An Unprecedented Threat to Privacy A private company has captured 2.2 billion photos of license plates in cities throughout America. It stores them in a database, tagged with the location where they were taken. And it is selling that data.

Throughout the United States—outside private houses, apartment complexes, shopping centers, and businesses with large employee parking lots—a private corporation, Vigilant Solutions, is taking photos of cars and trucks with its vast network of unobtrusive cameras. It retains location data on each of those pictures, and sells it.

It’s happening right now in nearly every major American city.

The company has taken roughly 2.2 billion license-plate photos to date. Each month, it captures and permanently stores about 80 million additional geotagged images. They may well have photographed your license plate. As a result, your whereabouts at given moments in the past are permanently stored. Vigilant Solutions profits by selling access to this data (and tries to safeguard it against hackers). Your diminished privacy is their product. And the police are their customers.

The company counts 3,000 law-enforcement agencies among its clients. Thirty thousand police officers have access to its database. Do your local cops participate?

If you’re not sure, that’s typical.

To install a GPS tracking device on your car, your local police department must present a judge with a rationale that meets a Fourth Amendment test and obtain a warrant. But if it wants to query a database to see years of data on where your car was photographed at specific times, it doesn’t need a warrant––just a willingness to send some of your tax dollars to Vigilant Solutions, which insists that license plate readers are “unlike GPS devices, RFID, or other technologies that may be used to track.” Its website states that “LPR is not ubiquitous, and only captures point in time information. And the point in time information is on a vehicle not an individual.

But thanks to Vigilant, its competitors, and license-plate readers used by police departments themselves, the technology is becoming increasingly ubiquitous over time. And Supreme Court jurisprudence on GPS tracking suggests that repeatedly collecting data “at a moment in time” until you’ve built a police database of 2.2 billion such moments is akin to building a mosaic of information so complete and intrusive that it may violate the Constitutional rights of those subject to it.

The company dismisses the notion that advancing technology changes the privacy calculus in kind, not just degree. An executivetold The Washington Post that its approach “basically replaces an old analog function—your eyeballs,” adding, “It’s the same thing as a guy holding his head out the window, looking down the block, and writing license-plate numbers down and comparing them against a list. The technology just makes things better and more productive.” By this logic, Big Brother’s network of cameras and listening devices in 1984 was merely replacing the old analog technologies of eyes and ears in a more efficient manner, and was really no different from sending around a team of alert humans.

The vast scale of Vigilant’s operations is detailed in documents obtained through public-records laws by the New York Civil Liberties Union. “Last year, welearned that the NYPD was hoping to enter into a multi-year contract that would give it access to the nationwide database of license plate reader data,” the civil-liberties group announced Monday in a blog post linking to the document. “Now, through a Freedom of Information Law request, the NYCLU has obtained thefinal version of the $442,500 contract and the scope-of-work proposal that gives a peek into the ever-widening world of surveillance made possible by Vigilant.”

The NYPD has its own license plate tracking program. It nevertheless wanted access to the Vigilant Solutions database as well, “which means,” the NYCLU notes, “the NYPD can now monitor your car whether you live in New York or Miami or Chicago or Los Angeles.” The NYPD has a long history of spying on Muslim Americans far outside its jurisdiction. And both license-plate readers and the information derived from them have already been misused in other jurisdictions.

More abuses seem inevitable as additional communities adopt the technology (some with an attitude expressed with admirable frankness by an official in a small Florida city: “We want to make it impossible for you to enter Riviera Beach without being detected.”)

Washington is accelerating the spread of the technology.

“During the past five years, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has distributed more than $50 million in federal grants to law-enforcement agencies—ranging from sprawling Los Angeles to little Crisp County, Georgia, population 23,000—for automated license-plate recognition systems,” the Wall Street Journal reports. As one critic, California state Senator Joe Simitian, asked: “Should a cop who thinks you’re cute have access to your daily movements for the past 10 years without your knowledge or consent? I think the answer to that question should be ‘no.’”

The technology forms part of a larger policing trend toward infringing on the privacy of ordinary citizens. ​“The rise of license-plate tracking is a case study in how storing and studying people’s everyday activities, even the seemingly mundane, has become the default rather than the exception,” The Wall Street Journal explains. “Cellphone-location data, online searches, credit-card purchases, social-network comments and more are gathered, mixed-and-matched, and stored. Data about a typical American is collected in more than 20 different ways during everyday activities, according to a Wall Street Journalanalysis. Fifteen years ago, more than half of these surveillance tools were unavailable or not in widespread use.”

Nor are police the only ones buying this data.

Vigilant Solutions is a subsidiary of a company called Digital Recognition Network.

Its website declares:

All roads lead to revenue with DRN’s license plate recognition technology. Fortune 1000 financial institutions rely on DRN solutions to drive decisions about loan origination, servicing, and collections. Insurance providers turn DRN’s solutions and data into insights to mitigate risk and investigate fraud. And, our vehicle location data transforms automotive recovery processes, substantially increasing portfolio returns.

And its general counsel insists that “everyone has a First Amendment right to take these photographs and disseminate this information.” But as the ACLU points out:

A 2011 report by the International Association of Chiefs of Policenoted that individuals may become “more cautious in the exercise of their protected rights of expression, protest, association, and political participation” due to license plate readers. It continues: “Recording driving habits could implicate First Amendment concerns. Specifically, LPR systems have the ability to record vehicles’ attendance at locations or events that, although lawful and public, may be considered private. For example, mobile LPR units could read and collect the license plate numbers of vehicles parked at addiction counseling meetings, doctors’ offices, health clinics, or even staging areas for political protests.”

Many powerful interests are aligned in wanting to know where the cars of individuals are parked. Unable to legally install tracking devices themselves, they pay for the next best alternative—and it’s gradually becoming a functional equivalent. More laws might be passed to stymie this trend if more Americans knew that private corporations and police agencies conspire to keep records of their whereabouts.

ILLINOIS LICENSE REINSTATEMENT – BAIID REQUIREMENTS

LICENSE REINSTATEMENT – BAIID REQUIREMENTS
Public Act 099-0296 Effective Date January 1, 2016

625 ILCS 5/6-205
625 ILCS 5/6-208 from Ch. 95 1/2, par. 6-208
625 ILCS 5/11-501.01

Amends the Illinois Vehicle Code. Provides that the Secretary of State shall require the use of ignition interlock devices for a period not less than 5 years on all vehicles owned by a person who has been convicted of a second or subsequent offense of driving under the influence of alcohol, other drugs, intoxicating compounds, or any combination. Provides that a person convicted of a second or subsequent violation of driving under the influence of alcohol, other drugs, intoxicating compounds, or any combination, or where the use of alcohol or other drugs is recited as an element of an offense, may not make application for a driver’s license until he or she has first been issued a restricted driving permit by the Secretary, and the expiration of a continuous period of not less than 5 years following the issuance of the restricted driving permit without suspension, cancellation, or revocation of the permit, or violation of a regulation requiring use of an ignition interlock device.

Forty Ways to Beat a DUI in Illinois

  1. ILLEGAL STOP OF PERSON OR VEHICLE – a driver cannot be stopped unless the officer has a reasonable and articulate basis to believe that a traffic law or other law has been violated. Similarly, a person cannot be seized unless a violation has occurred.
  2. WEAVING INSIDE THE LANES IS NOT ILLEGAL – weaving without crossing any lines is not a violation of the law, and a vehicle cannot be stopped for that reason.
  3. ANONYMOUS REPORT OF DRUNK DRIVING — a car cannot be stopped simply because an anonymous citizen reported that the driver was drunk.
  4. STANDARD FIELD SOBRIETY TESTING IS INACCURATE – in healthy individuals, the one-leg stand test is only 65% accurate, and the walk-and-turn test is only 68% accurate in determining if a person is under the influence. Those persons with injuries, medical conditions, 50 pounds or greater overweight, and 65 years or older cannot be validly judged by these tests.
  5. NON-STANDARDIZED FIELD TESTS ARE INVALID –neither the Federal Government (NHTSA) nor medical science considers touching your finger to your nose, or saying the alphabet, or counting backwards, as valid sobriety tests.
  6. BREATH TESTING IS INACCURATE – virtually all experts concede that one breath test alone is unreliable. The Illinois Supreme Court has remarked that breathalyzers are not foolproof. Finally, breath testing in Illinois is subject to various inaccuracies, including a +/- 12.5% variance, non-specificity for ethanol, etc.
  7. BOOKING ROOM VIDEOS – Many police stations videotape suspects at the police station, where their speech is clear and their balance is perfect, in spite of police testimony to the contrary.
  8. IN-SQUAD VIDEOS – more and more often, the suspect’s driving and performance on field tests is being recorded; often contradicting police testimony.
  9. FAILURE TO PROVIDE SPEEDY TRIAL – If a client is not provided with a trial within 120 to 160 days of demand, through delays of the court or prosecutor, the charges must be dismissed.
  10. POLICE BLOOD TEST INACCURATE – Many times, police blood testing fails to follow prescribed rules of testing, analysis, or preservation recommendations.
  11. HOSPITAL BLOOD TEST INACCURATE – Hospital blood tests overestimate a person’s true level by as much as 25% in healthy, uninjured individuals, and are not statistically reliable in severely injured persons.
  12. BREATH TEST OPERATOR UNLICENSED – An Illinois Breath Test Operator must possess a valid, unexpired operator’s license, or the breath test result is inadmissible.
  13. BREATHALYZER MACHINE MALFUNCTIONS – if there is a malfunction or repair of the breath test instrument within 62 days before or after a suspect’s breath test, the results of the suspect’s test are presumed invalid.
  14. BREATH TEST OPERATOR LICENSE EXPIRED — An Illinois Breath Test Operator must possess an unexpired operator’s license, or the breath test result is inadmissible. Licenses expire automatically every 3 years.
  15. BREATH TEST DEVICE NOT APPROVED – A breath testing instrument must be listed on the Federal List of Approved Breath Evidential Instruments and the ISP approved list of Devices, or the results are inadmissible.
  16. FAILURE TO PROVE DRIVING – a defendant’s admission to driving, without more, does not prove a charge of driving under the influence.
  17. INDEPENDENT WITNESSES – often times, independent witnesses to accidents, bartenders, hospital personnel and others can provide crucial evidence of the defendant’s sobriety.
  18. FAILURE TO MIRANDIZE – prosecutors may not use as evidence the statements of a defendant in custody for a DUI when the police have failed to properly issue Miranda Warnings.
  19. FIELD SOBRIETY TEST IMPROPERLY ADMINISTERED – according to the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration, improperly administered field tests are not valid evidence of intoxication.
  20. OFFICER’S PRIOR DISCIPLINARY RECORD – a police officer’s previous disciplinary record can be used to attack the officer’s credibility.
  21. PORTABLE BREATH TEST INADMISSIBLE – Illinois law prohibits the use of portable breath testing results as evidence at trial in a DUI case.
  22. PORTABLE BREATH TEST IMPROPERLY ADMINISTERED – The manufacturers of portable breath testing devices require a minimum of two tests to consider the results evidential in nature.
  23. FAILURE TO CONDUCT OBSERVATION PERIOD –Illinois requires that a driver be observed continuously for a minimum twenty minutes prior to a breath test in order for the results to be considered admissible and valid.
  24. EXPERT WITNESSES – Expert witnesses are available to review the validity of breath tests, blood tests and field sobriety tests.
  25. MEDICAL AND HEALTH PROBLEMS — Medical problems with legs, arms, neck, back and eyes can affect the results of field sobriety tests. Further, other medical conditions can also affect the validity of breath test results.
  26. BAD WEATHER – Weather reports establishing high winds, low visibility, and other conditions are available to explain poor driving or poor balance.
  27. LACK OF PROBABLE CAUSE TO ARREST — A police officer must have specific and articulable facts to support any arrest for DUI, or the suspension will be reversed and the evidence suppressed at trial.
  28. ILLEGAL SEARCH – the police are prohibited from searching a person or the automobile for a minor traffic offense, and may not search a car without a driver’s consent or probable cause. Any evidence illegally obtained is not admissible in court.
  29. PRIOR INCONSISTENT STATEMENTS BY POLICE OFFICERS – any statement made by a police officer, verbally, in police reports, or at previous court proceedings may be used to attack that officer’s credibility.
  30. POST-DRIVING ABSORPTION OF ALCOHOL – the prosecutor must prove the blood or breath alcohol at the time of driving. Recent consumption of alcohol just prior to driving will cause the test results to be higher than what the true level was when the person was operating the automobile.
  31. INTERFERING SUBSTANCES – many items contain forms of alcohol which may cause false results, such as asthma spray, cough drops, paints, fingernail polish. These items can cause the breath results to be invalid.
  32. BREATH MACHINE NOT PROPERLY OPERATED – the manufacturers of breath testing devices have specified protocols which must be followed for a breath result to be valid. Failure to follow these requirements will result in improper readings.
  33. FAILURES TO PRODUCE DISPATCH TAPES – most stops of vehicles are recorded on dispatch tapes, as well as recording police communications regarding an arrest of an individual. Failure to preserve such tapes upon request can cause all evidence which could have been recorded to be suppressed.
  34. MISLEADING STATEMENTS BY POLICE OFFICERS –Any misleading statement by the police regarding the consequences of taking (or refusing) a blood, breath, or urine test will cause the suspension to be reversed and removed from the driver’s record.
  35. STATUTES OF LIMITATIONS – A misdemeanor charge of DUI must be filed within 18 months of the date of offense, or the charges will be dismissed outright.
  36. PRIVATE PROPERTY – a person who has not driven the car on a public highway cannot be suspended for drunk driving.
  37. FAILURE TO DISCLOSE EXPERTS – the failure of the prosecutor to disclose the state’s expert(s) will cause those witnesses to be barred from testifying against the defendant.
  38. LACTATE RINGERS – when hospital staff use lactate ringers during the treatment of a patient, the hospital blood serum results will report falsely elevated, and therefore invalid, readings.
  39. FAILURE TO RECORD CERTIFICATION TESTS – the failure to include the value of the simulator solution used to test breath machines will cause the breath test results to be inadmissible in court against the driver.
  40. BOOKING ROOM VIDEOS – Many police stations videotape the testing process. These tapes may establish that the testing procedure resulted in inaccurate or inadmissible tests due to burping, radio transmitters, and other improprieties.

LAWSUIT ALLEGING RACISM, HARASSMENT BY GLINIEWICZ TO BE HEARD IN COURT

FOX LAKE, Ill.
A lawsuit against the Fox Lake police lieutenant who took his own life will be heard in court for the first time Tuesday. A 26-year-old man claims he was targeted and harassed by Lt. Joe Gliniewicz because he’s black.

Vernon Randolph lives in North Chicago. But he would visit Fox Lake often to see his daughter, who lives there with her mother.

He said the harassment began about a year before Gliniewicz’s death on Sept. 1, 2015. The lieutenant pulled Randolph over in a Fox Lake subdivision, ordered him out of the car and searched it, demanding to know where Randolph was hiding drugs.

As Randolph recalled in an earlier interview with ABC7 Eyewitness News, Gliniewicz was in plain clothes and he was verbally abusive.

“I let him know I’m not affiliated with drugs or anything of that sort. So he tells me, his exact words were, ‘Make something happen before I make something happen to you,'” Randolph said.

Randolph said the harassment continued. Lawyers said Gliniewicz followed Randolph around, pointing to his eyes as if to say, “I’m watching you.” They said Gliniewicz would stop their client at gas stations in Fox Lake and at the bus stop where Randolph waited for the school bus with his daughter. Randolph would often be seen with two white men, also waiting with their children.

Then on Sept. 1, Gliniewicz radioed in to the department, claiming he was following three suspicious men: one black and two white. When Gliniewicz was found shot to death, the feds came knocking.

Lawyers said authorities obtained a DNA swab from Randolph, who was cleared of any wrongdoing when the medical examiner ruled the officer’s death was a suicide.

Randolph said in a town where black men make up less than one percent of residents, he felt he had a target on his back.

Randolph’s attorneys said he is hospitalized for anxiety, after the harassment and intimidation he suffered at the hands of Fox Lake police officers. The lawsuit names Gliniewicz and the village of Fox Lake.

Civil Litigation

Civil Litigation

Sometimes no matter how much preparation or execution is invested in into a contractual matter, someone falls short of their obligations. Whether due to negligence, shortage of funds, misunderstandings, or any other reason, litigation is often the proper mechanism to protect and enforce your rights. When considering litigation, you must take into account not only the cost of litigation, but also the probability of success on the merits as well as the likelihood of recovering your judgment.

Due to the complexity of litigation, and the changing laws and procedures, to provide our clients with the best legal representation possible, we focus our litigation to the subspecialties of law listed on our website.  These matters traditionally pertain to business and real estate issues, including, but not limited to:

  • Mortgage Enforcement and Defense
  • Mechanic Lien Enforcement and Defense
  • Short Sales, Modifications, REO Sales Representation
  • Eviction Enforcement and Defense
  • Lease Disputes and Agreements
  • Residential and Commercial Closings
  • Association Enforcements and Disputes
  • Condominium Matters Including Collection
  • Title Insurance Issues, Lien Removal
  • Loan Package Preparations and Compliance
  • New Construction and Conversion Issues

While we are fully prepared to litigate your legal matters, we always encourage you to evaluate the practical and economical considerations when deciding whether to initiate a lawsuit, settle your case, or walk away.

 For more information, please call up to schedule a free consultation.

Criminal and Traffic

CRIMINAL & TRAFFIC

Most criminal matters will be governed by the formal charges stated against you. This will not only determine what the prosecutor must prove, but also designate the jurisdiction and local procedural rules, and provide the range of possible sentencing. Sentencing can consist of combination of fees and fines, supervision, conditional discharge, probation, or jail or prison time. When dealing with a criminal issue, you must consider not only the possible outcome of your trial, but also auxiliary matters such as possible immigration problems, suspended drivers license, prior criminal history, violation of previous court orders, expungement possibilities, and even employment and education matters.

Although you have the basic rights such as: to demand a jury trial, to confront witnesses, to have an attorney, and to produce evidence, each case must be carefully analyzed based on the factual occurrence prior to determining whether we will assist our client in plea bargain negotiations, or take the matter to jury or a bench trial. We assist our client with matters involving:

  • Felonies, Misdemeanor DUI, Reckless Driving
  • Driving Without a License
  • Driving on a Suspended License
  • Shoplifting – aka Retail Theft, Drug Charges – aka Possession of Control Substance (PCS)
  • Battery, Assault, Property Crimes, Expungement
  • Drivers License Issues, Secretary of State Hearings
  • Hit & Run, Fraud Charges, Perjury

Criminal law requires immediate action and careful review of the possible consequences. Admissions made by the defendant can be devastating to legal defense. Unless otherwise instructed, do not talk to anyone about your case.

For more information, please call up to schedule a free consultation.