Monday, January 6, 2014

Chicago Criminal Lawyer Knows It Is Cold, But Cook County Courthouses Are Open

This Chicago Criminal lawyer knows today is one to stay inside.  The windchill levels could make today, and the rest of the week,the lowest recorded temperatures on record for the city of Chicago.  How low you ask?  Schools are closed in the City of Chicago.   Public transportation is delayed.  Non-essential, excluding court personnel, County Services are closed.  Cook County Department of Corrections inmates will not have jail visits prior to Wednesday of this week. Additionally,  if an inmate is slated for release but lacks transportation and/or shelter the inmate can choose to remain in custody.  But the courts are open.  Inmates will not be transported to any courthouse in Cook County today, except for Leighton, also known as 26th and California.  And yes, that courthouse is literally a couple of doors down from the residence of Cook County Inmates.

Now what happens if you have court today and can't appear?  If it is a civil matter, call the courthouse and get connected to your judge's clerk.  Some judges are automatically giving status dates.

If you have a criminal matter, this includes misdemeanor courts and traffic courts where there is the possibility of jail as a sentence, you should also call the courthouse, but I've been informed that no warrants will be issued for the accused if she or he is absent today.

I will update as I get additional information.

The most important thing you can do today is stay safe.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Chicago Criminal Lawyer Knows That Vets Have Unique Needs

This Chicago criminal defense lawyer has posted here and here about vets.  I tend to do this on Veterans Day because I know this is a day when people are outwardly thinking about soldiers.  Those serving now as well as those who have served before.

But I don't believe that service to this country is adequately honored by remembering them today.  That's not to say that doing so isn't nice, it's just that I think the men and women who serve this country frequently don't get the benefit of the doubt.  Just last month there was a partisan shut down of the government.  Apparently by people that don't understand that while there maybe a lot of things they don't like about government, there are many important and essential functions that are solely that of the government.

For example, death benefits could have been stopped but once those clamoring for a shutdown of government realized that would happen without any additional action, they quickly stopped that horror from occurring.  It is this very type of acting without thinking through the ramifications that troubles me about those giving lip service to vets.

So if you know a vet that needs services, I'm asking you to help her or him get those services.  If you know a vet that needs a lawyer, I'm asking you to help her or him get those legal services.  If you know a vet that has a lawyer, remind her or him to make sure that the lawyer knows they are a vet.  It can make a substantial difference to the outcome of their legal matter.  Finally, I'm not interested in whether you do this today or not, I want to know if you can do it the other days of the year that aren't called Veterans Day?


RIP Marty. My BFF saw to it that you got a home so you wouldn't have to stand on the side of the expressway asking for money.  That you got treatment.  That we visited you at Hines.  That you knew you had friends you could introduce to the medical staff.  That your service and sacrifice were respected.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Chicago Criminal Attorney Wonders If the Public Believes the Accused Have No Rights to Privacy

This Chicago criminal defense attorney remains stunned by the number of people who earnestly seem to believe that if you have nothing to hide then you don't need to worry about encounters with the government. Although in light of the realization that the Patriot Act is working and through it the NSA combs routinely, and regularly, through folks' communications may have shifted the opinion of many in the " if you've got nothing to hide you don't need to worry camp".

Still, the ability of many to just throw away their rights is shocking to me.  Fortunately, perhaps, albeit too late, there is a renewed interest in the citizen's desire for privacy from intrusions from the government.  Thankfully, the government sometimes crosses the line leaving us all shocked and dismayed that you can be searched for anything, anywhere, any how, and any time, even numerous times, to satisfy the government.

November 6, 2013, Deming, NM


As KOB-TV reports, police stopped David Eckert on Jan. 2 after he failed to come to a complete stop at a stop sign outside a Walmart parking lot in Deming, N.M. Things began to go wrong when the authorities asked him to exit his vehicle.
“They say when he stepped out of his car he was standing in a manner that looked as if he was clinching his buttocks,” Shannon Kennedy, Eckert’s attorney, told KOB-TV, according to CBS Las Vegas.
This led police to believe Eckert was hiding drugs in his anal cavity. After obtaining a search warrant from a judge allowing for an anal cavity search, cops took Eckert to an emergency room in Deming, but a doctor there refused to perform the search, calling it “unethical,” KOB said.
Eventually, police moved Eckert to Gila Regional Medical Center in Silver City, where doctors agreed to perform the anal cavity search. According to the lawsuit and Eckert’s medical records, which were released to KOB, Eckert’s abdominal area was X-rayed twice, doctors performed a colonoscopy on him, an enema was inserted anally three separate times and doctors examined his anus twice with their fingers.
No drugs were ever found and Eckert never gave his consent for doctors to perform the procedures.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Chicago Criminal Lawyer Comments on Voting Rights for Felons

This Chicago Criminal lawyer posted here about voting rights for felons.  She wants to remind you that each state has different laws on whether felons can vote, and if so when can they vote and how can they vote.

In Illinois, being a convicted felon is not a bar to voting.  That said, convicted felons are barred from voting while they are incarcerated.  This is the case in every state, except for Maine and Vermont.  Those states do permit convicted felons to vote while incarcerated via absentee ballots.  

Constitution of Illinois:


ARTICLE III 
SUFFRAGE AND ELECTIONS
SECTION 2. VOTING DISQUALIFICATIONS
A person convicted of a felony, or otherwise under
sentence in a correctional institution or jail, shall lose
the right to vote, which right shall be restored not later
than upon completion of his sentence.
(Source: Illinois Constitution.)
There is no bar to voting while a case is pending. There is no bar to voting for misdemeanor convictions in Illinois state courts.

Tomorrow is Election Day!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Chicago Criminal Lawyer Comments on Pardons and Mistakes Were made


This Chicago Criminal lawyer has heard it time, and time, and time again.  "That was so long ago".  "Why are they bringing up a case from when I was a kid?" "I was all set to get this job and then they ran a background check and now they won’t hire me."

It isn’t fair but when you get charged with a crime, the easiest thing in the world, at the time, may seem to be to plead guilty.  You may not have chosen your lawyer, or perhaps you spent the night in jail already and the Government is telling you if you plea now this case will be over.  Unfortunately, they don’t really mean that.

So what happens if you did something horrible when you were “young and dumb” but now you are an upstanding citizen?  Well maybe you qualify for an expungement, but you have to know that expungement is an all or nothing process. So perhaps you had a DUI case where you got supervision ten years ago and then you got charged with a serious criminal charge, like murder, and you beat the murder charge.  You probably want to get the murder arrest expunged, removed from your background, but you won’t be able to because of the “all or nothing” nature of expungement.   You can’t expunge the old DUI.  So, that leaves you with a Pardon or Clemency.  This is not easy.

Just ask this guy:


 State law bars felons from holding municipal office in Illinois, and Alpogianis had been convicted      more than two decades ago of aggravated battery.
But if Alpogianis runs again — and he plans to — his record won’t be an obstacle. He was one of 43 people pardoned this summer by Gov. Pat Quinn.
Alpogianis, 46, is probably best known as a member of the family that owns Kappy’s Restaurant & Pancake House in Morton Grove and the America’s Dog locations in the Loop and Lincoln Park and at Navy Pier and O’Hare Airport.
Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez argued unsuccessfully against clemency for Alpogianis, praising him for urging children to avoid the mistakes he’d made but adding, “Perhaps the greatest lesson for these youth is that when you commit violent crimes, they can never be erased.”
Pardons come from the sitting governor in the state where the crime occurred or the President of the United States of America.  Yep.  That’s not easy is it?

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Chicago Criminal Lawyer Comments on the Costs, to the Taxpayer, of Justice


Mr. Government: “ I used to take into account when making  a recommended sentence the length of time they would be in jail, but I no longer consider that my problem.”

Me:  “We just can’t afford it.”

Mr. Government: “You mean you can’t afford it as a defense attorney?”

Me: “ No. We can’t afford to house non-violent offenders as taxpayers.”

Mr. Government: “That’s not my job.  I leave that to the Sheriff.”

Just the other day I had a conversation like that, again, for like the billionth time with a prosecutor.  My client wasn’t even facing jail, but it’s time we all address the cost of incarceration since we are all paying for it.

From the Chicago Tribune:

Cook County Jail inmates stuck behind bars because they can't come up with small amounts of money to go free while awaiting trial for non-violent offenses will automatically go before judges to possibly get their bail reduced under a plan announced by Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle today.
          Inmates always have been able to request that judges reconsider their bond amounts.  


            But a panel convened by Preckwinkle to study bond court in Cook County recommended the step become    
            standard in cases where defendants remain in jail despite needing $10,000 or less to walk out.
Preckwinkle said she does not know how much it will cost to make the changes, or where the cash-strapped county will get the money. But she said enacting the reforms is a matter of fairness.
"I can't tell you (the cost), but I think the long-term goal is to reduce the jail population without endangering the citizenry or the defendants," Preckwinkle said.
         It costs about $143 per day to keep an inmate at Cook County Jail, Preckwinkle said.

$143 per day is an awful lot of money.  I’ve had clients spend over 60 days in jail before their families hired me and I was able to get the bond reduced while they await trial.  Anyone else think almost $10,000 (assuming the inmate never got ill while in custody, because then the price would be higher) is too much for an accused awaiting trial on a non-violent offense?  Then there’s the issue of the accused pleading guilty, just to get out of jail, even if they believe they aren’t guilty.  Where’s the fairness in that?

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Chicago Criminal Attorney Comments on Legislation to Restore the Death Penalty

This Chicago criminal defense attorney has posted here, about the Illinois death penalty moratorium, now it appears your legislators in Springfield think the death penalty should come back.

House Bill 5912:


Amends the Criminal Code of 1961 relating to first degree murder. Adds and eliminates aggravating factors for which the death penalty may be imposed. Amends the Code of Criminal Procedure of 1963. Eliminates provision that abolishes the sentence of death. Enacts the Capital Crimes Litigation Act of 2012. Provides that all unobligated and unexpended moneys remaining in the Death Penalty Abolition Fund on the effective date of the amendatory Act shall be transferred into the Capital Litigation Trust Fund.

Three things to consider:

Capital punishment is almost never a deterrent to crime

Civilized People don't kill other people

After a sentence of death, there are extraordinary litigation expenses, borne by taxpayers, by the condemned to appeal.

Can we really afford to reinstate capital punishment here in the land of Lincoln?