Monday, May 17, 2021

CHALLENGING A PHOTO IDENTIFICATION OR LINE UP IN ILLINOIS

After a witness at a crime scene picked you out of a group of photos, police asked you to participate in a line up. You stood alongside several other subjects, but something didn’t seem quite right. For one thing, you were the only person wearing a t-shirt and jeans.

Can you challenge the line up?

Under Illinois law, you have a due process right to be free from identification procedures that are unnecessarily suggestive and are conducive to an irreparable mistaken identification. If the line up was unduly suggestive, your attorney may be able to petition the court to suppress the fact that a witness selected you.

To do so, you must show that you were denied due process because of the way the line-up was performed. Once you meet that burden, the state must clearly and convincingly show that the witness picked you solely based on his or her memory of events at the time of the crime.

A court will consider whether the procedure was unduly suggestive, and the identification not independently reliable. To determine reliability, the court considers: 1) the witness’s opportunity to view you during the offense, (2) the witness’s degree of attention at the time of the offense, (3) the accuracy of any prior description by the witness, (4) the witness’s level of certainty at the identification, and (5) the length of time between the crime and the identification.

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 police follow correct procedure in obtaining any evidence against you? Can the state prove all the elements of your offense beyond a reasonable doubt? 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.

Reference: People v. Bahena.

(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, May 2, 2021

WHAT IS BATTERY IN ILLINOIS?

In Illinois, you commit battery if you knowingly without legal justification by any means (1) cause bodily harm or (2) make physical contact of an insulting or provoking nature with an individual. (See 720 ILCS 5/12-3).

Under Illinois law, “knowingly” means you were consciously aware that your conduct was practically certain to cause a particular result. In People v. Jackson, 2017 IL App (1st) 142879, the defendant did not act knowingly because he did not understand what was happening to him and appeared to be suffering from a psychological issue. Being drugged or intoxicated, however, is not a defense, unless your intoxication was involuntary, and you were deprived of the substantial capacity to appreciate the criminality of your conduct.

If you had legal justification, you may wish to raise it as a defense. Illinois courts have upheld legal justification where a defendant was attempting to break up a fight, but not where the defendant was attempting a citizen’s arrest on a municipal ordinance violation.

The definition of “bodily harm” or “insulting physical contact” can be rarther vague. It seems pretty clear that stabbing or punching someone would cause bodily harm. Short of that, an offensive contact is something that might provoke a breach of the peace. Illinois courts have cited spitting or pushing. In People v. Williams, the court held that contact was still provoking or insulting even when the victim is unconscious.

If you have been charged with a criminal offense, contact an experienced criminal law attorney immediately. Can the state prove all the elements of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt? An attorney can probe for weaknesses in the state’s case and present your case in its 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.)