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b2ap3_thumbnail_Illinios-gun-laws.jpgFor the safety of the people, Illinois has imposed very strict gun regulations as well as stiff penalties for those who are convicted of violating those laws. Some actions potentially result in multiple charges and therefore potentially multiple consequences if found guilty. Recently, the constitutionality of those penalties were called into question. In the case of People v. Williams 2015, the punishment of aggravated unlawful use of a weapon and violation of the FOID Card Act were put under the microscope, and thus the regulations of weapons charges came into question.

The Case

The Argument: The penalties for the statues of Aggravated Unlawful Use of a Weapon (AUUW) and violation of FOID Card Act  were vastly different for two statutes that regulated the same behavior, which in turn violates the “proportionate penalties clause” of the Illinois Constitution. This basically says that if two actions are identical, then the penalties should be proportionate. In this instance, AUUW carries a Class IV Felony punishment and FOID Card Act violations are considered to be a misdemeanor.  

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Illinois defense attorney, Illinois criminal lawerWarrantless cellphone searches occur more often than they should, which is not at all. Often it occurs when the police officer is using the device to “contact immediate family”, as in the case of The People v. Robert Butler, yet it happens in other instances as well. Most of the time, this does not present too much of a problem. The problem arises when the officer crosses a boundary and stumbles upon unrelated information and uses it against the very person they initially were assisting. This trespass on a citizen’s privacy is exactly what is protected by our Fourth Amendment rights. When a situation like this arises, it is very beneficial to have a firm understanding of your rights.

The Story

In the case of the People v. Robert Butler, an officer witnessed a shooting victim being “pushed” out of the passenger seat of a vehicle in the hospital parking lot. Upon coming to the victim’s aid, the officer attempted to “notify the family” by confiscating the victim’s cellular device. Instead of going into the ‘contacts’ portion, the officer “accidentally” went into the messaging option, where a text was sent just two hours before saying, “I needa pipe cuzz, asap”. In this statement, ‘pipe’ is slang for handgun, as the defendant testified in court. According to the testimony of the police officer, that is when he (the officer) stopped trying to find the ‘contacts’ list and began to obtain a warrant for further investigation. This was justified because when reviewing reports of gunfire, no shots were fired at the location that the defendant said he was shot at. There was, however, a report of a shooting at another location.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_illegal-search_20160502-020556_1.jpgIn a criminal case, there are many laws and regulations surrounding the methods used by police officers and other officials and how they obtain and submit evidence. Therefore, the question often arises, “Is it admissible?” In many cases, the answer is no because the police did not follow the correct protocol. As a direct result, many cases need to be thrown out, no matter how much evidence was against a defendant. If the police attain the evidence illegally, it is not admissible in court. Yet, in a criminal defense case, the prosecution heavily relies on the “inevitable discovery exception."

What Is the Inevitable Discovery Exception?

First, in order to completely understand the term, you must understand the law that inevitable discovery is an exception of, known as the exclusionary rule, as well as your Fourth Amendment rights. The Fourth Amendment is a portion of the United States Constitution that safeguards your home and your right to be arrested or searched without just cause. The Fourth Amendment states:

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Illinois defense attorney, Illinois criminal lawyerWhen two or more people are in in proximity to each other, there is always potential for something unexpected to happen. Everyone is different and therefore have different personalities and reactions to situations. Occasionally, arguments arise and can get blown out of proportion. Unfortunately, when tempers rise, impulse control can be lowered, potentially culminating in an assault and battery charge. While this is a very serious matter, it does not need to be a catastrophe.

The Difference

Many times, assault and battery charges are paired together, leaving some to believe that it is one potential charge. To clarify, assault and battery are two different actions.

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