An Illinois resident who knowingly helps or encourages another person to commit a crime may be an accomplice. However, this is generally only true if the individual knows what he or she is doing is wrong and has an intent to aid in the commission of a crime. There are several ways in which an individual may aid or abet a criminal.
Anyone, including Illinois residents, who becomes a defendant in the United States' criminal judicial system is entitled to adequate legal representation. Defendants must be provided with adequate counsel whether they are able to pay for it or not. It is a violation of the Sixth Amendment right to a fair trial when it can be demonstrated that a defendant did not receive adequate representation in a criminal trial or on appeal.
It can be frightening for a person to be charged with committing a sexual assault in Illinois. The potential consequences if a person is convicted of such offense may be very severe. Fortunately, there are a number of defenses that may be raised against sexual assault allegations. The appropriate defense will depend on the relevant facts of an individual case.
In Illinois criminal courts, a concept called mens rea may play a role in how a case is decided. The terms is Latin for guilty mind and tries to differentiate between crimes committed intentionally and acts that inadvertently led to a crime being committed. For instance, there is generally a difference between a driver hitting a pedestrian intentionally compared to someone who didn't see that person until it was too late.
According to a report from the National Registry of Exonerations, there were 149 people released from incarceration in 2015 after spending 15 years in prison on average for crimes that they did not do. This is a record number of exonerations, and many people in Illinois may be surprised to learn that five of these people were awaiting execution.
When people are suspected of committing a serious crime, police will sometimes interrogate them in the hopes of getting them to confess. A major problem with this is that some people will end up falsely confessing even though they are innocent.
Illinois residents may be aware that communications between lawyers and their clients are considered privileged, and they may also know that lawyers can face severe sanctions if they report things that they have been told by those they represent. While discussions between attorneys and their clients may be the most widely known form of privileged communication, a number of other relationships are afforded similar legal protection.
Illinois residents may not have heard that a number of wiretaps used since 2013 to arrest more than 300 people and seize drugs and cash may have been illegal. As many as 738 wiretaps were approved by lower-level attorneys between mid-2013 and late 2015 when according to federal law, wiretaps must be approved by a top prosecutor.
Drug overdoses are a serious problem in Illinois and around the country. Prosecutors are now using new strategies to combat these occurrences. After a fatal overdose, investigators may look at the victim's cellphone call logs and text messages to determine who was likely to supply the drugs. In some cases, this could lead to criminal charges for the dealer such as involuntary manslaughter.
Some Illinois residents are angered when they read about individuals who have caused fatal accidents receiving what appear to be extremely light sentences after entering into a plea agreement, but experts say that the criminal justice system would grind to a halt in a matter of days if every case went to trial. Plea bargains settle more than 90 percent of criminal cases in the United States, and the reason that they sometimes seem excessively lenient is because proving a criminal charge beyond reasonable doubt is difficult for prosecutors and defendants must be given a good reason to plead guilty.