Chicago Criminal Defense Blog
The U.S. Department of Justice recently concluded a 13 month long investigation into allegations of police misconduct and brutality in the Chicago Police Department. Their conclusion, according to U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch, is that the Chicago Police Department has been engaged in an illegal pattern of excessive force, especially when it came to minorities. Among the abuses committed, police shot at fleeing suspects that presented no immediate threat, shot at vehicles when there was no immediate threat, used tasers or other non-lethal force on suspects that presented no threat, used excessive force against juveniles, and used force to retaliate against, or punish people, in situations when it was not justified.
You were arrested, charged, or cited with a criminal offense, whether it was a felony or misdemeanor, in Chicago or elsewhere in Illinois. You appeared in court, and the charges were either dismissed, you were found not guilty after a trial, or perhaps you received a sentence of court supervision, or some expungable form of probation (such as under Section 410 of the Controlled Substances Act, for example). You want to file a petition to expunge the record of your arrest and any court proceedings, but you were previously told that you were unable to do so, due to a prior criminal conviction or convictions on other criminal matters. Up until January 1, 2017, that would have been correct. However, effective January 1, 2017, thanks to an amendment to the Illinois Expungement statute, Chapter 20, Illinois Compiled Statutes, Section 2630/5.2, it is now possible to seek an order expunging an arrest record, despite having previous criminal convictions on your rap sheet.
Recently, a man in Oklahoma was arrested at a do-it-yourself car wash and charged with two counts of animal cruelty. It seems his two dogs were in need of a bath, so he took them to a nearby car wash, the type with those industrial strength power sprayers, and turned it on his dogs, who were in a cage on the back of his pick-up truck. Someone called the police, and when they arrived, he was still at it. The police ordered him to stop, and he just kept spraying, as close as one foot away from the helpless animals, who were soaked and terrified.
In Michigan, a man starts his car in his driveway, and goes inside for a few minutes while the engine and vehicle interior “warmed up”. He comes out five minutes later, to see a $128.00 ticket for leaving his vehicle unattended, with the engine running, and the keys in the ignition. Outraged, he posted the ticket to Facebook, where people all over the country have expressed dismay. “Why?” one person simply asked.
A 59-year-old lady is alleged to have made a very bad series of decisions while driving through the far west suburbs of Chicago. When Elburn, Illinois police officers attempted to stop her vehicle early Sunday morning for an undisclosed violation, it is alleged that she refused to stop, and sped away. The Elburn police called it in on their radios to the Kane County Sheriff’s office. Soon thereafter, a Sheriff’s Deputy in one car, and a St. Charles police officer in another car, located the woman driving her Dodge Avenger, east bound on Illinois Route 38. With the Sheriff’s deputy behind her, and the St. Charles officer in front, she allegedly drove at speeds of up to 90 miles per hour in a 50 mile per hour zone.
A young man, intent on getting a really good picture of the seals at Chicago’s Lincoln Park Zoo, violated all common sense by climbing over the fence that surrounds the seal pool, an act which is not only discouraged by Zoo personnel, but is against the law, as he found out. When confronted by Zoo employees, he became irate, telling them that he just wanted pictures, and that he made no contact with the seals. All would have been well, but when he was told to get out of the enclosure, he mouthed off to the workers, and they then called the police.
An 18-year-old Chicago area woman was charged recently with vehicular hijacking following an incident that occurred in the Portage Park neighborhood. It seems a man left his vehicle unattended, with the engine running and the keys in the ignition, while the engine was warming up at about 8:30 a.m. According to the news story, an 18 year old woman got into the car, and drove away.
In Du Page County Illinois, a Judge sentenced a man to serve 22 years in prison for stealing a remote control device from a common area of an apartment complex. While that may seem to be not even remotely fair on its face, this case is an excellent example of how extended sentencing works, and how one can be sentenced based upon one’s entire criminal history, and not necessarily just upon the actual, factual, crime.
A married couple, with 9 children from a small town in Illinois, are facing felony charges of involuntary manslaughter, one count of felony child endangerment, and 9 counts of misdemeanor child endangerment, following an incident that resulted in the death of their infant. According to the police department, the family was living in horrific conditions; rooms with garbage piled up to the ceiling and a stench so bad that it sickened the responding officers. The entire family was sleeping on a single mattress in the living room. It is believed that during the night, someone had shifted which caused the infant carrier (which was serving as the baby’s bed) to turn over. The baby suffocated during the night and was unable to be revived.
It’s been national news for some time now that Chicago has been plagued by shootings and weapon related murders. But recently, the Chicago Police and the Mayor’s office revealed that they have employed new technology to combat gun violence in some of Chicago’s most dangerous neighborhoods.
“Shotspotter” gunshot detection technology has been installed in various locations in several high crime areas in Englewood and in the Harrison District. The technology is being billed as “predictive” and “analytical” and it is supposed to help police predict, combat and stop violent crime. Police in these districts will be using “Strategic Decision Support Centers” which will employ technology to combine real time information with analytical support from the University of Chicago’s Crime Lab Analysts.