Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Kane County May Be Moving Away From Red Light Cameras

The movement away from using red light cameras seems to be spreading to Kane County.  On Monday, Kane County's Transportation Committee unanimously approved rule changes that state that red light cameras are a temporary solution and that red light cameras shall expire after three years.  The rules also state that the ultimate solution for accident prone intersections is to improve engineering, attention to the use of signs, light timing and other measures.  Kane County already reviews all red light camera locations annually.  This annual review will continue under the measure approved on Monday.  What is especially exciting about this measure is that regardless of what happens at a given intersection, no camera could exist at any intersection for more than three years.  Another exciting part of these measures is that citations issued for making right turns at a red light would mostly be banned with a couple of strict exceptions.  First, there must be documented accidents involving cars or pedestrians at that particular intersection, and the problem must first be attempted to be solved by placing a "No Right Turn On Left" sign.  If the sign doesn't work, then citations for right turns on red can be issued.  

The full Kane County Board must now take up the measure and only if they pass it will it go into effect.  However, the Chairman has indicated that she strongly supports the measure.

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.

Supreme Court Agrees To Hear 2 Criminal Cases

Yesterday, the United States Supreme Court announced which cases it will hear in the upcoming fall term.  Among the 14 cases they announced they would be hearing were 2 criminal cases.  One of the cases was Kentucky v. King.  The cases will decide whether to further erode the exclusionary rule when the police illegally seize evidence.  The police were chasing a suspected drug dealer into an apartment building.  As they walked down the hallway they smelled marijuana and broke into an apartment.  Inside they found King and 2 other individuals with marijuana and crack cocaine.  The police did not have a warrant to enter the apartment and the original suspect that the police had been chasing had entered the apartment across the hall.  King eventually plead guilty but challenged the search of the apartment on appeal.  In January, the Kentucky Supreme Court ruled that the police did not have the right to enter the apartment because there was no emergency and threw out the evidence seized.  The Supreme Court agreed to hear the appeal of the Kentucky prosecutors who are arguing that the police were justified in entering the apartment because they made an honest mistake.  Last year, the Supreme Court ruled that evidence seized as a result of an honest mistake by the police should not be excluded from evidence.  To view our discussion of that Supreme Court decision, click here.

In the second criminal case,  the Court will decide whether lab technicians must be required to be available to testify at criminal trials.  Last year, the Supreme Court ruled that lab technicians were witnesses for the state and must be made available to testify.  But in a case out of New Mexico, Bullcoming v. New Mexico, the courts ruled that a lab worker who simply recorded the results of a blood alcohol testing machine in a DUI case did not have to testify.  The Supreme Court will get to decide whether the lab worker could also be required to testify.
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.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

McHenry County Spending More Money On Special Prosecutors

The McHenry County Board has approved spending another $100,000 for special prosecutors and consultants.  It is thought that the majority of this money relates to the investigation and the prosecution of McHenry County State's Attorney Louis Bianchi.  Bianchi was indicted by a grand jury earlier this week for using county resources to do campaign work.  When the investigation of Bianchi started, it was estimated that it would cost about $100,000.  Up until now, special prosecutors and consultants have submitted $74,306 in invoices.  There's another invoice for $34,321 for work performed from September of 2009 to February of this year.  The additional money that has been appropriated will cover future additional expenses and any unforeseen costs and expenses. 
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.

Kane County Cracking Down On DUI Offenders

Kane County is making life more difficult for defendants convicted of Driving Under the Influence.  A new Kane County program is requiring that DUI offenders be tested up to eight times during a holiday season to make sure that they are staying away from alcohol, as required by their court sentence.  This new program was unveiled during the Labor Day weekend.  It's called The Holiday Alcohol Testing program.  The goal of the program is to discourage drivers from drinking alcohol during the time that they are most likely to consume alcohol, a holiday weekend.  The program was announced by John Barsanti, the Kane County State's Attorney.  Fifteen DUI offenders passed the test, one DUI offender failed one of the tests and another failed to show up for all of the tests.  The test takes about two minutes and costs $4 per DUI offender.  Prosecutors will seek to file Petitions To Revoke their Sentences for failing and not showing up for their tests.  Kane County is planning on continuing with the program during all the upcoming holiday weekends, including sports related weekends, like the Super Bowl and the final weekend of the NCAA men's basketball tournament.    

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

Violent Crimes and Property Crimes Decreasing Nationally

For the third consecutive year, violent crimes decreased in 2009 according to statistics released by the FBI.  For the seventh consecutive year property crimes decreased as well.  Compared to 2008, the number of violent and property crimes decreased by 5.3 percent and 4.6 percent when compared to 2008.  The violent crime rate for 2009 was 429.4 per 100,000 people, a decrease of 6.1 percent from 2008.  Nationwide, in 2009, a total of 1,318,398 violent crimes were reported.  Violent crime is defined as murder, manslaughter, robbery and aggravated assault.  All four categories of violent crime showed a decline.  The largest decreases were in murder and manslaughterMurders decreased by 7.3 percent and manslaughter decreased by 0.8 percent.  Aggravated Assault decreased by 4.2 percent.  9,320,971 property crimes were reported in 2009.  Motor Vehicle Thefts decreased by 17.1 percent, thefts decreased by 4 percent and burglaries decreased by 1.3 percent.

All of these statistics are compiled by the FBI by gathering information provided by local police agencies throughout the United States.

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.

Crackdown in Kane County

Three Kane County police departments are joining forces to try to cut down the number of deadly accidents along Route 47 in Sugar Grove north to Main Street in Blackberry Township.  Police will start an enforcement campaign that will last through September 24.  The enforcement campaign involves the Sugar Grove Police, Waubonsee Campus Police and the Kane County Sheriff.  Police have noticed an increase in traffic and increased cross traffic where people stop and turn.  Its particularly dangerous because the speed limit varies and the lanes shift from four to two.  It was always known as a country road and motorists are still driving on the road with that impression.  Several deaths have occurred on this roadway in the past year and police are eager to get people to be more careful and realize that Route 47 is no longer a country road. 

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.

Lombard Removes Red Light Cameras - Dissatisified Customer

In a slap to the face of RedSpeed Illinois, the Village of Lombard is terminating its red light camera contract with RedSpeedRedSpeed has its headquarters in Lombard.  The Village will inform RedSpeed of their decision and RedSpeed will have 60 days to remove the underground sensors that determine whether drivers stopped before the white line.  It looks like Lombard is removing their red light camera because they are not satisfied with the results.  Even though the village insisted that revenue was not the driving force behind their decision to install the red light camera, Lombard has not made much money off of the camera.  Like Elk Grove, Lombard police refuse to issue tickets unless the driver blatantly failed to stop.  And the safety benefits of the red light camera are unclear.  After cameras were installed in May of 2009, the number of traffic accidents decreased 31 percent.  But at another intersection accidents actually increased.  Lombard
trustees have come to the conclusion that they are better off without cameras in their village.

This movement towards removing these red light cameras is a relatively new development.  Last year Schaumburg removed their red light camera because they feared that it would adversely affect shoppers coming to their Village to shop at Woodfield MallElk Grove is moving towards getting rid of all their cameras because they feel that they are serving their purpose and now Lombard is removing their cameras because they simply are not working.  The common underlying sentiment is that voters clearly dislike red light cameras in their communities.  Our elected public officials are starting to sense the public's dislike and are responding by removing cameras for a variety of reasons.  We need to continue to make sure that our voices get heard.

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.

Elk Grove To Remove 2 Red Light Cameras

Elk Grove Village has announced that January 1, 2011, they will be deactivate 2 red light cameras, with the ultimate goal of removing all red light cameras in their Village.  The cameras are located at the intersection of Busse Road and Devon Avenue.  The removal will be in effect for one year and crash trends will be monitored very six months to determine whether the removal should be made permanent.  Similar studies will be performed on the other five intersections that have red light cameras.  Elk Grove is moving towards removing red light cameras because they believe that they have served their purpose.  The number of accidents have decreased at the intersections at which red light cameras have been installed.  Before cameras were installed at Busse and Devon, 31 accidents were reported.  The following year, 2009, 21 accidents were reported and in the first 6 months of 2010, only 8 accidents have been reported.  The Village asserts that the main purpose behind the installation of the red light cameras was safety and not revenue.  Since the statistics show that people are driving more safely at these intersections, the Village is choosing to remove them rather than put more of a financial burden on the public.  There has also been a 29% decrease in the number of red light tickets issued.  About 4 out of 10 red light violations captured by the cameras that are forwarded to Elk Grove Village police do not result in tickets.  That's because the company goes by the letter of the law whereas the Village looks at whether a police officer would issue a ticket if he was there at the time of the alleged violation.  Elk Grove Village is tracking all the other intersections to determine whether cameras should be removed.

Elk Grove Village should be congratulated for doing the right thing all around.  It is clear that Elk Grove Village has the good of the public in mind and should be commended for acting admirably.  You have to give our government credit when they do something right.

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.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Senate Impeachment Trial For Federal Judge Begins

For just the eighth time in U.S. history, and for the first time in more than 20 years, the Senate is about to impeach a sitting federal judge.  The Judge, G. Thomas Porteous, is accused of taking cash, expensive meals and other gifts from lawyers and a bail bondsman, lying to Congress and filing a bankruptcy under a false name.  The House voted unanimously in March to bring the charges.  A two-thirds vote is needed in the Senate to convict him.  The role of prosecutors is being played by Reps. Adam Schiff and Bob Goodlatte.  Porteous's attorney is admitting that Porteous may be guilty of poor judgment but isn't guilty of high crimes and misdemeanors, as required by the Constitution for impeachment.  In addition, Porteous is claiming that the conduct that is being questioned occurred while he was a state judge and that the Senate would be breaking from precedent by convicting him for behavior that occurred before he became a federal judge.  Porteous is a federal judge in New Orleans.  His behavior was uncovered during a five year FBI investigation in Louisiana.  The investigation resulted in the convictions of over a dozen individuals but Porteous was never charged with anything.   He was however suspended from the bench.

The Senate trial is expected to move along rather quickly and should be over within the next two weeks.

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.

Gun Prosecution Has Advocates Up In Arms

Paul Copeland, a 56 year old Vietnam veteran has been sentenced to prison time for selling a gun to an illegal alien.  However, the "middle-man" who bought the gun for the illegal alien, who was an illegal alien himself, was never arrested, prosecuted or deported.  Copeland is charged with selling the gun to illegal alien, Hipolito Alives, at the Texas Gun Show in Austin Texas in January.  Copeland states that Aviles presented him with a valid driver's license and had no idea that he was selling the gun to an illegal alien.  However, the man who handed Copeland the money, was Leonel Huerta Sr., who presented a valid Texas driver's license which he had obtained prior to his visa expiring in 2007.  Huerta admits that he showed Copeland his driver's license so he could obtain the gun and handed it to Aviles as he was leaving the building.  However, agents for the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) testified that Copeland should have known that Huerta was buying the gun for Aviles.  The agents testified that the purchased occurred in such a way that Copeland knew what was happening.  What is causing controversy in the case is that Huerta, the "middle-man" who bought the gun for Aviles suffered no legal consequences even though he was an illegal alien himself.  He is believed to still be living in the United States illegally.  

The prosecutor claims that Aviles was not prosecuted because he was a witness.  However, it is somewhat troubling that a U.S. citizen was prosecuted and sent to prison while the illegal alien was given complete amnesty.    It doesn't seem to make sense.

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, September 10, 2010

McHenry County Prosecutor Indicted

Readers of this blog will know that we have been reporting about the investigation of McHenry County State's Attorney, Louis Bianchi.  The saga began with the arrest of an office worker for the theft of documents from Bianchi's office.  The worker was eventually prosecuted and pled guilty to the theft charges but stated that she stole the documents to prove that Bianchi was running his campaign with county resources.  An investigation into the allegations was launched and today a grand jury has indicted Bianchi on conspiracy and official misconduct charges.  Bianchi's Executive Administrative Assistant was also indicted for four counts of perjury and for destroying electronic documents on her computer.  The indicted reportedly alleges that between 2005 and 2010, Bianchi used his office to do campaign work.  He apparently used office equipment to print and mail out letters for his re-election campaign.  He is also charged with trying to get one of his assistants to not produce documents that had been requested in a grand jury subpoena.

We will keep our readers updated on the developments of this case.

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.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Ticket Fines About To Go Up

For the first time since 1993, the Illinois Supreme Court will be increasing fines for most traffic tickets.  The increases take effect September 15.  If you are caught speeding up to 20 miles per hour over the speed limit, the fine will increase to $120 from $75.  This will be the fine for failure to stop at a stop sign or making an illegal turn.  If you are caught speeding between 21 and 30 miles per hour over the speed limit, the fine will run $140, up from $95.  The Illinois Supreme Court increased the fines after a Supreme Court subcommittee found that Illinois had lower fines than many other states.  These fines only apply to tickets that do not require a court appearance.  The fines for tickets requiring a court appearance are set by the judge.  It is important to note that the fine for a ticket that does not require a court appearance is actually a bond.  The amount of the bond is set by the Supreme Court and when the bond is accepted as the fine, it is done so for convenience.  That is why the Supreme Court can raise these amounts.  They are actually raising the amount of bond required to be posted.  

Be aware.  These increases go into effect on September 15, 2010.

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.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Palatine Sued For Disclosing Private Info On Parking Tickets

A motorist given a parking ticket in Palatine, has sued the village in Federal Court for violating the Driver Protection Privacy Act.  The Driver Protection Privacy Act was passed in 1993 in response to several high profile cases in which publicly available driving records were used by offenders to stalk their victims.  The motorist is claiming that the Village of Palatine violated this Act when a ticket was placed on his windshield, visible for five hours, which contained his name, address, date of birth, driver's license number, height, weight and sex.  The lawsuit claims that not only is Palatine failing to prevent a crime but they are making the commission of a crime possible by leaving this information in plain view for anyone to see without the permission of the car's owner.  It seems like Palatine is the only town which provides more than the name and address of the registered owner of the vehicle.  The maximum amount of money that the owner can collect is $2,500 but the plaintiff is requesting that it be certified as a class action lawsuit.  This could potentially include hundreds, or even thousands of additional plaintiffs.

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.

Drug Supply Problems May Delay Executions

Supply issues surrounding an anesthesia drug used by several states in lethal injection executions may have the effect of delaying executions.  The drug, sodium thiopental, which is manufactured by Hospira, Inc., is in short supply.  The drug is used as an anesthetic by hospitals.  Hospira does not support the use of this drug in executions.  However, it is common knowledge that this drug is used in lethal injection executions.  In addition to executions, elective surgeries are being delayed by shortages of this drug.  Hospira is blaming the shortages on an ingredient that is supplied by a third party.  The shortages are due to the third party.  Hospira expects to solve the supply issues by early 2011.

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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