Articles Tagged with criminal law

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Chicago Crimlaw-education-series-3-1467430inal Defense Lawyer Michael Rosenblat wins fourth not guilty verdict in a row.

Mr. Rosenblat’s most recent not guilty came on May 13, 2016 when the judge found the defendant not guilty of domestic battery.  The alleged victim claimed that the defendant pushed a heavy object into her knocking her to the ground.  In order to prove its case, the Cook County Assistant State’s Attorney called two witnesses to testify, the alleged victim and a Chicago Police Officer. Mr. Rosenblat’s cross-examination of the complaining witnesses exposed the fact that she could not see who caused the object to be pushed into her.  The cross-examination also uncovered many inconsistencies in her testimony that defied common sense.  The defendant was found not guilty without the defense calling a single witness.

On March 30, 2016, Mr. Rosenblat’s client was found not guilty of aggravated robbery, a charge that carried a maximum sentence of up 30 years in prison.    The complaining witness added facts in his testimony, which he never told to the police even though he was interviewed multiple times.  Mr. Rosenblat’s cross-examination of the victim’s prior inconsistent statements showed that he was not credible. Mr. Rosenblat called several witnesses in the defense case in chief, including the defendant.  Defendant was found not guilty of all charges.

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dog Supreme Court of Illinois holds that use of a drug-detection dog violated Fourth Amendment in People v. Burns.

On January 10, 1013 at 3:20 am, the police along with a drug-detection dog went into defendant’s apartment building.  This officer and his dog got into the building when a tenant let in a fellow officer, who was undercover.  The drug dog alerted to defendant’s apartment door and a search warrant was obtained.  The apartment was searched, drugs were found, and defendant was charged.

The Illinois Supreme Court first looked at the United States Supreme Court case of Florida v. Jardines, in which the police took a drug dog to the front porch of the defendant’s home and sniffed the door.  The Supreme Court of the United States found that this was a search for Fourth Amendment purposes. The US Supreme Court went on to state that the areas surrounding and associated with the home are considered part of the home.

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In United States v. Spears, (March 8, 2012) the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals found that even though there were misrepresentation in the affidavit presented to the magistrate judge, by the police, there was still sufficient evidence to support a finding of probable cause.

On August 1, 2008 an Indiana police officer acting as a federal agent submitted an affidavit in support of a search warrant for the home of Defendant Spears.  The affidavit stated that a confidential informant had been in the basement of Defendant’s home and had observed multiple rooms with marijuana plants, a water system, growing lights, fertilizer, and PVC piping from the basement to outside the house.

The affidavit also stated that on July 31, 2008 officers conducted a trash pull and found a marijuana stem in the trash.  The affidavit further stated that the electric company reported higher than normal electrical usage for Defendant’s home compared to similar homes.  The magistrate judge granted the search warrant and the warrant was executed on August 6, 2008.

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Two recent appellate court cases both discussed the constructive possession of a weapon and both reached different conclusions.

In People v. Spencer, 2012 IL App (1st) 102094 (Feb 2, 2012), the defendant was convicted of unlawful use of a weapon in that defendant unlawfully possessed a handgun.

The police executed a search warrant of defendant and of a home. When the police entered the home they claimed to have seen the defendant run toward the back of the house and he was arrested in the backyard. Upon searching the house the police found some ammunition, cash, and cannabis and several items that indicated that defendant was living in the home. After being read his Miranda rights defendant made a statement that “if you had my kind of money, you’d have a gun, too.” The police then searched the kitchen and found a revolver on top of a kitchen cabinet.

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In People v. Contreras, 2011 Il App (2d) 100930, the appellate court held that the defendant’s arrest by Chicago Police Officers in Will County for a crime that occurred in DuPage County was improper as the police officers lacked authority to execute an extrajudicial arrest of defendant.

Citing a number of statutes, the court basically found that a police district includes any municipality adjoining the arresting agencies police district. 65 ILCS 5/7-4-8. It also cited the statue that allows any person, a police officer, or private citizen, to make an arrest for an offense other than a municipal ordinance violation. 725 ILCS 5/107-3. Illinois courts have, however, held that when police obtain information by use of their police powers, such as radar guns, that information does not provide them with the authority to make an arrest. In other words, the police cannot use information they obtained because they are police officers to make “citizens arrests” outside of their jurisdiction.

The court then looked to two other sections which could possibly give the police authority to arrest. Sections 107-4(a-3)(1) and (2). Section (1) allows the police to make an arrest if the investigation is for an offense that occurred in the officer’s primary jurisdiction. This of course was not applicable here, became the Chicago police officers were not investigating an offense that occurred in Chicago. Section (2) allows the police to make an arrest if they become “personally aware” of the commission of a felony or misdemeanor. Here the court found that the officers were not personally aware that the defendant committed an offense but only learned that defendant maybe involved in criminal activity because of their use of police radios.