Thursday, July 18, 2019

CAN POLICE SEARCH THE HALLWAY OF YOUR APARTMENT BUILDING?

The Fourth Amendment guarantees citizens the right to be free from unlawful searches. Therefore, an officer cannot enter your home without a warrant unless some exception to the warrant requirement—such as consent—exists.

Court have also recognized that a certain area around your home, known as the curtilage, is protected from police intrusion. Your front porch would be one example but what about the hallway of an unlocked apartment building? An Illinois court says yes.

In People v Bonilla, an officer used a narcotics dog to sniff the hallway outside defendant’s apartment. The court held that the police officer’s actions constituted a search under the fourth amendment even though defendant’s apartment building was unlocked and unsecured. The court reasoned that a person who lived in an unlocked apartment building was not entitled to less protection than a person who lived in a locked apartment building. At the heart of the fourth amendment is a person’s right to retreat into his or her own home and be free from unreasonable governmental intrusion. The fourth amendment does not differentiate as to the type of home involved.

The defendant may have lacked a reasonable expectation of complete privacy in the hallway or an absolute right to exclude all others from it. But this did not mean that police could use sensitive devices or a trained drug-detection dog directly in front of his apartment door.

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 police searching somewhere they had no right to be? Even if the police acted legally 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.

(The Illinois Supreme Court upheld the above decision on appeal in People v. Bonilla).

(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, July 12, 2019

ILLINOIS ACCOMODATION FOR DEAF PRISONERS

For the deaf, imprisonment can be especially isolating and punitive. Inmates may literally have no one to talk to. As a result of a federal class action law suit, Illinois agreed to accommodate prisoners with hearing disabilities.

Among its terms, the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) will begin screen for hearing loss, create a centralized database on inmates with hearing disabilities and provide a specialist to assess an inmate’s need for services. IDOC must keep a ready supply of hearing aid batteries. IDOC must also make certain technologies available, such as amplified telephones and a teletypewriter.

IDOC audio-visual media such as televisions and movies must have open and closed captioning. Hearing impaired inmates may choose headphones that prevent them from disturbing other inmates.

IDOC must adopt visual and tactile alert notifications. Such notices may be used to inform inmates of mealtime, visitors, medical appointments, evacuations and emergencies.

Handcuffs may be removed to allow a prisoner to communicate through American Sign Language. Hearing impaired prisoners must have equal job opportunities.

The settlement may be viewed at uplc.chicagoorg

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. Can the state prove all the elements of your offense beyond a reasonable doubt? Even if 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, July 1, 2019

CAN YOU BE CHARGED WITH UNLAWFUL USE OF A WEAPON WHEN YOU ACTED IN SELF DEFENSE?

You were visiting family when things got crazy. One drunken relative started beating their spouse so you grabbed the family gun to put a stop to it. But since you didn’t have a gun license, the police arrested you on a weapons charge.

Can they do that if you were just trying to protect yourself? Depending on the facts, a recent Illinois court said no.

You may be charged with Aggravated Unlawful Use of a Weapon if you (1) knowingly carried or concealed on your person an uncased and loaded pistol, (2) at a time when you were not on your own land, in your own abode, or in a fixed place of business, or you were on public land, (3) that pistol was immediately accessible when you carried it, and (4) you did not have a Firearm Owner’s Identification card or concealed carry license.

On the other hand, you may be acting in self defense or defense of another if (1) unlawful force is threatened against a person, (2) the person threatened was not the aggressor, (3) the danger of harm was imminent, (4) the use of force (by the threatened person) was necessary, (5) the person threatened actually and subjectively believed a danger existed that required the use of force applied, and (6) the beliefs of the person threatened were objectively reasonable.

In People v. Crowder, the court held that self defense could be a defense to a weapons charge: In that case, three men knocked down the defendant’s father and threatened to kill him. Defendant grabbed the gun from his father’s holster to protect both his father and himself. The court reversed his conviction based on necessity or self defense.

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. Even if the police acted lawfully 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.)