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Chicago Criminal Defense Blog

Supreme Court ruling protects privacy of cell phone location data

Cell phone users in Illinois and nationwide gained a landmark ruling from the Supreme Court of the United States regarding the privacy of their cell site location information. Privacy advocates view the 5-4 decision as a landmark ruling that updates the Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable searches and seizures for the 21st century.

Telecom companies automatically collect and store location data gathered as cell phones connect with tower signals. Law enforcement agencies had been routinely accessing this data when investigating people suspected of crimes. The case that led to the decision involved a man who law enforcement tracked through his cell phone locations for 127 days. Their investigation resulted in his conviction for robbery. His defense team argued that the extensive and prolonged tracking of his every movement by law enforcement violated his Fourth Amendment rights.

Federal prosecutors charge 3 in Illinois with meth trafficking

A multi-agency investigation that included the Jacksonville Police Department, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service resulted in the arrest of 2 men and 1 woman in Jacksonville. All of them appeared in federal court, where the criminal complaint detailed their charges related to methamphetamine distribution.

The three people stood accused of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine as well as possession. The oldest among the defendants, a 40-year-old man, received additional firearms charges related to his felony record and possession of a gun during an alleged drug crime. The court continued to hold the men after their appearances, but the woman was released.

Problem of false identifications

In Illinois, some people have been exonerated after being wrongfully convicted of crimes that they did not commit. Some of these people were convicted after being falsely identified by witnesses. The problem of false identifications in criminal cases is widespread, affecting innocent people across the U.S.

According to the California Innocence Project, mistakes are often made with how the photo lineups are conducted by the police. The errors occur in both the photographic lineups and in-person lineups. Some police departments use photographic lineups of six people. Studies have shown that witnesses who are presented with six-person photo lineups tend to choose the person that they think looks the most similar to the person that they saw even if they are not certain that their choice is correct.

News of recent fraud trial and tips to avoid similar outcomes

In Illinois and all other states, if someone accuses you of fraud or some other criminal offense, you are guaranteed an opportunity to present as strong a defense as possible to try to avoid conviction or at least prevent long-term negative consequences if conviction is unavoidable. In fact, any number of issues may resolve the situation before it ever goes to trial, such as the court determining that not enough evidence exists to try you. If you go before a judge or jury, it still, by no means, constitutes guilt.  

If the court convicts you, your attorney can try to convince the judge to issue a lighter sentence. A judge may even deem it appropriate to sentence you to probation with no time in jail. One certainty in all criminal trials, including those involving fraud, is that you can never predict what the outcome will be. How well you understand your rights and the type of support you secure are likely to be key factors toward obtaining the best outcome possible in your situation.  

3 charged after police stop alleged drug deal

On May 23, Illinois authorities took two men and a woman into custody after Aurora police suspected that a drug transaction was in process. The two men were identified as 21-year-old Aurora residents while the woman was identified as a 21-year-old Geneva resident. A second woman, age 19, was not charged.

Authorities said that they received a report about suspicious activity occurring near the Arbor and Savannah Drives intersection at about 5:15 p.m. When they arrived at the scene, police found an unlocked and unoccupied gray Hyundai Accent nearby. The vehicle had purses and cellphones inside. A white Chevy Monte Carlo then arrived at the scene although it reportedly refused to stop when officers attempted to talk to the driver. Authorities followed the vehicle to a nearby home on Savannah Drive when a driver and a passenger exited the vehicle and attempted to flee.

Man and woman accused of trafficking meth and oxycodone

Agents from the West Central Illinois Task Force have reported the arrest of two out-of-state people on drug charges after monitoring the 900 block of Jefferson in Quincy. They initiated a traffic stop of a 2007 Dodge Nitro driven by a 39-year-old woman for an unspecified traffic violation. Her male passenger, 37, ran away from the vehicle. Police pursued him on foot and captured him.

The police searched the man and woman and the vehicle and reported finding 50 grams of methamphetamine and oxycodone pills. Authorities in Adams County Circuit Court used this evidence to charge the man and woman with the Class X felonies of methamphetamine trafficking and possession. The alleged presence of oxycodone produced charges for them of unlawful possession and an intent to deliver the prescription painkiller, which represents a Class 2 felony.

Southern Illinois Drug Task Force nets arrests

The spread of drug addiction in the past few decades have resulted in an increased number of drug enforcement actions in Illinois and across the U.S. Earlier this year, the Southern Illinois Drug Task Force conducted an investigation that led to the arrests of four people.

According to the SIDTF, a 30-year-old man from Salem was arrested for possessing methamphetamine with the intent to deliver it. A 27-year-old West Frankfort woman was arrested for possessing methamphetamine. A 39-year-old West Frankfort woman was arrested and charged with possessing marijuana with the intent to deliver. Finally, a 27-year-old Carterville man was arrested and is facing multiple charges, including aggravated fleeing and eluding, possession of marijuana and possessing a firearm as a convicted felon or gang member.

Insiders profit from government leaks

For corporate officials in Illinois and across the country, insider trading of securities opens one to prosecution and potentially serious consequences. Some federal prosecutors who have been heavily involved in major insider trading cases are now addressing the culture of leaks in the political system. Of particular concern is the political intelligence industry. Unlike traditional leaking of policy information to journalists, the industry pays for insider information in order to profit on the stock market.

It is well known that public policy decisions can have a major positive or negative impact on stock prices. Some hedge funds are reported to pay consultants who work in or around the federal government to leak information that they can use to make beneficial investing decisions based on these insider details. For example, one man, who consulted for a hedge fund after leaving a job in public health care administration, was charged with disclosing information about changing government payments to the fund. The fund then used this heretofore undisclosed information to make over $3.5 million in trading profits.

Teen faces drug charges after pizza parlor incident

A 19-year-old man was charged with possession of a controlled substance after he was seen snorting cocaine in the restroom of a pizza shop in Palos Hills, Illinois. He was also seen smoking marijuana in the beer garden at the same location with another individual. The man and the other individual were both escorted off the premises.

The man then threw a baggie of cocaine and the cannabis underneath his car, which resulted in police taking him into custody. Although his attorney claimed in court that the honor roll college student had no money for bond, it was set at $30,000. The judge in the case reasoned that if he had money for drugs, then he had money to get out of jail. His next court date was scheduled for April 12.

Global drug possession penalties vary widely

As in other regions of the country and places around the world, Illinois criminalizes the possession of designated controlled substances, often referred to as illegal drugs. The penalties for drug possession can vary significantly depending on the specific drug a person has as well as the amount that they possess and their previous record for drug charges. The charges could range from misdemeanor charges for possession of marijuana to felony charges for possession of cocaine, heroin or methamphetamine.

Every state sets its own criteria for drug crimes, including penalties for possession charges, leading to widely variant policies that differ from state to state. Of course, some drug offenses can also be federal crimes, but these usually reflect trafficking or manufacture allegations rather than simple possession. Debates over the best way to deal with drug offenses have become prominent nationally and internationally. In Illinois, marijuana has been largely decriminalized for personal recreational use and legalized for medical use, with many advocates pushing for full legalization.

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Law Offices of Damon M. Cheronis
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