October Case Law List

judge-gavel-1461998806lqwEvery month, at about this time, our friend Samuel Partida, Jr. over at illinoiscaselaw.com blesses us with a list and description of all of the cases from the previous month that are relevant to our practice areas of Criminal Defense and DUI Defense.  On this Thanksgiving, we are so thankful for Mr. Partida’s dedication to case law.  This month’s list includes, to name a few, an Appellate Court case finding that a police officer’s lie overturned the defendant’s consent to search, an Appellate Court case finding that a State’s Attorney’s repeated characterization of the defendants as “criminals” warranted a new trial in front of a different judge, an Appellate Court case finding that the handcuffing of a suspect during a traffic stop was reasonable under the circumstances in that case, and an Appellate Court case involving DUI Cannabis.  Follow this link to listen to his podcast, download his case list, and read through all of the cases.  Let us know if you have any questions about any of the cases, or about any of Mr. Partida’s previous case lists.

As always, if you find yourself under arrest or investigation for any crime, don’t hesitate to contact us here at LauraLaw.  Our attorneys are experienced in DUI Defense, Criminal Defense, Police Officer Defense, and Administrative Hearings, any we will be happy to assist you with your case.

Friday Frolic – Happy 3 Year Anniversary to Maddy Cruz!

20161118_160032Today is a very important day in the history of LauraLaw.  3 years ago, to the day, this office added a little bit of Maddness (pun intended) to an already fun atmosphere.  That’s right, November 18, 2013, we welcomed our beloved Maddy Cruz to the family.  Since that fateful day, Maddy has manned our front desk, manned our phones, and manned our calendar (among many other duties)!  As the gatekeeper to our office, Maddy has done her best to scare away the crazies, maintain a pipeline to every Clerk‘s office, and promote lunchtime adventures with Tim.  We literally could not get through a single day without Maddy, and we could not think of anyone we would rather have watching our backs.  She has brought so much to the table, and has helped us grow in innumerable ways.  Thank you Maddy.  We love you.

If you follow this blog, you would know that this sort of occasion would normally be grounds for a party at LauraLaw.  Unfortunatley, however, our fearless leader has come down with a bug, and she doesn’t want to jeopardize her staff!  While she continues to answer calls and write emails from her bed, we are all sitting at the office hoping for her quick recovery.  I know Dean and her sons Jake and Alex are also hoping for a quick recovery, because Thanksgiving just wouldn’t be the same without Laura’s fabulous chef skills.  So stay tuned for pictures to come from a party to come that, I’m sure, will be fitting of Maddy’s impact on our office.

In the meantime, have a great weekend, and don’t hesitate to contact this office if you have any needs in the practice areas of Criminal Defense, DUI Defense, Administrative Hearings, or Police Officer Defense.  And when Maddy answers the telephone, don’t forget to wish her a happy 3 year anniversary at LauraLaw.

Here are just a few of our favorite moments with Maddy:

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Last Week in Review – Tim’s Car Breaks Down During Cubs World Series, Halloween, DUI Defense, & Criminal Defense

Posted by: Timothy M. Black

The Cubs celebrate after winning the 2016 World Series.

The Cubs celebrate after winning the 2016 World Series.

Hey, remember when the Cubs won the World Series?  I know it seems like that was a lifetime ago, but remember when droves of children dressed as their favorite superhero came to the door in search of candied treasures?  While it may feel like that was a different time, in a different world, it was only last week!  In the whirlwind of events that made up the last week and a half, we didn’t get a chance to update you on the week that was, which included DUI and motion hearings, client meetings, car breakdowns, handing out candy, the Cubs World Series, and much more:

The night of Tuesday, October 25, 2016, the Chicago Cubs, and their millions of fans, embarked on a journey of a lifetime . . . literally.  They lost Game 1 of the 2016 World Series in Cleveland, but the sun would come up the next day.

Tim's dashboard as his car died.

Tim’s dashboard as his car died.

Wednesday, October 26, brought us Game 2 of the World Series from Cleveland’s Progressive Field.  After losing Game 1, tensions were already starting to mount for the Cubs Faithful.  Blame it on decades, nay a century-plus of ineptitude, but some of the most die-hard Cubs fans were already starting to think about “next year.”  Our very own lifelong Cubs fan, Tim, was not immune from that thought as he and Laura prepared for the next day’s hearing, but was nonetheless eager to get home in time for the first pitch at the end of the day.  When he got into his car, started it, turned up The Score for some pre-game banter, and pulled out into traffic, all the lights on the dashboard of his trusty Subaru Outback went berzerk, then lost all power and the battery died.  While he stood out in the rain, trying to jump his car, he slowly realized he wasn’t going to make it home for that first pitch.  Luckily, Laura‘s AAA saved the day, and Tim got to watch “Bryzzo” start the game off with a run on the office TV.  The fine folks at All About Automotive sent a tow truck for Tim‘s car, and his lovely girlfriend gave him a ride home.  By the end of the night, the Cubs had tied the series at a game apiece, and everyone (except Tim – worried about his car) got a good night’s sleep.

Due to Tim‘s car troubles, Thursday saw Laura drive Tim to Maywood (instead of the other way around), where they successfully negotiated a Petition to Rescind Statutory Summary Suspension while Pat went to the Cook County Sheriff’s Merit Board to file LauraLaw‘s appearance on another case.  Still without his car, Tim walked home . . . from Park Ridge to Wicker Park . . . barefoot, uphill both ways in the snow — okay, that’s not true, his lovely girlfriend AGAIN came to his rescue and drove him home.

On Friday, Laura completed the rare double-header – again driving Tim to Maywood, where they argued a Petition to Rescind Statutory Summary Suspension for a different client.  Awaiting the Judge’s decision on that Petition has been agonizing, but not as agonizing as the next week would prove to be.  To make a long story short, Tim got his car back that night, just as Javier Báez came to the plate in Game 3 with the Cubs down one run with two men on and two outs.  Not great timing.  And not a great result; Báez struck out and the Indians went up two games to one.  But, Tim got his car back!

Saturday’s Game 4 gave the Cubs another loss, and put the Series at three games to one, but on Sunday, the Cubbies gave the North Side of Chicago its first World Series game victory since 1945.  That game started a week-long heart attack for most Cubs fans that ended with a Cub victory, but we’ll get to that in a minute.

On Monday, the LauraLaw team came to the office with a renewed sense of life:  the Cubs weren’t going down without a fight, the sun was shining, candy bowls were full, and the children of Park Ridge would soon be swarming the office dressed as Cubs players, narwhals (that looked like unicorns), unicorns (that looked like narwhals), police officers, and super heroes.  As we always do, The Law Offices of Laura J. Morask opened our doors to the droves of trick-or-treat-ers, and took pictures of some of our favorite costumes (please comment to vote for your favorite costume!).  Laura‘s personal favorites are the 5-year-old superhero, Cat Boy, who eagerly posed for some classic superhero stances (in fact, he was such a great ham that Laura said she would hire him in 20 years for a legal position), and the very earnest looking police officer who stole her heart.  LauraLaw is a big fan of promoting local business and giving back to the community, thus we have always participated in the South Park Trick-or-Treat Celebration.  When there were no more Snickers to be snacked on, no more Musketeers to be mowed on, and no more legal fires to put out, we closed the doors, turned out the lights, and prepared for the busy week to come.

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Tuesday gave us a Game 6 victory in Cleveland, keeping Tim‘s hope alive, but not before we filed a motion at 26th & California, and prepared for 3 hearings that were scheduled in that building on Wednesday morning.

2004_worldseries_trophyWednesday morning, November 2, 2016, a date that will live in Chicago infamy, started as many Wednesdays start for the crew at LauraLaw.  While Maddy opened the office, Tim and Laura set off for a day of hearings and courtroom appearances at the Leighton Criminal Courthouse.  While there, Laura successfully argued a Motion, got an Order signed by a Judge, and got a case “nollied.”  Upon their return to the office, Laura held meetings, Tim prayed to the baseball gods, and Maddy stocked up on bottled water in the unlikely event that a Cubs World Series victory would bring about the apocalypse.  While the world did not end that night, Game 7, the greatest game in baseball history (in Tim‘s humble opinion), did end – and it ended with a Cubs victory.  Let those words sink in:  The Chicago Cubs won the World Series.

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A long night of stressful baseball viewing, followed by some of us (Tim!) going to a celebration 108 years in the making, didn’t hold us back; the team here at LauraLaw was back to work on Thursday, preparing a Kladis Motion to be filed on Friday.

Phil Velasquez / Chicago Tribune Rich Hein/Sun-Times ap_16309634202562_5c1wdwbs_ftkkykhoFriday morning, Tim got up early, drove his now-working Subaru Outback to Rolling Meadows, appeared in court to file that Kladis Motion, and headed right back into the city, where the Cubs drew the 7th largest gathering of human beings in the documented history of this planet.  There, he celebrated a week and a half of LauraLaw success, and a century and a decade of Cubs futility coming to an end.  Laura thought he was nuts to join the throng of 5 million, but to Tim, the parade was the perfect end to a whirlwind couple of weeks, and a good respite from the endless loop of election commercials.

All the Cubs craziness, Halloween, and car troubles never stopped us from our primary focus – our practice areas of Criminal Defense, DUI Defense, Administrative Hearings, and Police Officer Defense.  As we forge on, we here at LauraLaw want to remind you, as always, if you should find yourself in trouble, or in need of legal representation, do not hesitate to contact this office, and one of our skilled team members will be happy to assist you.

Comings and Goings at LauraLaw!

The last few weeks have been busy here at LauraLaw. We wanted to give our readers an update on some of the latest news around the office. We’ve been shuttling all over town on a bunch of different cases, from 26th and California to Rolling Meadows, working on everything from police cases to DUI defense. But most importantly, we have brought on a new team member but we’re losing another.

Our new LauraLaw team member is Suzanne Krause! Suzanne is an excellent lawyer with years of experience in the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office. She left the office to start a family but now she’s back in the legal world. She’s a hard worker and she’ll be using her experience to help Dean and Laura take care of their clients and keep the office running smoothly. We’re very excited to have a fresh new face in the office. Welcome, Suzanne!

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With the good news comes the bad news, however, as we also spent this week saying goodbye to Eva. She started working for Dean last year and has been a pleasure to work with since she started. However, she was able to find a great opportunity working for the City of Chicago and she decided to take a chance on an exciting new job (and a much shorter commute!) Congratulations, Eva!

To celebrate both occasions, we had a we had a party on Friday. We talked about how much we appreciated Eva’s presence in the office and how much we look forward to working with Suzanne. We also bought a cake and used the occasion to put the office selfie stick to work.

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As for other goings-on around the office, our blog has a couple great new posts on some recent DUI rulings and election law in Illinois. If you have any other legal questions, feel free to contact us! We’ll be happy to help you with criminal law problem you may have!

 

Driving Expensive Cars as Your Defense Against Forfeiture?

law-books-291692__180As if driving expensive cars were not enough of a thrill, a recent ruling from the Fifth District Appellate Court may have upped the ante by adding another benefit: the cost of your car might be a defense against forfeiture of your car.

In a recent case, the Fifth District was faced with the issue of whether it was lawful to seize a Harley-Davidson trike that was driven by a drunk driver, but owned by its sober passenger. The court said it was a “harsh penalty,” out of step with the seriousness of the offense, and in violation of the defendant’s Eighth Amendment rights against cruel and unjust punishment.

In this case, the state seized the trike because the driver’s driving privileges were revoked at the time for a previous DUI. In court, the driver pleaded guilty to the DUI, but the owner objected to the seizure of the trike, arguing that it represented an unjust $35,000 fine.

At trial, Crawford County Circuit Court Judge Christopher Weber ruled in favor of the State, saying that a key issue was whether the passenger had granted permission to the driver, her husband, to drive the trike. The trial court ruled that she had granted permission and that thus the trike could be seized, saying “she got on the motorcycle and they took off and the evidence is that they live about 12 blocks away so…it’s not as if they were out on the interstate 50 miles from home where it would be impossible for her to find another way home.”

The appellate court did not disagree with Judge Weber, but instead ruled on a different issue, saying that it didn’t matter if permission was involved. If the item seized, the trike in this case, was disproportionately valuable compared to the crime at issue, DUI in this case, the seizure of the item would have to be reversed. And that’s exactly what happened here. “This case involves personal property, a $35,000 motorcycle, and there is no evidence in the record concerning [the claimant’s] general financial situation. However, the monetary value of the motorcycle alone is sufficient to make the forfeiture a harsh penalty,” the court wrote.

It’s unclear what the effects of this ruling will be. Does it mean that any car that is seized will require an Eighth Amendment analysis? Is there a definitive scale that courts can refer to when making that analysis? Are some forfeitures treated differently than others?

We’ve talked about other strange DUI laws in the state on this blog, but this ruling seems especially odd. Forfeiture experts note that while the ruling is technically sound, they’ve never seen an Eighth Amendment ruling used in quite this way, to say nothing of the strange logical turn. But nevertheless this is at least one way that people can mount a defense against forfeiture.

Stay tuned; we’ll keep you updated on this ruling as new information becomes available.  And as usual, if you have any legal questions, do not hesitate to contact us. One of our skilled team members will be happy to assist you.

UPDATE: Illinois Same-Day Voter Registration Law Lives . . . For Now

ballot-160570__340In an update to the story we published  on Monday, the same-day voter registration law that was recently held unconstitutional by a Federal Judge in Chicago isn’t going anywhere . . . at least not for now.

On Tuesday, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals put a stay on the Order issued last week by U.S. District Court Judge Samuel Der-Yeghiayan, who held that the same-day voter registration law in Illinois was unconstitutional.

On September 27, the Office of the Illinois Attorney General filed an appeal with the 7th Circuit, then on September 30, the AG filed an emergency Motion to Stay Judge Der-Yeghiayan’s Order pending the Appeal. That Motion was granted by a panel of Chief Judge Diane Wood, Judge Kenneth Ripple, and Judge Ilana Rovner, effectively pressing “pause” on Judge Der-Yeghiayan’s previous Order.

The Illinois Attorney General is arguing that changing the voting law so close to the November 8 elections would have a harmful effect on the voting rights of a number of voters in Illinois. Instead, they argue, the Court should delay its ruling until after the elections.  The Court has asked both parties to file a statement by this afternoon as to “whether they believe that the appeals should be expedited.”

Regardless of how the Court ultimately decides this case, we here at LauraLaw continue to urge each and every one of our readers to get out and vote in November.  If you are not yet registered to vote, the Illinois State Board of Elections is a good place to start.  As we have learned this week, we can not rely on same-day voter registration being available forever, so if you can, it might be best to register ahead of time.

Regardless of whether you vote, please do not hesitate to contact us here at LauraLaw with any questions about the 7th Circuit’s stay, about an appeal of your own, or about any other legal matter you might have, and one of our skilled team members will be happy to help you out.

Judge Rules Same-Day Voter Registration Violates Voters’ Rights

ballot-160570__340Anyone who follows the LauraLaw Blog knows that we love to see democracy in action, and like to encourage all of our readers to exercise one of the great privileges as an American citizen – VOTE.  On Tuesday, September 27, U.S. District Judge Samuel Der-Yeghiayan issued a Memorandum and Opinion holding that an Illinois law allowing for same-day voter registration violated Illinois voters’ constitutional rights.

The voting on the bill, which was enacted by Governor Quinn in 2014, followed party lines:  Democrats voted in favor of allowing people to register on Election Day and Republicans opposed the measure.  The party line voting, and the suit in front of Judge Der-Yeghiayan, hinge on a key distinction in the applicability of the proposed law: only counties with a total population of greater than 100,000 are required to provide same-day voter registration.

The Plaintiffs in this case (Republican congressional candidate in the 17th Congressional District, Patrick Harlan, and the Republican Central Committee for Crawford County, whose population of 20,000 reside near the Illinois-Indiana borderargued that the distinction was unfairly prejudicial, and that for the law to remain effective, it should apply equally to all counties throughout the state, not just large counties.  Represented by the Liberty Justice Center, they praised the ruling, saying that it was “exactly what we asked the judge to do.”

The Office of the Illinois Attorney General, who represents the Defendant Illinois State Board of Elections, has appealed the ruling.  The American Civil Liberties Union has also expressed concern about the ruling, stating through ACLU spokesman Ed Yohnka that “[w]e must continue to use every available method to ensure that every eligible voter in our state can access the ballot — not create obstacles to the franchise.”

Judge Der-Yeghiayan was not interested in writing the law himself, and instead focused narrowly on the issue before him: whether the Illinois same-day voter registration law violated the Equal Protection of Illinois voters. In finding that it did violate the constitutional rights of Illinois residents, he noted that “Illinois is made up of more than the Chicago metropolitan area and other high population areas. Equality under the law does not end at the city limits.”

This ruling reflects a larger debate playing out nationally in the United States, where a number of states are seeking to increase voter turnout with last-minute same-day voter registration laws, while some lawmakers are resistant to such laws. On the heels of Judge Der-Yeghiayan’s ruling, at least for the time being, new Illinois voters will have to register to vote before they turn up to the ballots on election day.

If you have any questions about this ruling, about registering to vote, or if you have a legal concern of your own, please do not hesitate to contact us, and one of our skilled team members will be happy to assist you.

August Case Law Update

law-books-291683__180As September draws to a close, our friend Samuel Partida, Jr. of Illinoiscaselaw.com has released his August Case Law update for us to study, and as usual we wanted to pass it along to you. This month’s list brings us a number of interesting cases related to search and seizure, appellate procedure, and obscure evidence rules. As usual, Mr. Partida also provides his smart analysis. Head over to his website to read these cases and get more information about Illinois legal news. As always, if you have any questions about any of these cases, or if you have a legal concern of your own, do not hesitate to contact us, and one of our skilled team members will be happy to assist you!

Cook County Judge Orders Expansion of Illinois Medical Marijuana to Include Post-Operative Chronic Pain

illinoisThis week, a Chicago judge made another important ruling for medical marijuana in this state.

Cook County Judge Neil Cohen issued a ruling that requires the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) to add Post-Operative Chronic Pain to its list of conditions for which medical marijuana can be prescribed. In fact, it’s the second time this year that Judge Cohen has ordered the IDPH to add a condition to that list. In June, he ordered Illinois to authorize Medical Marijuana for treatment of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), an Order that was later codified when Governor Rauner signed SB10.

This latest ruling seems to be in line with an overall trend in Illinois of embracing the medical benefits of marijuana and relaxing the criminal consequences of recreational Marijuana use. Although full legalization does not seem to be coming any time in the near future, these two recent expansions of the medical marijuana laws combined with recent efforts to decriminalize possession in small amounts indicates that Illinois is following the national trend toward tolerance.

It also appears that we might see rulings on other disorders in the near future.  Specifically, there are currently cases pending in Cook County that seek to add migraine headaches, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), polycystic kidney disease (PKD), osteoarthritis, intractable pain, and autism to the list of qualifying conditions.  Notably, Judge Cohen, who presided over the PTSD case and the Post Operative Chronic Pain case, is the Judge presiding over the Osteoarthritis case pending in the Chancery Division.

Other states have received criticism for supporting measures for medical marijuana that are broad enough to include use for chronic pain, but sufferers will be happy to hear that there are other avenues of relief available to them. Post-operative chronic pain is also a condition that advocates of medical marijuana have been hoping would receive approval for some time.

We’ve covered medical marijuana in the past, specifically its relation to DUI law and the things you should know in regards to your rights. It’s an important topic that will become more prominent as more developments like this occur throughout the state and throughout the country.  It is important to stay informed about this area of law, so please stay tuned to the LauraLaw blog for continuing coverage of the developments in this and other important areas of law. As always, if you have any questions about how these changes in the law affect you, or if you have been arrested for a case involving marijuana, do not hesitate to contact us; one of our skilled team members will be happy to assist you.

Profanity Appears More Frequently in Recent Opinions

shield-1286293__180In a more amusing sign of the times, law.com has a new report on one topic judges have been wrestling with for the last few years: whether they should include expletives in their written opinions. But that debate might be over for good. According to the report, the F-Bomb has been quoted in its entirety in 2016 appellate decisions as much as it has in previous four decades combined.

The use of profanity it court opinions has always been a thorny issue. Some judges always substitute the full word for some censored version like “F-word” or simply “expletive.” But others judges believe it’s important to quote the record in full.

Judge Richard Posner of the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agrees with the latter.

Look at what judges deal with—you have murderers, people who steal hundreds of millions of dollars. To the extent that their activities are connected with obscenities, obscene messages, that’s part of the case.”

Other lawyers either avoid quoting profanity or advise doing so only when strictly necessary.

“Even if they’re accepted in many situations or not entirely disapproved of, still I think that a judicial opinion is sacred and why of all places should you include it unless it’s relevant?” said Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Gerald Lebovits.

As use of profanity has become more casual and widespread, this is a problem that was bound to arise sooner or later. Though there is no set rule on how to deal with such language in the rigorously formal setting of the courtroom, there are basically two ways of approaching the problem, and as long as lawyers remain diligent and respectful of the judge’s preferences, it shouldn’t pose too much of an issue. Ultimately, this issue is about accuracy and ensuring proper adjudication of the record.

If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to the Law Offices of Laura J. Morask