The case of a Will County man accused of murder could take a dramatic turn in September. Mark L. Lewis and his defense attorney are claiming using what is often referred to as the insanity defense. In September, the court will decide whether to acquit him or to move forward with his trial.
Criminal charges have many layers to them. There are plenty of court dates and preliminary hearings that need to be dealt with, let alone the paperwork and logistical work that needs to be done to ensure the case is handled properly. Just on these two factors alone, it is crucial for someone accused of a crime to have adequate and experienced legal representation.
If you have been charged with criminal wrongdoing, you may have been granted the opportunity to take a plea deal. Sometimes, taking a plea deal can be extremely beneficial for criminal defendants, especially those who understand that they could face far harsher penalties if convicted at trial. However, taking a plea deal is not the best option for all criminal defendants.
Allegations of misconduct can prove to be devastating, regardless of if they are true or not. Even the accusation that you have done something illegal or hurt someone can be enough to dramatically change how your family, friends, employers and community treats you. Even if the criminal charges against you are ultimately dropped, there can still be some lingering doubt or misconception about you that affect your marriage, employment and reputation.
Under federal law, authorities are allowed to seize a person's assets if they can show that those assets are in some way connected to a crime. The most frustrating aspect of asset forfeiture is that authorities can take your property even if you are not facing criminal charges.
Last year a Lake County, Illinois man spent 90 days in jail following an arrest for involvement in a criminal conspiracy. A judge later dropped the charges against him. He suspects the arrest came about due to his speaking on the telephone with the alleged ringleader in the conspiracy.
Imagine what you were doing 900 days ago. That's roughly two and-a-half years ago. You may have been in another job, dating someone else, married or divorced, childless or living in a completely different place. The point is that a lot can happen in a couple years.
People depend on police and other legal authorities to protect people and their rights. Unfortunately, this does not always happen and the legal and justice systems end up working against the very people they are meant to protect.
Governor Bruce Rauner made headlines last month when he declared his intention to form a new commission tasked with both examining Illinois' criminal justice system and devising ways to reform its prison system, which he described as "costly, overcrowded and ineffective."
Being charged with or investigated for a criminal offense is scary and stressful. However, before a person is ever acquitted or convicted, he or she could have critical and often substantial assets retained by state or local law enforcement agencies, which can only make the problem worse for those who are accused of misconduct.