Published November 29, 2008
Clarence grabbed a soda from his buddy’s refrigerator and then returned to the living room where he caught the middle of a conversation.
“Allen is clever, but crazy,” said George. “It’s too bad he never put his smarts to good use.”
“He has struck me as being a little on the dumb side, what makes you think he’s smart?” asked Josh.
“I saw in the paper where the State’s Attorney convicted him of Escape. You don’t break out of jail without having a certain amount of street smarts,” said George.
Clarence let out a deep and slightly arrogant laugh. “Is that what you think he did? You’ve watched too many episodes of Prison Break. It’s a good thing you hang out with me. Typically, when the State charges someone like Allen with Escape, it is because the person failed to show up to the jail to serve his time.”
“Why would a person sentenced to jail be out and about running free?” asked George.
“Often when a defendant agrees to serve a small amount of jail time, the prosecutor will agree to a future date for the jail sentence to begin,” said Clarence.
“What if he doesn’t show up when he is supposed to?” asked Josh.
“Then the State’s Attorney will file an Escape charge against the person and a judge will sign an arrest warrant. The person will end up serving back to back sentences: one for the first case and one for the Escape case,” said Clarence.
“Oh,” said George. “I guess Allen isn’t so bright after all.”
Published November 23, 2008
In Illinois, a sentencing option in misdemeanor cases is judicial supervision. With supervision, a defendant pleads guilty, however, no conviction enters. So, as a matter of law, if you are on supervision, you have not been convicted of the charge you committed.
The Illinois General Assembly has decided that certain offenses are not eligible for a sentence of judicial supervision. Here is a (non-exhaustive) list of frequently-prosecuted offenses that are not eligible for supervision:
- Domestic Battery
- Resisting or Obstructing a Peace Officer
- Unlawful Use of Weapons
- Cruel Treatment of an Animal
- Second DUI (first DUI is eligible for supervision)
Published November 16, 2008
Every criminal-defense lawyer has been asked how he or she can defend “those people.” There are several good answers to this question. Gideon, a public defender and a figment of the blawgosphere’s collective imagination, reminds us of one good answer in a recent post. That answer is that when a lawyer fights for an accused person, he or she also fights for the person’s family. Gideon shares the following story:
I received a letter in the mail a few days ago. It was from a client. Nothing remarkable about it – 3 pages, handwritten, barely legible.
[ . . . ]
I flipped to the second page. The same handwriting – or so it seemed – except it was not from my client. It was from his daughter.
“Hello daddy”, she wrote, “when are you coming home? I’ve grown tall now – almost 4 feet! I also had to get glasses, but my little brother doesn’t have them.”
“We miss you daddy”, the letter concluded.
So, how can lawyers defend those people? Sometimes they defend them because little Bobbi needs her dad at home and not in prison.
Published November 9, 2008
Driving Under the Influence
Is it possible for the State get the medical records of a person arrested for DUI? Yes. A recent Illinois Appellate Court case from the Fourth District, People v. Popeck (.pdf), addresses this situation. In Popeck, the DUI defendant was involved in a car accident and transported to a hospital. The State wanted to subpoena the defendant’s medical records for the treatment he received on the day of the accident. The Appellate Court stated that there was statutory authority for the hospital to release the information sought by the State. Having decided this, the Court went on to decide “whether the State’s request for all of defendant’s medical records for the day he was treated for injuries acquired in the accident was overly broad.” The Court, in a divided opinion, decided that the subpoena by the State “was sufficiently limited in scope” to avoid being overly broad. It suggested that a request for all of the defendant’s medical records would have been overbroad. The dissenting justice thought that the subpoena was overbroad.
Published November 1, 2008
Scott Greenfield, undoubtedly still in the Halloween spirit, donned some tights and a cape this morning in an effort to save the world of legal blogs (a/k/a/ the blawgosphere) from a prophesied death. His post, while about much more than fighting spam, reminded me that I should explain how the comments work on this site.
First, here is some background for you. This is not my first blog. In previous blogging endeavors, I had to fight comment spam all the time. And that irritated me. At times, I also had to put up with abusive comments. The most cruel comment I received wanted to know when I was going to die. The commenter, of course, was not asking about my health — the commenter was saying that he or she wished I was dead.
When I started this blog, due to my previous experience with blog comments and a desire to keep a relatively professional tone on this blog, I initially did not have comments enabled. After a while, this blog felt too isolated, so I revised my comment “policy.” I decided to allow comments, but the comments would be approved by me before appearing on this blog. I also decided that I would shut down the ability to comment on posts when they fell towards the bottom of the main page. The reason for this was that I noticed, in the past, spammers would attack older posts, and if those posts didn’t have comments enabled, I would spend less time fighting the spammers. I haven’t made any additional changes to how I handle comments, so moderated and closed comments are features of this blog. For now, this is working for me and I have no plans to change the way I handle comments. The bad part for readers is that it may be a while between the time a person submits a comment and the time it appears on the blog. I am willing to pay this price for spam protection and quality control.