Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Lawsuit Filed Against Chicago Cop For Framing Motorist

We have previously reported about problems that Chicago police officers have had with framing innocent citizens. The past few days we reported about the falsified DUI arrests involving Joe Parker and John Haleas. This morning we read about a lawsuit filed against another Chicago Police officer for allegedly framing a motorist. We would like our readers to read about this incident.

The full article can be read here.

For more information about the Chicago criminal defense lawyers at Legal Defenders, P.C., visit us at or call us anytime at 1-800-228-7295.

Stepped Up Background Searches For Sheriff And Police

The Cook County Sheriff's Office and the Chicago Police are taking new steps to do background searches on employees and find out if any of their employees have criminal backgrounds or have had contact with police in the past. There are roughly 7,000 people employed by the Cook County Sheriff. Any sworn officer with a felony conviction cannot be employed by the Sheriff. Any employee that has had any contact with police is required to report this to the Sheriff. The Cook County Sheriff has ordered internal affairs to conduct thorough background searches on all the employees. The civilian employees will be treated differently than sworn officers.

The Chicago Police Department is implementing a polygraph machine program. Four officers and a sergeant are being sent for special training to learn how to properly operate the machines. Every applicant to the Chicago Police Department will be required to take a polygraph test. Approximately 295 applicants took the test last year. The Cook County Sheriff's Office already requires all sworn officer applicants to take the test.

For more information about the Chicago criminal defense lawyers at Legal Defenders, P.C., visit us at or call us anytime at 1-800-228-7295.

Schaumburg Camera Going Down But Way More On The Way

Just when it looked like the Village of Schaumburg was going to be doing the right thing, they had to let us down. We have previously reported about the second thoughts the village was having about the red light camera at the intersection of Meacham and Woodfield roads. The Village Board finally agreed to take down the red light turn camera at the intersection. But at the same time, they announced plans to install 9 more red light cameras throughout the village. All of this occurred Tuesday night at a Village Board meeting. Many residents showed up to express their disagreement with the red light program. Some of the residents handed out pamphlets at the meeting and several vehicles were seen in the Village Hall parking lot with windshield signs critical of the red light cameras. The Village Trustees decided to take down the red light camera that would catch drivers who failed to come to a complete stop before turning right on the red light. 98 percent of the tickets issued had been for that right turn on red. The Trustees kept in place the cameras to catch drivers proceeding directly through the intersection on the red light. At the same time the Village Trustees announced that they had applied to the Illinois Department of Transportation to install cameras along 9 other state owned intersections throughout the village.

The buzz created by this story is a sign that people are starting to stand up and take notice of what is happening around them. People should expect that as the economy continues to falter and communities start searching for easy ways to generate revenue, red light cameras will become more common. Let's face it. It's an easy and efficient way for towns and villages to generate revenue. At the same time they can easily counter any criticism by claiming that they are trying to protect the public. This particular intersection generated approximately $1 million in fines. According to information we received from our first posting, the Village paid the camera company $129,000 up front to set up the camera. Out of the $100 received from each ticket, the Village was to keep $70 and the camera company was to get $30. So, assuming $1 million in fines were paid, Schaumburg would walk away with $571,000 and the camera company would make $429,000. And that's only after less than 3 months of tickets. These red light cameras are like cash station machines. With potential revenues like this, it's amazing that there's not more red light cameras out there.

For more information about the Chicago criminal defense attorneys at Legal Defenders, P.C., visit us at or call us anytime at 1-800-228-7295.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Guilty Plea Ends Judges Trial

Yesterday we posted a blog about the trial of Federal Judge Samuel Kent's trial which was about to start. This morning we can report that Judge Kent entered a guilty plea to one count of obstruction of justice in return for the government dropping the 5 remaining counts alleging sexual misconduct. This plea agreement brings the case to a close. In addition, Judge Kent immediately resigned his position as a federal judge. The plea agreement avoids the first trial against a federal judge for alleged violation of federal sex crime statutes.

The federal obstruction of justice charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison but the government is expected to ask for no more than 3 years in prison.

For more information about the Chicago criminal defense attorneys at Legal Defenders, P.C., visit us at or call us anytime at 1-800-228-7295.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Explanation of New 2009 Illinois DUI Law

As we have previously informed our readers, the Illinois DUI law changed on January 1, 2009. Right from the beginning let's be clear that this new law does not change the statutory summary suspension hearings and procedures nor does it change the DUI criminal law in Illinois. We have had an opportunity to review this new law and want to inform our readers of the changes and highlights.

First, this new law changes the period of suspensions for DUI offenders. The period of suspension for first time DUI offenders has been extended from three months to six months. The period of suspension for second time DUI offenders has been extended from six months to 12 months. The period of suspension for a refusal to submit to a blood alcohol test has also been increased to 12 months. This period of suspension is in addition to any criminal penalties which may be imposed by the court. Previously, first time offenders had been eligible for a Judicial Driving Permit (JDP) allowing for limited driving during a statutory summary suspension. The new law has gotten rid of the JDP and replaced it with the Monitoring Device Driving Permit (MDDP). In order for a first time DUI offender to be eligible for a MDDP, the following conditions must be met:

* Possession of valid driving privileges except for the Summary Suspension.
* Death or great bodily harm did not occur during the DUI leading to the suspension.
* No prior conviction for Reckless Homicide or Aggravated DUI which resulted in death.
* No previous Summary Suspension with the 5 years preceding the suspension from the
current arrest.
* The driver is over 18 years of age.

A "first time offender" is essentially defined as someone who has had no DUI suspensions or findings of guilty in the past 5 years.

Once the driver appears in court, the judge must sign an order for the Illinois Secretary of State to issue the MDDP permit. This order will be issued unless the driver opts out of the program in writing. The judge cannot decline to issue such an order so long as the driver meets the criteria set forth above. The MDDP will not take effect until the 31st day after the suspension. So no matter what, any driver arrested for a DUI will not be allowed to drive for at least 30 days. A $30 Secretary of State monthly fee must be paid in advance for the Secretary of State to issue a MDDP permit. This monthly fee is solely for the Illinois Secretary of State and is in addition to the monthly fee paid for the device. For a 6 month suspension this Secretary of State fee comes out to $150 and for a 12 month suspensions the Secretary of State fee will be $330. Once the MDDP is issued, the driver will only have 14 days to have a Breath Alcohol Interlock Ignition Device (BAIID) installed in their car. The MDDP holder will only be allowed to drive the vehicle equipped with the BAIID device. There is a one time installation fee of $150 and a monthly fee of $115 for the device. The total cost is estimated by us to be as follows:

* For a six month suspension, $875.
* For a twelve month suspension, $1,745.00.

The BAIID device will require a test of the driver's breath before the vehicle can be started and will require periodic tests while the car is running. If the driver fails a test while the vehicle is running, the vehicle will continue running but the horn will start blowing and the lights will start flashing so as to alert police officers of the situation.

Unlike with a JDP, there will be no restrictions on driving with an MDDP as to specific times and routes. When it comes to employment, drivers cannot operate commercial vehicles during the period of suspension. There is an exemption for employer owned vehicles. The suspended driver will be allowed to drive an employer owned vehicle during the period of employment, provided that the employer provide documentation to the Secretary of State but the vehicle and the company cannot be owned by the driver.

Finally, a violation of the terms of the MDDP is now a Class 4 felony.

For more information about the Chicago criminal defense attorneys at Legal Defenders, P.C., visit us at or call us anytime at 1-800-228-7295.

Top Chicago DUI Cop Accused of False Arrests

An internal police investigation has begun on Joe Parker, a renowned officer in the Chicago Police Department's Traffic Enforcement Unit. The Office of the Cook County State's Attorney has also begun a criminal investigation of Officer Parker. The State's Attorney's office has moved to dismiss dozens of DUI arrests made by Parker. The investigation of his DUI arrests began after video from Parker's squad car did not match what he claimed happened in his police report. In 2006, Officer Parker had the distinction of making 153 DUI arrests, the fourth highest among Chicago police officers for that year. The city of Chicago has already paid out $100,000 to a well known Chicago blues singer who claimed that Parker's false arrest of her in 2005 caused her multiple sclerosis to flare up. The City also paid out $5,000 to settle another claim against Parker. A federal lawsuit is currently pending against Parker for an arrest that happened on Lake Shore Drive in 2005. This is not the first time Parker has gotten public attention. In 2007 the Chicago Sun-Times featured him in an investigation involving the improper use of a disabled sign for his vehicle. Parker had been spotted using the disabled sign even though he had been cleared to work without restrictions. The Chicago Sun-Times reports that Parker is still using the handicapped placard.

The DUI arrests of Chicago Police Officer Parker comes a year after another Chicago police officer, John Haleas, was charged with perjury, official misconduct and obstructing justice. In the Haleas case, prosecutors alleged that he also lied in his reports and failed to perform the field sobriety tests he had claimed he had performed in his reports. More than 50 DUI arrests made by Haleas were dropped as a result. Haleas had been honored numerous times as the cop with the most DUI arrests in Illinois. The case against Haleas is still pending in court.

For more information about the Chicago criminal defense lawyers at Legal Defenders, visit us at or call us anytime at 1-800-228-7295.

Federal Judge's Trial About to Start

The federal sex crime trial of U.S. District Judge Samuel Kent is about to start in Houston. The 59 year old judge is accused of fondling two female court employees as he tried to force himself on the women and tried to force them to perform sex acts. Throughout U.S. history, only a handful of federal judges have stood trial for criminal acts. Judge Kent spent nearly 19 years on the bench. In addition to the five federal sex charges, he is also facing one charge of obstruction of justice for lying to an investigative committee about the incidents. In May of 2007, Judge Kent's former case manager filed a complaint against Judge Kent accusing him of harassing her over a four year period, ending in May of 2007 when he pulled up her blouse and tried to force himself onto her until they were interrupted. In September of 2007 Kent was suspended by the judicial council for four months without pay and transferred him 50 miles away to Galveston Texas. In August of last year criminal charges were filed against Judge Kent. The charges also claimed that he lied to the judicial council about his relationship with the former case manager.

Judge Kent admits that he was involved in a longtime affair with the case manager and lied about the relationship in front of the judicial council so as to keep it secret. Judge Kent also plans to call several witnesses to show that he has been treated for erectile dysfunction since 1999 and plans to try to "dirty up" the alleged victim. Such a strategy can be dangerous for a defendant.

If convicted, Judge Kent faces a possible life sentence and a fine of up to $250,000. In addition, Judge Kent, appointed by President George H.W. Bush, would probably face impeachment by Congress if convicted and removed from the bench.

For more information about the Chicago criminal defense lawyers at Legal Defenders, P.C., visit us at or call us anytime at 1-800-228-7295.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Slow Economy Spurs Jump In Identity Theft Cases

In a study released on Monday by Javelin Strategy & Research shows that the number of identity theft cases jumped 22 percent to a total of 9.9 million cases in 2008. However, the actual monetary loss from each incident dropped 31 percent to $496. It is likely that as the economy worsens, the number of identity theft cases will continue to rise. It appears as if criminals are getting more desperate as the economy gets worse. 43 percent of identity theft cases were linked to wallet thefts. This number is up from 33 percent in 2007. Women were 26 percent more likely to be the victims of identity theft because they reported more cases of lost or stolen purses and wallets. Online identity theft only accounted for about 11 percent of all identity theft cases. More than 10 percent of victims of identity theft knew their identity thieves. The drop in the monetary loss from each incident can be attributed to banks taking greater steps to clear up identity theft when it becomes apparent that this has occurred and individuals are more alert when something like this happens.

For more information about the Chicago criminal defense attorneys at Legal Defenders, visit us at or call us anytime at 1-800-228-7295.

Schaumburg Considering Giving Up Red Light Cameras

The village of Schaumburg installed it's first, and only, red light camera in November at the intersection of Meacham and Woodfield roads. They chose to use this intersection as a testing ground for red light cameras since both roads belong to the Village of Schaumburg and they did not need permission from the county or the state. Schaumburg believed that they were joining a growing trend. Villages around Schaumburg have been using red light cameras for a long time. Rolling Meadows has been using red light cameras at five intersections for about a year. To set up the red light camera, Schaumburg paid the company that operates the camera, RedSpeed Illinois, a start up fee of $129,000. Tickets are $100 each with $30 of each ticket going to RedSpeed Illinois. Since the middle of November of 2008 to early February, over 10,000 tickets were issued by this camera. 98 percent of the tickets were for not making a complete stop before turning on red. The potential income from these tickets is approximately $1 million. Last week the Village of Schaumburg decided to turn off the cameras and stop issuing the red light camera tickets. The Village decided that this camera, located close to Woodfield Mall, was impacting the consumer-friendliness of Schaumburg's commercial district. At least one ticketed motorist describes the intersection's right-turn lane as an ambiguous experience for drivers where no signal or sign can be seen from the stop line itself. One of the options being considered by the village is to place a right-turn arrow or even prohibiting right turns on red altogether. Village officials warn that this does not mean that they will not place cameras anywhere else. The village is simply stepping back trying to find a meaningful balance between protecting the public and doing what is right and prudent.

Congratulations to the Village of Schaumburg for doing the right thing!

For more information about the Chicago criminal defense attorneys at Legal Defenders, P.C., visit us at or call us anytime at 1-800-228-7295.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Red Light Camera Trap Uncovered in Italy

An interesting article concerning a scam involving Italian red light cameras is adding to the possibility that red light cameras can be rigged to trap innocent drivers. An Italian programmer for the nation's red light cameras has been accused of conspiring with 63 police officers, 39 government officials and managers of 7 different red light camera companies with intentionally rigging red light cameras to trap drivers into making traffic violations so that they can be ticketed and fined. The programmer would rig the lights to change from yellow to red quicker so as to catch drivers into blowing the red light. The Italian system started in 2007 and the revenues generated by these cameras have been shared by about 300 different cities and towns. The scheme was uncovered when a local police commander noticed a huge increase in the number of red light tickets after the cameras were installed. The officer monitored the red lights in question and discovered that they were switching from yellow to red much faster than they should.

Perhaps this yellow light shorting strategy should be investigated to see if it is happening in our country. It would be a good way to raise money for cash strapped state and local governments.

To read the article click here.

For more information about the Chicago criminal defense attorneys at Legal Defenders, P.C., visit us at or call us anytime at 1-800-228-7295.

Update on Medical Marijuana Measure

This week there was a slight setback in the effort to allow medical marijuana in the State of Illinois. Legislation is currently pending in the Illinois Legislature that would allow people suffering from certain debilitating diseases such as HIV, cancer and multiple sclerosis to legally possess up to two and a half ounces of marijuana or up to 12 marijuana plants. These people would register with the Illinois Department of Health and would receive an identification card which would exempt them from arrest and prosecution.

The effort to enact this measure in Illinois took an interesting turn when the Federal Drug Czar arrived for a surprise visit in front of a committee voting on the legislation. After this visit, the committee voted down the measure. For a thorough discussion of this event, click here.

This unexpected turn of events has dashed hopes for a quick passage of this legislation. However, proponents are now digging in to continue a fresh round of lobbying and effort to pass this much needed legislation.

For more information about the Chicago criminal defense attorneys at Legal Defenders, P.C., visit us at or call us anytime at 1-800-228-7295.

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