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Five Facts About Wrongful Convictions in 2018Illinois by far led the nation for having the most defendants who were exonerated of their crimes in 2018, according to the National Registry of Exonerations. Of the 151 exonerations in 2018, 49 of them occurred in Illinois. The next closest states were New York and Texas, each with 16 exonerations. Thirty-one of the Illinois exonerations stemmed from a Chicago Police Department scandal in which officers framed defendants on drug and weapons charges. However, the 18 remaining exonerations would have still lead the nation. Wrongful convictions continue to plague the U.S. justice system, destroying lives in the process. The National Registry of Exonerations’ 2018 report shares several facts about wrongful convictions in the U.S.:

  1. Exonerees Spent an Average of 10.9 Years in Prison: The 151 exonerated defendants in 2018 lost a combined 1,639 years of their lives due to wrongful convictions, which was a record according to the report. Two defendants spent about 45 years in prison.
  2. Two-Thirds of the Exonerations Were for Violent Crimes: Of the 101 exonerations for violent crimes, 68 were for homicide or manslaughter charges. Sexual assault charges accounted for 17 more exonerations. The remaining violent crimes were for charges such as robbery, burglary, assault, attempted murder, arson, and kidnapping.
  3. Most of the Exonerations for Non-Violent Crimes Were for Drug Charges: There were 33 exonerations for drug crimes, such as possession or sale. Many of those drug crime exonerations came from the Chicago Police Department scandal. Other non-violent crime exonerations included gun possession, fraud, and sex offender registration.
  4. A Majority of the Wrongful Convictions Were Due to Official Misconduct: The report attributed 107 of the exonerations to police misconduct, which includes concealing evidence, threatening witnesses, and producing false forensic tests. Mistaken witness identification and false confessions were the other causes of wrongful convictions.
  5. Seventy of the Exonerations Determined No Crime Occurred: You can be exonerated for one crime while still being guilty of another charge. In 2018, 70 of the defendants who were exonerated had not committed any crime, including one defendant who had been sentenced to death.

Contact a DuPage County Criminal Defense Attorney

There are organizations that dedicate themselves to exonerating defendants for wrongful convictions. However, those organizations focus on high-profile cases, which is why homicide cases were the most common in the exonerations. A Wheaton, Illinois, criminal defense attorney at Stephen A. Brundage, Attorney at Law, is your best resource if you believe you have been wrongfully convicted. We can examine the evidence in your case to determine whether there might be cause to overturn your conviction. Schedule a consultation by calling 630-260-9647.

Source:

http://www.law.umich.edu/special/exoneration/Documents/Exonerations%20in%202018.pdf

Posted in Assualt & Battery, Criminal Law, Drug Crimes, DuPage County criminal defense attorney, Illinois criminal defense lawyer, Not Guilty, Wrongful Conviction | Tagged , , , ,

Rescinding a Summary Suspension After DUI ArrestBefore your case even goes to trial, Illinois can suspend your driver’s license after you are arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence. A statutory summary suspension is a civil action that the Illinois Secretary of State’s office will use if a DUI suspect failed a blood alcohol concentration test or refused to take the test. You may be able to rescind your suspension if you can prove that:

  • The officer did not properly place you under arrest;
  • The officer failed to warn you about the consequences of refusing the test;
  • The officer had no reason to believe that you were driving under the influence;
  • You did not refuse the test; or
  • The test results were not over the legal limit or were inaccurate.

Your suspension may be automatically rescinded if the state does not allow a hearing on your petition to rescind in a timely fashion. An Illinois appellate court recently granted a defendant’s petition to rescind for that reason.

Recent Case

In People v. Patel, the defendant has been charged with two counts of DUI and was scheduled to make his first appearance in court on Sept. 14, 2017. The defendant filed a petition to rescind his summary suspension on Aug. 14, 2017, along with a discovery request for:

  • The booking room video from his arrest; and
  • The records of the Breathalyzer accuracy test.

At the Sept. 14 hearing, the prosecution had not yet provided the defense with the requested evidence. The court gave the prosecution an additional week to produce the evidence. During a Sept. 21 hearing, the defendant said that his summary suspension should be immediately rescinded because he had not received a timely hearing as required by state law. The court denied his request and ordered that the hearing on his petition should continue as planned.

Reversal

An Illinois appellate court overturned the lower court’s ruling and rescinded the defendant’s summary suspension. When a defendant petitions to rescind a suspension, he or she must receive a hearing on the petition within 30 days or at the first scheduled court hearing, unless the defendant is responsible for the delay. In this case, the appellate court found that the state was responsible for delaying the hearing because it had waited until Sept. 8 to start the process of retrieving the defendant’s requested evidence. The prosecution had offered to commence with the hearing on Sept. 14, but the defense needed the evidence in order to present his case. By the time that the defense received the evidence on Sept. 21, 38 days had passed since the initial petition had been filed.

Contact a Wheaton Criminal Defense Attorney

Rescinding your summary suspension can allow you to continue driving while you await your DUI trial. A DuPage County criminal defense attorney at Stephen A. Brundage, Attorney at Law, knows how to find evidence when filing a petition to rescind your suspension. To schedule a consultation, call 630-260-9647.

Source:

http://www.illinoiscourts.gov/Opinions/AppellateCourt/2019/2ndDistrict/2170766.pdf

Posted in Criminal Law, Driver's License Suspension and Revocation, DUI, DuPage County criminal defense attorney, Illinois criminal defense lawyer, Summary Suspension | Tagged , , ,

Defense Strategies for a Retail Theft ChargeA shoplifting charge has serious consequences for what may seem like a basic crime. In Illinois, a first-time conviction for retail theft is a class A misdemeanor if the items are valued at $300 or less. There is a maximum prison sentence of one year, but offenders can qualify for court supervision instead. A second retail theft conviction is a class 4 felony and punishable by 1 to 3 years in prison. If the items in a first offense are valued at more than $300, it is a class 3 felony and punishable by 2 to 5 years in prison. The store owner may also file a lawsuit against a shoplifter, seeking civil damages. It is important to contest a retail theft charge instead of accepting your punishment.

Forms of Retail Theft

The typical image of a shoplifter is someone who conceals an item and tries to leave the store with it. However, Illinois includes several other methods of stealing in its definition of retail theft, such as:

  • Removing or altering a price tag in order to purchase an item at a lower price;
  • Placing an item in a container for discounted items, with the intention of deceiving the seller about its price;
  • Lying about being the lawful owner of an item; and
  • Using or possessing a device meant to remove a security sensor or shield the sensor from setting off an alarm.

You can aggravate your retail theft charge if you use an emergency exit when attempting to flee with the item. A first offense for items $300 or less will be a class 4 felony.

Defense Tactics

For you to be guilty of retail theft, the prosecution must prove that you intended to steal an item or cheat the store out of fair value for the item. Some alleged retail theft incidents are actually innocent mistakes. You can argue that:

  • You forgot that you had the item when you walked out of the store;
  • The store mislabeled the item that you purchased; or
  • The cashier forgot to ring up an item.

If you are convicted of retail theft, your circumstances can help reduce your penalties. A court is unlikely to send you to prison for stealing something cheap. It may also show you leniency if you say that you behaved impulsively and regret your actions.

Contact a DuPage County Criminal Defense Attorney

A shoplifting charge or conviction should not ruin your life. A Wheaton, Illinois, criminal defense attorney at Stephen A. Brundage, Attorney at Law, will protect you from unfounded charges and overly harsh punishment. Schedule a consultation by calling 630-260-9647.

Source:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=072000050K16-25

Posted in Criminal Law, DuPage County criminal defense attorney, Illinois criminal defense lawyer, Retail Theft | Tagged , , ,