Monday, May 27, 2019

CAN YOU SUPPRESS INCRIMINATING STATEMENTS MADE AT AN ARREST?

When the police came after you, you said some foolish things that you wish you could take back. Is there a way?

The answer may turn on the exact moment you were legally under arrest.

Generally, you are under arrest if a reasonable person in your shoes would feel they were not free to leave. If you could have walked away but didn’t, your statements may be used against you. If a reasonable person would not feel free to leave and no Miranda warnings were given, an attorney may be able to ask the court to suppress your statements.

To determine when you are under arrest, Illinois courts have weighed the following factors: 1) the threatening presence of several officers, 2) some physical touching of your person, 3) the use of language or tone of voice indicating that you may be compelled to comply with the officer’s request, 4) the time, place, length, mood, and mode of the encounter between you and police, 5) any indication of formal arrest or restraint such as the use of handcuffs or display of weapons, 6) the officers’ intent, 7) your subjective belief or understanding, 8) whether you were told you could refuse to accompany police or that you were free to leave, 9) whether you were transported in a police car, 10) whether you were told you were under arrest, and 11) the language officers used.

For example, in People v Gutierrez, the court found that the defendant’s actual arrest occurred in defendant’s home rather than at the police station. Six to ten armed officers had arrived at defendant’s home awakening him at 5 a.m. Officers searched defendant’s bedroom. Defendant was never told he was free to leave. Finally, defendant was handcuffed and transported in a police car, although this was not necessary to ensure the safety of the officers or investigation. Therefore, a reasonable person would not have felt free to leave. Because defendant’s arrest had been illegal, his statements could not be used unless the prosecution could otherwise show that the statements did not stem from the illegal arrest.

If you are charged with a criminal offense, contact an experienced criminal law attorney immediately. An attorney can evaluate your case for its best possible defense. If officers lacked probable cause to arrest you or failed to read your Miranda warnings, an attorney may petition the court to dismiss the evidence against you. Even if officers acted legally and the evidence against you is overwhelming, an attorney who is respected in the courthouse 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.)

Friday, May 10, 2019

CAN YOUR SPOUSE BE FORCED TO TESTIFY AGAINST YOU IN ILLINOIS?

You’ve seen the movie. The leading man’s girl knows too much about the crime. The solution: Get married! Then, she can’t be forced to testify.

But is that how it works in real life? For the most part, the answer is yes. But there are exceptions.

Under 725 ILCS 5/115-16, spouses may testify against each other but not as to any communications made between them during their marriage. For the marital privilege to apply, the communicating spouse must intend to convey a confidential message made in reliance on the confidence of the marital relationship.

The marital privilege does have limits. The communication must be confidential. It is not confidential if the communication is made before a third party. The third party may testify about what you said even if the third party was eavesdropping. Likewise, the third party may testify about written marital communications that he or she got through interception, loss or mistaken delivery.

Spouses may be compelled to testify against each other when they are involved in a joint criminal enterprise. As such, Bonnie could be forced to testify against Clyde. Your spouse may also testify if he or she acted as your agent.

Naturally, the privilege does not apply if you commit an offense against your spouse, their property or a minor child in either spouse’s care.

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. Is your spouse a witness in your case? Under the right circumstances, an attorney may be able to petition the court to exclude their testimony.

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 People v. Gliniewicz.

(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.)