Chicago police have complained about is that there is just not enough community involvement when it comes to fighting crime. Residents are afraid to report criminal activity for fear of retaliation. According to CBS Chicago, there is a new tool coming soon that can alleviate these worries.

Cook County residents will soon have access to a new phone app called iWatch. This is an app that will be downloaded right the user’s smart phone that will connect them directly to the police. With this app, local residents will be able to send in tips about crime happening in the area. They will also be able to attach and send photos of the crime or the perpetrator.

The great thing for residents is that this tool will allow them to be 100 percent anonymous in their reports. Residents do not want to talk to the police because they are afraid of what will happen if someone finds out that they have given information to the police. They often complain that police will not be there to protect them. This convenient app will alleviate those fears. iWatch supports 40 different languages so non English speaking residents do not have to worry about the language barrier that can sometimes cause an issue. The app also appeals to the younger crowd that is accustomed to communicating via text messages and other electronic means.

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