Monday, August 20, 2018

THE POLICE FORCED ME TO TALK: THE ISSUE OF VOLUNTARY CONFESSIONS IN ILLINOIS

Being taken into police custody is a stressful event--especially when you are suspected of a crime. And the police don’t exactly want to make it comfortable. But when does police pressure cross the line so that the statements you made are no longer voluntary?

The test for voluntariness depends on whether you decided to talk freely without compulsion or inducement or whether your will was overborne at the relevant time. A court will consider all the circumstances surrounding your statements, including your age, intelligence, education, experience, and physical condition, the length of the interrogation, whether you received Miranda warnings, the presence of any physical or mental abuse and the legality and length of your being held in police custody.

In People v Mandoline, the court applied the above factors to determine that a defendant’s statement had been voluntary. The defendant was 23 years old, a high school graduate with some college education who had little experience with law enforcement. While the defendant had had a headache and had drank a considerable amount of beer, he appeared alert and did not seem intoxicated. The three-hour long interrogation was relatively brief as prior Illinois law had held that a 25-hour interrogation did not automatically render a defendant’s statement inadmissible. While the defendant was detained two hours after he requested an attorney, the court reasoned that the police did eventually honor defendant’s right to counsel. Defendant had been given Miranda warnings, and the defendant had not been physically abused in that he had been allowed to use the restroom and take smoking breaks.

If you have been charged with a crime, contact an experienced criminal law attorney immediately. An attorney can review your case for its best possible defense. Were you improperly pressured into making a confession? Did you have the mental capacity to understand what was happening? An attorney may petition the court to suppress any incriminating statements you may have made. Even if the police acted properly and the evidence against you is overwhelming, an attorney who is respected in the court house may be able to negotiate a more favorable plea agreement than you could on your own.

If you have questions about this or another related Illinois criminal or traffic matter, please contact Matt Keenan at 847-568-0160 or email matt@mattkeenanlaw.com.

(Besides Skokie, Matt Keenan also serves the communities of Arlington Heights, Chicago, Deerfield, Des Plaines, Evanston, Glenview, Morton Grove, Mount Prospect, Niles, Northbrook, Park Ridge, Rolling Meadows, Wilmette and Winnetka.)

Monday, August 13, 2018

WHAT IS HARRASSMENT UNDER ILLINOIS DOMESTIC VIOLENCE LAW?

You’ve just received notice that your significant other or spouse has filed for an order of protection against you. The petitioner claims you have harassed him or her.

What exactly does that mean? What can you do to defend yourself?

Under the Illinois Domestic Violence Act, "harassment" is defined as “knowing conduct which is not necessary to accomplish a purpose that is reasonable under the circumstances; would cause a reasonable person emotional distress; and does cause emotional distress to the petitioner.”

Under the statute, the following conduct is presumed to cause emotional distress:

(i) creating a disturbance at petitioner's place of employment or school;

(ii) repeatedly telephoning petitioner's place of employment or residence;

(iii) repeatedly following petitioner about in public;

(iv) repeatedly keeping petitioner under surveillance by remaining present outside his or her home, school, place of employment, vehicle or other place occupied by petitioner or by peering in petitioner's windows;

(v) improperly concealing or removing petitioner’s minor child from petitioner’s care or the jurisdiction or repeatedly threatening to do so unless you were fleeing the threat of domestic violence;

(vi) threatening physical force, confinement or restraint.

If you are served with notice of an order of protection, contact an experienced criminal law attorney immediately. An attorney can review your case for its best possible defense. Perhaps there were legitimate reasons for your repeated contact with the other party. For example, you might have driven by their home because it was directly on your way to work. If you have been falsely accused, you might convince a judge that there are issues with the credibility of the person accusing you.

If you have questions about this or another related Illinois criminal or traffic matter, please contact Matt Keenan at 847-568-0160 or email matt@mattkeenanlaw.com.

See our related blog posts here and here.

(Besides Skokie, Matt Keenan also serves the communities of Arlington Heights, Chicago, Deerfield, Des Plaines, Evanston, Glenview, Morton Grove, Mount Prospect, Niles, Northbrook, Park Ridge, Rolling Meadows, Wilmette and Winnetka.)