Wednesday, June 17, 2020

HOW CAN I HELP MY LOVED ONE EARN EARLY RELEASE FROM PRISON?

It’s been many years since your loved one was sent to prison. You believe that he or she has more than paid any debt to society. Is there anything you can do to help your loved get out early?

The answer is yes, depending on the circumstances. In Illinois, your loved one can petition the governor for executive clemency and request a commutation (or shortening) of their sentence. You can assist this process in many ways.

For starters, you can help select a qualified attorney, who you trust and feel you can work with. The attorney will likely meet with your loved one and prepare the Petition for Executive Clemency. This form requires a personal history along with exhibits. You can provide information about your loved one’s life and help gather documentation such as family photos and character reference letters.

Finally, the attorney may request a hearing before the Prisoner Review Board. While prisoners are not allowed to attend, you, along with other witnesses, may testify on your loved one’s behalf. An experienced attorney can help prepare this testimony.

If you have questions about commutation, contact an experienced attorney. You do not necessarily need an attorney to file a Petition for Executive Clemency, but an attorney can best help in presenting a strong case. Witnesses often say things they think are helpful that have the exact opposite effect. What seems like reasonable justification to you can sound self serving to the Prisoner Review Board. An attorney can help you and your loved one avoid these pitfalls.

If you have questions about this or another related Illinois executive clemency 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, June 1, 2020

WHAT IS RESISTING ARREST UNDER ILLINOIS LAW?

You commit the offense of resisting arrest if you knowingly resist or obstruct someone you know is a peace officer, firefighter, or correctional institution employee in performing any authorized act within their official capacity. See 720 ILCS 5/31-1. Resisting arrest is a Class A Misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail.

To convict you, the state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you knew (1) the person obstructed or resisted was a peace officer, firefighter or correctional institution employee, and that (2) you were obstructing or resisting that officer’s authorized act. Further, the officer must be engaged in an authorized act within his or her official capacity.

If you are charged with resisting arrest, contact an experienced criminal law attorney immediately. An attorney can review your situation for your best possible defense. Did you know you were dealing with a peace officer? Did he or she identify themselves in some way? Was the officer acting in their official capacity or were they simply having a drink at the bar?

For example, in People v. Borders, the court reversed a defendant’s conviction because the officer did not tell the defendant that he was under arrest until after they had struggled and defendant was lying handcuffed on the ground. The court reasoned that “One cannot knowingly resist an arrest until one knows that it is occurring.”

Be aware that an officer need not say, “you are under arrest,” as long as he or she communicates the intention to arrest in some way. Further, even if an arrest is not lawful, you may not use force to resist. An unlawful arrest is still considered an authorized act under the law.

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.)

WHAT IS RECKLESS CONDUCT UNDER ILLINOIS LAW?

Events in the news have sparked public outrage, which has resulted in protests and civil unrest. Sometimes these protests get out of hand, and participants may find themselves arrested for an offense such as reckless conduct.

Under Illinois law, you commit reckless conduct when you, by any means lawful or unlawful, recklessly perform an act that (1) causes bodily harm or endangers the safety of another; or (2) causes great bodily harm or permanent disability or disfigurement to another. (See 720 ILCS 5/12-5). The first type of reckless conduct is a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail. The second type is a Class 4 felony, punishable by one to four years in prison.

Reckless conduct can apply to a variety of actions from striking someone in the head to mishandling a gun.

If you have been charged with reckless conduct or a similar offense, contact an experienced criminal law attorney immediately. An attorney can review your case for your best possible defense. As with most crimes, the state must prove all the elements of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt. Were your actions truly reckless? Illinois courts have held that negligence alone is not enough. Illinois law defines “acting recklessly” as consciously disregarding a substantial and unjustifiable risk that a certain result will flow. Courts look at whether such disregard grossly deviates from the risks a reasonable person would take in the same situation.

In defining recklessness, the court reviews all the facts and circumstances of your case. An experienced attorney can help you present those facts in their most favorable light.

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.

Reference: People v. Gosse.

(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.)