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Criminal Law Archives

Study shows that prosecutors make worse offers to black people

A number of studies has revealed that black people in Illinois are much more likely to be arrested by the police than white individuals even though they are no more likely to commit crimes and make up a much smaller percentage of the population. A new study reveals that the disparate treatment based on race extends into the court and criminal justice system as well. Black people are likelier to receive harsh sentences than are their white counterparts even if they have similar records and have committed similar crimes.

Judge's ruling pushes toward bail reform

A Chicago judge ruled on July 17 that defendants who are not considered to be dangerous do not have to remain in jail while awaiting trial if they cannot afford bail. In a statement, the chief judge of the Circuit Court of Cook County, which includes the city of Chicago, said that defendants should not be punished simply because they do not have financial resources to pay bail.

Criminal defendants have right to a speedy jury trial

Packed court dockets and crowded jails could lead to delays in processing cases in Illinois. The Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution anticipated the problem of people potentially languishing behind bars without a conviction and installed guarantees to a speedy trial decided by an impartial jury.

Types of internet fraud

Illinois residents may have heard of various types of internet-based crimes such as using phishing to try to get someone's personal information. Activities like this fall under the larger umbrella of internet fraud.

Judge sentences man on theft, burglary and contempt charges

Media outlets in Illinois have reported that a 51-year-old man was sentenced to five years in prison for burglary and theft on April 28 after a DuPage County judge was unconvinced by his vow to change his ways. The man was cited twice for contempt of court for his outbursts during a contentious and lengthy trial, and he observed his sentencing hearing and learned of his fate from the confines of a soundproof booth. The man will serve nine months in the DuPage County jail for the two contempt of court convictions after completing his prison sentence.

Ignition interlock devices reduce drunk driving risks

Illinois, like most states, requires first-time DUI offenders to have ignition interlock devices fitted to their vehicles. Many road safety advocates believe that these devices can deter repeat drunk driving and save lives, and a new study from the Colorado School of Public Health and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health seems to add weight to these arguments. The study, which was published in the April 2017 edition of the "American Journal of Preventive Medicine," suggests that the number of drunk driving accidents falls by 7 percent when mandatory ignition interlock laws are put into place.

Report details ways to address law enforcement hacking

Much has been written about massive government surveillance programs and how the civil rights of residents of Illinois and around the country can be protected in the information age. Evidence has emerged that federal law enforcement agencies have used single warrants to monitor the internet activity of thousands of people, and the American Civil Liberties Union, the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers released a report on March 30 outlining strategies that can be used to combat this kind of law enforcement hacking.

Crime rates show downward trend since early 1990's

Illinois residents may be interested to learn that, despite President Trump stating otherwise throughout his campaign, crime rates have fallen across the nation. In fact, crime rates have continued to fall since the early 1990's. To determine the nation's crime rate, two measures are commonly used. These are annual reports from the FBI and annual surveys conducted by the Bureau of Justice Statistics.

Illinois town decriminalizes personal amounts of marijuana

Oswego passed a measure on Jan. 3 that decriminalized the possession of a small amount of marijuana. The report stated that the Oswego police could issue civil citations to those who were in possession of 10 grams or less of cannabis. Municipalities in the state of Illinois are allowed to decriminalize personal amounts of cannabis due to the passing of the Cannabis Control Act in 2016.

Alleged mobster indicted after undercover sting

A 67-year-old man who authorities believe is a member of Chicago's Grand Avenue crew was taken into police custody on Dec. 21. According to a 26-page indictment, the alleged crew soldier was caught attempting to purchase eight firearms including an AK-47 and an Uzi. The incident occurred in a South Loop deli and involved an undercover agent.