The federal prosecution of a former United States congressman from Illinois could take months to complete. This is particularly true where the charges involve 24 counts of the misuse of government and campaign money for personal use. The prosecution involves former Congressman Aaron Schock, who faces trial on various serious felonies, including wire fraud, theft of government funds, and filing false tax returns.
In recognition of the fact that Illinois' prison population had spiked dramatically over the last four decades from less than 10,000 inmates to roughly 49,000, Governor Bruce Rauner signed an executive order back in February 2015 calling for the creation of the Illinois State Commission on Criminal Justice and Sentencing Reform.
Federal authorities are intent on arresting child pornographers and sex traffickers. The accused will face a long prison sentence if convicted of these felonies, and often, a virtual lifetime of reporting as a sex offender thereafter. The law, however, does not adequately make a distinction between an actual producer of child pornography and a passive user of such material on the internet.
When you hear that someone was charged with a misdemeanor, you know that they did something wrong. But the name implies that though their act was criminal in nature, it wasn't so bad that it deserved the full force of the criminal justice system. Compare this to when you hear that someone was charged with a felony. In this case, you know that they did something very, very serious and that the criminal justice system deemed their act deserved the full force of the system.
We are continuing our discussion of grand juries, focusing, for the most part, on state and county grand juries. The rules for federal cases are different, most notably by virtue of the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution. If someone is accused of a federal felony (a capital or "otherwise infamous" crime), a grand jury must hand up an indictment before the case can proceed.
Almost everyone who lives in Chicago knows at least a little about the shooting death of Laquan McDonald. Even if they are not familiar with the name, the mere mention of video recording of the teen being shot by the cop will garner an "Aha." They may know, then, that the officer accused in the case was charged with murder before the video was made public.
There are actually a couple of ways to commit mortgage fraud. Overall, the criminal act is lying on a mortgage application about a material fact -- some important piece of information about you or the property -- that influences the lender's decision. As with most crimes, the key for prosecutors is your intent, whether you meant to mislead the lender or whether you made a mistake.
In the past 10 years, the U.S. Supreme Court has tackled juvenile offender sentencing questions a few times. Each decision has been a step away from imposing the harshest sentences available on minors who have been convicted of the most serious crimes. This week, the court heard arguments in what amounts to an extension of a 2012 case.
Attempting to conceal the source of money made through criminal enterprises by trying to send it through legitimate businesses is referred to as money laundering. This is a serious crime and one that federal and state law enforcement agencies investigate very aggressively.
Illinois has been home to some contentious debates regarding eavesdropping in recent years. As we mentioned in this article on our website, this state's eavesdropping laws were at one time, some of the most aggressive in the country.