Sunday, April 25, 2021

WERE YOU CAPABLE OF WAIVING YOUR MIRANDA RIGHTS?

When you are arrested, an officer must read your Miranda rights. If you keep talking, you may be giving up those rights.

Once you have clearly invoked your right to an attorney, any police interrogation must stop unless you initiate communication. If instead police restart the conversation, your statements will be presumed involuntary and will not be admissible at trial. To determine admissibility, the court looks at 1) whether you, rather than police, started the conversation in a manner demonstrating a willingness to discuss the investigation, and 2) if so, whether you knowingly and voluntarily waived your Miranda rights.

To knowingly waive your rights, the waiver must reflect an intentional relinquishment or abandonment of a known right or privilege. That means you were fully aware of both the nature of the right you gave up and the consequences of your decision to abandon it. A waiver is not voluntary if you suffered from an intellectual disability or if police continued questioning you after you requested an attorney.

In People v. Kadow, the defendant was intellectually disabled with an IQ in the 50s, and the officer, had threatened him with jail if he did not answer questions. The court reflected that the intellectually disabled are considered more susceptible to police coercion than people of normal intellect. Thus, the defendant could not knowingly and voluntarily waive his rights.

If you have been charged with a criminal offense, contact an experienced criminal law attorney immediately. An attorney can review your case for your best possible defense. If police coerced you into talking or you were otherwise incapable of waiving your rights, an attorney may be able to petition the court to suppress any incriminating statements that you involuntarily made.

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, April 9, 2021

HOW IS A COMMUTATION DIFFERENT FROM A PARDON?

You have a loved one in prison. He hung out with some people who were not his friends and got involved in a robbery. You want to shorten what seems like an unfair sentence. Are you looking for a commutation or a pardon?

It depends on whether your loved one has completed his or her sentence. If you want to get someone out of prison, a commutation could shorten their sentence. If your loved one has completed their sentence and cannot seal or expunge their record, they can petition for a pardon.

A commutation can be granted for health reasons or if it appears your loved one has learned from their mistakes and deserves a second chance. Note that a commutation is not an appeal. Rather than asserting your loved one is innocent or that mistakes were made at trial, a petition for commutation typically involves accepting responsibility for the underlying offense and showing how he or she has changed.

In contrast, a pardon enables the governor to nullify a conviction, one for which a sentence (in or out of prison) has already been satisfied. A pardon typically allows a defendant to expunge their criminal record, though the final order to do so will be at the discretion of a judge in the county where the case originated.

Either petition for commutation or pardon generally includes character references along with other exhibits, which are then sent to the Illinois Board of Prison Review. The Board makes a recommendation to the governor who then makes the final decision. Your loved one may ask for a public hearing before the Board. For a commutation, your loved one will not be allowed to appear in person at the hearing, but you can still testify on their behalf.

If you have questions about petitioning for a pardon or commutation, 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.)