Illinois Supreme Court released 4 criminal law cases for March 2016.

 

Here are the top 13 criminal law cases from the Illinois court system for March 2016. The first 4 are from the Illinois Supreme Court. Number 4 was a victory for the defense at the lower level and the Illinois Supreme Court had something to say about that.

  1.  People v. Burns
    The “no-nights visits” rule is affirmed, can’t bring the sniffer dog to your front step for a little sniff action.
  2. People v. Bradford
    Prosecution no longer allowed to overcharge an ordinary retail theft to a burglary.
  3. People v. Clark
    Aggravated vehicular hijacking and armed robbery without a firearm are not lesser-included offenses of aggravated vehicular hijacking and armed robbery with a firearm.
  4. People v. Timmsen
    Apparently, the police can stop you for trying to legally avoid a roadblock.
  5. People v. Abram
    Officers approach defendant who was sitting in his car he then, to say the least, ensues in outright flight.
  6. People v. Smith
    This trial judge was overruled; there is nothing unconstitutional about requesting citizen’s to roll up their sleeves.
  7. People v. Thompson
    Some of the State’s remarks relied on questionable advocacy, but did not rise to the level of clear and obvious error.
  8. People v. Meuris
    In a leaving the scene of an accident prosecution the State must not only prove that Defendant knew he was involved in an accident but also that another person was involved.
  9. People v. Weinke
    Reviewing court says ASA exaggerated the severity of victim’s condition and misled the court as to the source and timing of her information in order to pressure the court into granting a quickie deposition.
  10. People v. Tayborn
    Trial counsel was ineffective for not challenging defendant’s confession given without Miranda warnings.
  11. People v. Little
    Cigarette break is not a sufficient amount of time to remove the taint of the original Miranda violation.
  12. People v. Gray
    These drug officers were themselves charged with distributing narcotics and Defendant was not told about the investigation before he plead guilty to his own drug charges.
  13. People v. Fulton
    In a charge of armed habitual criminal the same conviction can be used as one of the predicate offenses as well the predicate to the UUW Felony conviction that may be being used.

What is a deposition

 

What is a deposition?
In about 30 years of working in the law I have seen many documents used to prepare witnesses for deposition. I decided to write one that would be easily understood by the typical lay witness. This article is not legal advice. It is a compilation of advice given by various attorneys, which I hope you will find useful.

If you use this for a client, it should be provided on the attorney’s letterhead with this cautionary language at the top: Note: This document is privileged and confidential. Do not show it to anyone. Read it several times before giving your deposition.

PREPARING FOR YOUR DEPOSITION

General Notes

Your deposition is extremely important and will affect your case in many ways. You must understand everything in this preparation document before being deposed. A deposition is a device commonly used in the “discovery” phase of a lawsuit, before trial. All parties in a lawsuit, through their attorneys, have a period of time after a suit is filed in which to discover facts about a case in order to prepare for trial. Depositions and interrogatories (questions to be answered in writing under oath) are two of the most commonly used.

In a deposition, the witness (you in this case) is called the deponent and is sworn to tell the truth (by the court reporter, who is neutral) before any questions are asked. Attorneys will attend for both sides and the attorney for the opposing party will ask you questions, while the court reporter takes everything down to provide everybody with a copy. Portions of the transcript will probably be used in the trial.

The opposing attorney also wants to get your testimony committed to writing. Warning: everything you say will be used against you, and it is the opposing attorney’s purpose to get you to say something that will hurt your case. Your deposition is not for your benefit; it is for the benefit of the other side. You must resist the urge to tell your story or vindicate yourself or justify your actions. You must answer the questions as briefly as possible and never volunteer information. You will have your chance at trial, when your attorney is asking the questions. So listen carefully to each question, think before answering, and answer concisely-with a “yes” or “no” if possible.

Depositions are not the trial, even though they may be used at trial. Depositions are informal proceedings, usually taken in an attorney’s office, and the judge is not present. They usually last two to six hours sometimes less. The scope of questions is unlimited, and attorneys have the right to ask broad questions on topics that may seem irrelevant. Many topics are covered in depositions that will never be admissible at trial. You must answer all questions unless your attorney instructs you not to answer (another reason for listening to the complete question and taking time before answering).

The opposing attorney may act like Mr. Nice Guy, and you should be polite, but always remember: his duty is to try to help his client by weakening your case. Do not trust him and always remain mentally sharp. Some opposing attorneys will be short and snappy with you, and at times may seem hard-lined and relentless in questioning you. Despite the tactics by opposing counsel, you must remember that he/she is not your friend. Your only friend in the deposition is your attorney.

Your attorney will not ask you any questions. He is there to protect you from improper questioning. Remember: this is not the place to tell your story, but only to give facts as you know them. If your attorney begins to speak, you must stop talking. If the attorneys enter into discussions, you are not to say a word, but listen carefully to what is being said. If your attorney makes an objection, remain silent until he/she tells you to answer. If your attorney instructs you not to answer, do not answer no matter how angry the other attorney becomes or how harmless the question may seem to you.

Getting Ready for Your Deposition

First read this document several times and make sure you understand all of it. If not, ask your attorney or his staff about anything you do not understand. Then review any interrogatories you have answered, because the other attorney will probably use them at your deposition. Read the pleadings and motions that have been filed and go over them with your attorney if you have questions about them.

The other side has the right to ask you to bring documents to your deposition. If you have not been asked to bring anything, do not bring anything. If you have been asked to do so, do your best to gather the documents requested, even if it means getting them from a lockbox or storeroom. Review all documents with your attorney before your deposition. If you have not been asked to bring any documents, but you have documents you think you should bring, discuss it with your attorney.

Important: Letters between you and your attorney and his/her staff, and any documents prepared in connection with the lawsuit are privileged and confidential and never should be produced. These documents may be privileged under the attorney-client privilege or under the work-product privilege. If you produce even one of them, you may forfeit the privilege for all of them. If any documents requested by the other side are privileged and confidential, let your attorney know immediately.

Your attorney or his staff will meet with you before your deposition to prepare you further. Do not hide anything from your attorney. You must be totally truthful with your attorney (and that includes his/her staff) and you will not be fully protected if there are things the other side may know that your attorney doesn’t know. Be candid in all respects and rest assured that everything you say to your attorney or his staff is privileged and confidential. Think of any bad things the other side could possibly know and be sure to let your attorney know about them.

The Deposition Itself

Dress neatly. The best outfit is comfortable business attire, with nothing flashy, nothing offbeat, nothing dirty, nothing sloppy. Remember, the other attorneys are evaluating you as a witness. If you will be making a good impression on the jury at trial, your testimony is more valuable.

Produce requested documents and answer truthfully. Your duty is to answer each question as truthfully as you can, but also with as short an answer as possible. Before answering any question, remember to look straight at the attorney asking the question, listen carefully, pause at least two or three seconds to think, and then give your short, concise answer politely and calmly. For most questions, a “yes sir” or “no sir” or “I don’t know” is sufficient. If you say more than three sentences, you have probably said too much. Remember to do this with each question, so that every answer is formal and controlled and you are controlling the tempo of your deposition.

Always be polite. Your conduct and demeanor may be more important than the answers you give. Try to make a good impression. Relax and remain calm, trying not to show nervousness. (You will be nervous, but try not to show it.) Always respond courteously. Always refer to the attorneys as “Mr.” or “Ms.” Speak up positively with assurance.

You may consult with your attorney. If you have questions or concerns about your potential answer, you may ask the opposing attorney, “May I consult with my attorney?” You may then either talk privately at the table or go outside to discuss it with your attorney. Do not be afraid to ask your attorney questions if you feel it important, but keep these consultations to an absolute minimum. Your attorney cannot tell you how to answer but can help clarify the question. Never answer a question with a question or rhetoric.

Your testimony must be truthful. Tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, but only in response to questions, and with short answers. If you do not tell the truth, you could be subject to criminal prosecution for perjury. If you are caught not telling the truth, it will hurt your credibility and therefore, your case. You must answer every question truthfully.

Answer only from your personal knowledge. Never volunteer an opinion unless specifically asked to do so. Never guess or speculate. Guessing or speculating is not truthful. Do not do it. Don’t let the opposing attorney fool you into making statements outside of your personal knowledge or about something you do not remember.

Testify in your own words. Don’t let opposing counsel put words in your mouth. Stay with your version of the facts as you know them. One tactic some attorneys use is to say “Well, is it fair to say that . . . ?” If he/she uses this tactic and attempts to summarize parts of your testimony, listen carefully and do not agree unless it is exactly true in all respects; if not, state that you do not agree with his/her summary.

Do not be intimidated. The opposing attorney may make an insinuation or express an opinion that you are not telling the truth. This is an old trick and you should not fall for it. He/she may say something like, “Do you mean to tell me that you’re willing to sit here under oath and swear to that?” Remain calm, look him/her in the eyes, and say, “I have just testified to that fact under oath.” The opposing attorney may speak with a raised voice and seem hateful, but your attorney will not let you be badgered or let things get out of hand.

Be careful of questions dependent on your memory. If you are asked about something that happened long ago and you do not remember the date or time, just say so, and do not guess. Nobody expects you to remember every fact of your life. If pressed for dates, you can say, “To the best of my knowledge, it was around that time.” If you don’t remember, say so. Often, the truthful answer to a question begins with “To the best of my knowledge at this time.”

If you don’t know, say so. Again, do not speculate and do not guess. If you do not know the answer to a question, just say, “I do not know.” Do not assume anything. Another old trick is for the opposing attorney to pull out a piece of paper and read it to himself, then ask you if you remember writing a letter to [name] that said [facts]. Don’t be fooled into admitting something of which you are not sure. Don’t say, “I guess so” when the truthful answer is “I do not remember writing such a letter.”

Don’t give long, rambling answers. The opposing attorney will always gain an advantage if you talk too much. Never ask to explain your answer before giving it. And don’t explain your proper “yes sir” or “no sir” answer, either. You must not volunteer information that is unsolicited ever. An example: You are asked to “State the highest degree of education you have earned.” Many witnesses respond: “Well I graduated high school and then went to college for two years.” This is volunteering information. The correct answer is “a high school diploma.” You will only hurt your case and help the other side’s case if you volunteer information, no matter how harmless it may seem.

Don’t give an opinion unless asked. Just answer with facts and never give your opinion or belief unless asked for it. Again, this is volunteering information and can only hurt your case.

Finish your answers. If you do have a long answer, and the other attorney interrupts you when giving your answer, you should politely insist on finishing your entire answer. Just state that you were not through with your answer and insist on being allowed to finish it.

Use care with documents. If you are asked about a certain document, you should ask to see the document before answering. But never refer to a document to refresh your memory without first discussing it with your attorney. In some states, if a deponent is asked a question and stops to look at a document to refresh his/her memory, the document must be disclosed even if it is a privileged document.

Always keep your guard up. Everyone is nervous about giving a deposition. It is only natural. Sometimes a deponent will begin to relax as the deposition progresses and they may even actually begin to enjoy being the center of attention. Avoid this feeling. It is dangerous and leads to your forgetting the rules outlined in this article. Remain alert, be on guard, sit up straight, and remember to:

a. Look and listen
b. Pause and think
c. Answer briefly

Remain polite and courteous, keep your guard up, and don’t let the opposing attorney talk you into hurting your case. Never let yourself be provoked into anger, arguing, or being upset.

Nothing is “off the record.” The court reporter is taking down every word. An attorney may ask you for an answer “off the record,” but do not fall for it. The only thing off the record will be discussions among attorneys when the reporter has been instructed to stop recording.

After Your Deposition

Provide information if agreed. During the deposition, you and your attorney may agree to produce something to the other side. Locate it immediately after the deposition and deliver it to your attorney as soon as possible.

Correct errors in the transcript. You will have a limited time to make any corrections after the court reporter has typed the transcript. Read it carefully and make all corrections. If you don’t do so within the time period, which may be as few as 20 days, you will not be able to correct it later and you will be stuck with it at trial. Follow your attorney’s advice regarding making the corrections.

Answers may need to be supplemented. In some states you are required to supplement any answers you gave at a deposition. If you are asked a question in a deposition, and your answer later changes, you must let your attorney know. For example, you may be asked for names of witnesses, and after your deposition you learn of another witness. You must give that new information to your attorney immediately.

Review your deposition before trial. Make sure you re-read your deposition testimony before you get to trial. Most cases settle and never reach trial, but not all cases settle. If you are going to trial, it is critical that you know everything you have said under oath, whether in a deposition or interrogatories.

his is what the Illinois court system was up to in February of 2016.

This is what the Illinois court system was up to in February of 2016. Here are the 9 best and worst cases. The last one is the one the prosecution doesn’t want you to know about.

  1. People v. Boston
    Sloppy grand jury work by State’s Attorney does not prejudice defendant. Go to case.
  2. People v. Ligon
    Many objects can qualify as dangerous weapons for purposes of aggravated vehicular hijacking, but not as to armed violence.  In other other words, list of bludgeons is greater for AVH and smaller for armed violence. Go to case.
  3. People v. Zayed
    Smell of cannabis does not give this officer a free pass to search this passenger because the officer crossed the line by whipping out the defendant’s penis and essentially conducting an unreasonable strip search.  Go to case.
  4. People v. Jarvis
    The visual examination of defendant’s buttocks might have exposed defendant’s anus. Nonetheless, any search for the “person” authorizes a strip search. Go to case.
  5. People v. Little
    This DWLR conviction stands because the police officer didn’t need proof of every element of the crime he was investigating. The stop with limited information was good. Go to case.
  6. People v. Buschauer
    The trial court’s finding was against the manifest weight of the evidence in that a reasonable person in would have felt free to leave at any point during the interrogation. Trial court just can’t ignore the factors that weigh against coercion. Go to case.
  7. People v. Harrison
    This force blood draw was not suppressed because it was done before the McNeely decision and binding precedent was in place. Good faith exception applies. Go to case.
  8. People v. Moore
    Lost photo arrays were not done in bad faith, so no due process violation occurred. The proper remedy for this discovery violation was to grant Civil Jury Instruction 5.01. Go to case.
  9. People v. Nibbe
    Second degree murder conviction is vacated outright because a blow with a bare hand is not ordinarily contemplated to cause death.  Go to case.
  10. People v. Pmulamasaka
    This rape is overturned, in large part, because the State committed and the trial judge allowed gross prosecutorial misconduct. Among the list of error committed by the prosecution two stand out. He repeatedly argued the victim was mentally handicapped when there was no such evidence, and he sat in the witness box during closing argument. Go to case.

reckless homicide and aggravated driving under the influence of alcohol

A Mundelein woman has pleaded not guilty to reckless homicide and aggravated driving under the influence of alcohol in a fatal crash last year in Libertyville.

Officials said Amanda Auld was driving a vehicle that crashed on Harris Road in Libertyville on March 7, 2015. A passenger in the vehicle was killed in the crash.

Auld, who was not indicted until this year, was arraigned on the charges Thursday before Judge Christopher Stride.

Strike said, if convicted, Auld faces a mandatory prison sentence of three to 14 years unless a judge determines there are extraordinary circumstances that warrant probation.

KENTUCKY SENATE PASSES GOP BILL ALLOWING DISCRIMINATION AGAINST INTERRACIAL COUPLES

KENTUCKY SENATE PASSES GOP BILL ALLOWING DISCRIMINATION AGAINST INTERRACIAL COUPLES

Despite being legal in the United States since 1967, Kentucky Republicans are trying to turn back the clock on interracial marriage by allowing discrimination against interracial couples.

A bill moving forward in the Kentucky Senate would give private businesses and public institutions the right to discriminate against basically anyone they want to as long as they hide behind their Bibles when they do it.

In other words, interracial couples, Muslims, atheists, and gay people can be denied services by businesses and the government for religious reasons even though federal law explicitly forbids discrimination. While the bill does not expressly mention these groups, it is so broad that it might as well.

According to SB180:

‘Protected activities’ means actions by people commissioned, employed, hired, retained, or otherwise used by the public or the government to provide customized, artistic, expressive, creative, ministerial, or spiritual goods or services, or judgments, attestations, or other commissions that involve protected rights;
‘Protected activity provider’ means a person who provides protected activities; and
‘Protected rights’ means the rights of persons to be free from governmental actions that impair, impede, infringe upon, or otherwise restrict the exercise of any right guaranteed by the United States Constitution or the Constitution of Kentucky, including but not limited to a person’s right of conscience, freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and right to peaceable assembly.

The bill even denies those who are discriminated against the ability to sue in court, which makes it even more clear that Republicans want to turn Kentucky into a theocracy where civil justice and civil rights only belong to conservative “Christians.”

It hasn’t passed yet, but considering the Senate and the House are controlled by Republicans, and Tea Party nitwit Matt Bevin is the Governor, it’s only a matter of time before this bill becomes law and drags Kentucky back to the 1950s.

Police body camera

A sweeping set of new regulations regarding police body cameras is aimed at addressing recent controversies over use of force and standardizing practices across the state.

Police departments would not be required to use the cameras, but now there will be statewide rules for those that do. Chiefly, officers will have to keep their cameras on when conducting law enforcement activities but could turn them off when talking to a confidential informant, or at the request of a victim or witness. Intentionally turning off cameras outside the exceptions could result in a charge of official misconduct.

Recordings generally will not be subject to the state’s open records law, however, unless they contain potential evidence in a use-of-force incident, the discharge of a weapon or a death.

To help pay for the body cameras, the state will charge an extra $5 fee on criminal and traffic offenses that result in a guilty plea or conviction. The money also will bolster an expanded training program that includes topics like use of force. In addition, the law bans the use of choke holds, creates a database of officers who have been fired or resigned because of misconduct and requires an independent investigation of all officer-involved deaths. Also, a special prosecutor can be requested if there is an apparent conflict of interest.

Since 1988, firm founder and criminal defense lawyer Louis M. Pissios

Since 1988, firm founder and criminal defense lawyer Louis M. Pissios has been a dynamic and leading advocate for the preservation and protection of constitutional rights—before, during, and following an arrest—as well as the defense of formal criminal charges.

The pursuit of a successful defense strategy, coupled with one-on-one client interaction, has been the hallmark of our practice throughout the past forty years. Our firm is the choice for people seeking cutting edge criminal defense representation that is both personalized and high quality. Guided by the philosophy that the situation of every person facing criminal charges is unique, we tailor our defense strategies to the facts and circumstances of each case, as they apply to the law, in order to attain the best possible results for our clients. A creative and intensive approach to criminal charges can make a big difference in your case’s results, as does the lawyer you choose to represent you.

He would be more than happy to discuss your situation at a meeting in our offices, advise you of the costs involved, and provide you with valuable and practical advice on how best to address the accusations. From DUI charges or violent offenses to crimes related to theft or traffic, or even expunging your criminal record, there is no case too large or too small. In your free consultation, you will learn that our attorneys are not judgmental; instead, we have the utmost respect for your privacy and dignity. All contacts and conversations are strictly confidential, and we accept phone calls 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

We care about our clients and understand the anguish and stress that a person charged with a crime experiences. Being charged with a crime is a nightmare, not just for the individual charged, but for his or her family as well. We will guide you through the legal process, answer your questions, and provide you with the highest quality representation. We welcome you to compare our reputation, experience, and results with that of any criminal defense lawyer. Our professionalism and skill help us to obtain the best results and satisfaction for our clients.

We provide representation to individuals facing criminal charges in Lake County, and McHenry County. Please call us at (847) 263-0001 or email him directly at [email protected] Our lawyers will answer your questions and take time to ensure that you feel comfortable in fully understanding your rights, your options, and the consequences of your decisions.

Personal Injury

With nearly 30 years experience practicing personal injury law in lake county, we are well aware that in a single moment a serious injury can change your life forever, you can lose your health, your work, your happiness, leaving huge medical bills, lost income, and the devastating emotional distress that often follows in the wake of such tragedies. Recovering from your loss also includes hiring a competent attorney to take care of the financial and legal side of your loss. Our personal injury lawyers will help you fully recover from your loss. This includes fighting for you to recover the maximum amount of money damages available under law and holding those who are at fault accountable.

Implied Consent

Implied Consent

Illinois law requires you to take a breath, blood, or urine test if you are arrested for a DUI. Illinois’s “implied consent” law says that if you are lawfully arrested by an officer who has probable cause to believe that you have been driving under the influence, then you consent to taking a chemical test of your blood, breath, or urine for the purpose of determining your blood alcohol content (BAC).  You do not have the right to speak to an attorney before you are tested, and the test must be given as soon as possible from the time when you were last driving. Although the arresting officer gets to choose which test you take, you have the option to get additional tests afterward taken by a medical professional of your choice.

You could be arrested for a DUI even if you were not driving. If you have actual, physical control of the vehicle while under the influence, then that can be enough for an officer to arrest you. Whether you have actual, physical control of a vehicle depends on where you are sitting, if you have the key, and if you have the ability to start and move the vehicle. In one case, an Illinois court decided that a person had actual, physical control of his car even though he had not driven it to the place where a police officer found him asleep. This person was lying across the front seat of his car with his head on the passenger side. He had the motor running to keep the heater on. Although this person did not intend to move the car, the combination of his position in it, the running motor, and evidence of his intoxication was enough for the court to uphold his DUI conviction. (This case is City of Naperville v. Watson, 677 NE 2d 955(1997).)

Additionally, Illinois law says that you consent to taking a preliminary breath test, even if you have not been arrested. This works like a field sobriety test. The officer will use the results to establish probable cause that you were driving under the influence. You do not have to take this preliminary test. Refusing it, however, probably won’t work in your favor if the officer has some other reason to think you had been drinking. Based on that other reason, the officer could still arrest you and then you will be required to take a test under the law described above.

You can read Illinois’s implied consent law in Illinois Statute 625-5/11-501.1.

Lake County jail inmate dies: sheriff’s office

Lake County jail inmate dies: sheriff’s office

A 36-year-old inmate was found unresponsive in his Lake County jail medical unit cell Friday and was later pronounced dead at a local hospital, the Lake County Sheriff’s Office announced.

Lake County Sheriff Mark Curran and Undersheriff Ray Rose said a recently instituted new protocol regarding any jail deaths requires the Lake County Major Crime Task Force to conduct an independent investigation. The county has had four inmate deaths over the past five years, including one where a woman jailed for missing jury duty went on a hunger strike and died. The latest death brings the number to five.

An autopsy Friday afternoon by the Lake County Coroner’s Office revealed the preliminary cause of death appears to be natural causes, pending final toxicology results, according to a statement. There were no signs of internal or external trauma to the inmate’s body, the release said. The inmate’s name was not released.

The man was brought into custody on Feb. 29 after being arrested on an arrest warrant for failing to appear in court on charges of possession of a controlled substance. While in custody he told jail officials he was feeling ill from drug withdrawal. He was placed under the care of the jail medical unit, the statement said.

On Friday morning he was found unresponsive in his cell inside the medical unit. Staff began administering aid and an ambulance was summoned. He was transported to Vista Medical Center East, Waukegan, where he was pronounced dead.

The protocol of calling in the Major Crime Task Force was designed to initiate an immediate thorough independent investigation of the facts surrounding the death and produce increased transparency, the statement said.

The Lake County jail has been rocked by inmates deaths over the years that also prompted lawsuits.

In 2014 inmate Igor Karlukov, 36, of Palatine and a Ukraine national, was found hanging inside his jail cell after he used shredded pieces of a mesh laundry bag and a piece of copper wire from a set of ear buds to hang himself from a vent, despite the fact he was on special watch.

He had been told by a judge that he could face life in jail for charges related to a home invasion and domestic battery against his girlfriend.

Two of the jail’s inmates died in 2012.

Lyvita Gomes, 52, a native of Mumbai, India, who was living in Vernon Hills, launched a 15-day hunger strike to protest her incarceration for failing to appear for jury duty, then died of malnutrition and dehydration less than a week later.

Eugene Gruber, 51, of Grayslake, suffered paralyzing neck injuries while struggling with officers in the jail, then died months later after being transferred to a Chicago rehabilitation center.

The county agreed to settle a nearly $2 million federal lawsuit filed by Gruber’s family. The Cook County Medical Examiners Office in Chicago ruled Gruber’s death a “homicide,” but an investigation by the Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office found no wrong doing on the guards’ part.

The Gomes family also filed suit.

In 2011, there was a jail death when Thomas Arvie, 50, of Waukegan, apparently suffered a stroke in his cell. He died Sept. 22, 2011.

In 2008, Curran spent a week as an inmate that garnered national attention.