Tuesday, March 23, 2021

CAN MY FLIGHT BE USED AS EVIDENCE OF GUILT?

The answer is yes. If you fled from a crime, your flight can be one of the circumstances considered to establish your guilt.

Whether an inference of guilt may be drawn from your flight depends on if you knew (1) that an offense had been committed, and (2) that you may be suspected. While evidence that you knew you were a suspect is essential, actual knowledge of a possible arrest is not.

In People v. Aljohani, a neighbor heard screaming and knocked on the door. The defendant answered and said the victim was in the bathroom. The neighbor asked to see the victim after which the defendant became angry and shut the door. The neighbor called police. The defendant told them everything was OK. The police left but then returned, at which point, they found the door to the garage and apartment wide open and the defendant gone. Entering the apartment, they found the defendant’s roommate had been stabbed to death. These facts indicated that defendant knew an offense had been committed, and that he would be a suspect. Thus, the defendant’s flight could be used as evidence of guilt.

If you have been charged with a criminal offense, contact an experienced criminal law attorney immediately. An attorney can review your case for its best possible defense. Did you know you about the crime or that you would be a suspect? Is there a reasonable explanation for your behavior? If so, an attorney can try to present the facts of your case 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.

(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.)

Sunday, March 7, 2021

CAN YOU TAKE YOUR OWN CHILD TO THE PARK IF YOU ARE A CONVICTED SEX OFFENDER?

The answer depends on the charges brought against you. If you are a convicted sexual predator or child sex offender, you cannot knowingly be present in any public park or loiter in a public way within 500 feet of a public park. This is true even if you are with your own child. A first offense is a Class A misdemeanor, and further offenses are Class 4 felonies. See 720 ILCS 5/11-9.4-1.

However, an offense under 720 ILCS 5/11-9.3(a-10) allows you to be present with your own child. Under that law, a child sex offender may not knowingly be present in any public park when persons under age 18 are present and may not approach, any minor child, unless their own minor child is also present.

In People v. Legoo, the defendant, who was charged under 720 ILCS 5/11-9.4-1(b), picked up his his son from a baseball game at the park. The defendant claimed necessity in that no one else was available to do so. The court rejected this defense, noting that the defendant could have then asked police for assistance. Defendant also argued that the same exception which allows an offender under 720 ILCS 5/11-9.3 to be in a park with their own child should apply to his charges. The court disagreed, stating that the two laws applied to different offenders and different conduct.

If you have been charged with a criminal offense, contact an experienced 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? The court did not rule out a necessity defense under all circumstances. Did you have a compelling reason to be in the park? Even if 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.)