Published April 26, 2009
According to the behind-the-scenes statistics for this weblog, a person found this site by searching for the phrase “assistant state’s attorney salary cumberland county, il” in a search engine. I can easily tell you how much the assistant state’s attorney in Cumberland County makes — $0.00. This is because there is not an assistant state’s attorney in Cumberland County, IL. There is one prosecutor for the entire county. This is the elected state’s attorney.
According to Wikipedia, the population of Cumberland County was 11,253 in the year 2000. In contrast with this, the population of Coles County (my home county) in 2000 was 53,196. When fully staffed, Coles County State’s Attorney Steve Ferguson employs five assistant state’s attorneys. The Office of the Appellate Prosecutor also places a drug prosecutor in Coles County. This makes for a total of seven prosecutors in Coles County.
Published April 21, 2009
I greatly respect law professor Orin Kerr’s legal analysis. He’s one smart cookie. With that said, his post speculating on how the brand new SCOTUS case Arizona v. Gant (.pdf) “will apply in practice” made me smile. When Professor Kerr thinks about Gant, he thinks in terms of faceless facts and abstract principles. When I think about Gant, I think of the names of specific people — people that I currently represent — that this case can help. Law profs get to have fun in the law reviews and classrooms; I get to have fun in the courtroom. I’ll see you in the trenches.
Published April 19, 2009
Question: If I plead guilty to a felony in Illinois, will the government collect my DNA?
Answer: Yes. A judge will order you to provide a DNA specimen. The specimen will be analyzed and the results stored in a database. The database is a tool that the police use to solve crimes (.pdf).
In Illinois, when the police arrest a person for driving under the influence of alcohol, two things happen: (a) the government files a criminal case potentially punishable by jail time, and (b) the government suspends the person’s driver’s license. Regarding the license suspension, if a driver files a petition challenging the suspension (and gives the State notice that the petition has been filed), with one exception, the State must hold a hearing on the petition within 30 days.
The one exception is discussed in a new opinion by the Illinois Appellate Court. In People v. Janas (.pdf), the Court interpreted the first portion of 625 ILCS 5/2-118.1(b). This portion of the statute reads as follows:
Within 90 days after the notice of statutory summary suspension [being] served [. . .], the person may make a written request for a judicial hearing in the circuit court of venue. The request to the circuit court shall state the grounds upon which the person seeks to have the statutory summary suspension rescinded. Within 30 days after receipt of the written request or the first appearance date on the Uniform Traffic Ticket [. . .], the hearing shall be conducted by the circuit court having jurisdiction.
In Janas, the State did not hold a rescission hearing within the 30-day window. Instead, it intended to hold the hearing on the date of the driver’s first court appearance, which was four days beyond the 30-day window. The trial court rescinded (canceled) the driver’s suspension since there was not a hearing within the 30-day time period. The appellate court reversed the ruling of the trial court because the State had two options based on the statute in question: (a) conduct a hearing on the driver’s petition within 30 days, or (b) have the hearing on the first court appearance date on the driver’s ticket. Since the State was ready to proceed on the date of the driver’s first court appearance, the trial court should have conducted a hearing on the petition.
Published April 9, 2009
Whenever the police bust a drinking party in Charleston, IL, minors who were cited for underage drinking start calling me the next business day. A lawyer is not required for many of these cases. This is because the City of Charleston has a diversion program for minors cited for consuming or possessing alcohol. In a nutshell, a minor eligible for the diversion program pays a fine and takes a class. After the minor completes the program, the city attorney dismisses the case against the minor. So, before a minor calls me to ask me to represent him in city-ordinance court for an alcohol violation, he should contact the city attorney’s office first to see if he is eligible for the diversion program. A minor should participate in the program if he is eligible for it.
Published April 4, 2009
Scott Greenfield discusses a story about Phoenix police officers who retaliated against a blogger who criticized them. How did the officers retaliate? They obtained a search warrant and seized the blogger’s computers, memory cards, etc. I am not familiar with Scott’s sources, but if the story is true, the conduct of the police is outrageous and a shameful abuse of power.