Is it right that a youthful mistake should haunt you the rest of your life? In Illinois, having a juvenile criminal record can prevent you from getting into college, finding a job or even putting a roof over your head -- even if the conviction on your record is years, even decades, old.
When most of us hear the term registry used in conjunction with criminal activity, we naturally think of the sex offender registries currently found in all 50 states. Indeed, the last thing we probably think of is white collar crime given the altogether disparate nature of these two offenses and the relative injustice that would result from treating those convicted of financial crimes in the same manner.
Most people know about "Miranda" rights, and even if you don't know them by name, you've probably heard about them on a TV show or in a movie. These rights are named after a 1966 Supreme Court case, which saw the justices rule that the police have to read you your Fifth Amendment right to not make self-incriminating statements when they accuse you of a crime. Based on the ruling, this right must be read to you before you are questioned by the police.
We are continuing our discussion of a man who was recently released from prison after serving 11 years of a 14-year sentence. He had insisted from the beginning that he was innocent -- more than that, that he was framed by a Chicago police sergeant and another officer. At his trial in 2005, he testified that these officers had been running a shakedown operation in the housing complex where he had been arrested. The judge dismissed his allegations, saying they "fell on their face."
Earlier this month, CBS' "60 Minutes" ran a story about three men released from prison after spending decades on death row. The three are part of a growing number of men -- as many as 10 every month, according to this report -- whose wrongful convictions are being overturned "because of new evidence, new confessions or the forensic science of DNA."
We are continuing our review of law changes that took effect on Jan. 1. Our focus is on the changes to the juvenile justice system. Illinois and other states have taken up President Barack Obama's call to change the focus of the entire criminal justice system from, for example, the harsh penalties of the War on Drugs to a system that takes individual circumstances into account and works toward rehabilitation.
A host of new laws took effect on Jan. 1 that will change the way the Illinois justice system works. From high-profile laws dealing with police body cameras to less newsworthy (but equally important) directives regarding training programs to improve how police interact with individuals with mental illness, these new laws cover a wide range of criminal justice matters. Critics, in fact, say that the General Assembly's work was unfocused, if not scattershot, at a time when real change is necessary.
Minneapolis media reports that a customer in a Target store caused quite a stir when his concealed weapon fell to the floor and discharged. He had been carrying the gun in his waistband when it started to slip. He grabbed for it and it went off. Fortunately, no one was injured. The bullet hit the floor and ricocheted to the ceiling. He picked up the gun and left the store with his companion.
Congratulations! If you are reading this, you have survived Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday. Welcome to the 2015 holiday season and all the rewards and risks that come our way during the last few weeks of the year.
The Chicago Sun-Times ran a story in mid-November about a criminal trespass case. A man had attempted to enter a woman's home through an unlocked first-floor window. The woman confronted him before he actually entered her home, and he fled. Police arrested him shortly thereafter and, after matching the suspect's fingerprints to fingerprints found at the woman's home, charged him with the misdemeanor of attempted criminal trespass.