Chicago Criminal Defense Blog

Effects of Illinois marijuana legalization

Starting in 2020, marijuana for recreational use for adults who are at least 21 will be legal in Illinois. The Illinois Cannabis Regulation and Taxation Act was signed by the governor on June 25. Illinois is now the eleventh state to make recreational marijuana legal. There are also medical marijuana laws in 33 states.

There is one major difference in the law in Illinois and those passed in other states. Criminal convictions for possessing under 30 grams of marijuana can be expunged under the new law. Furthermore, some taxes from marijuana sales are supposed to go toward groups who suffer adverse effects from enforcement of drug laws.

Several people accused of drug crimes after arrests

Five people have been accused of drug charges in Illinois after a police investigation of one bar in Rockford. According to local police, they received multiple complaints about drug distribution activity taking place on Rockford's North Madison Street, including at one local pub, Buster's Bar and Grill. A 38-year-old woman who works at the bar and lives on the block was investigated by police in the month before the arrests. They say that she was identified as playing a role in the alleged drug dealing activity, and at least one of the drug sales took place at the bar.

The other four people were accused by police of buying or selling drugs as part of the same activity. Police searched several homes in the area; they say that they confiscated two guns as well as substances they believe to be cannabis, cocaine and hydrocodone. In addition to the 38-year-old woman, a 26-year-old man, a 33-year-old man, and a 43-year-old man were arrested. Police said that they are still looking for another 35-year-old man. While the woman was charged with both possession of a controlled substance and delivery, two of the men were accused of possession of a controlled substance. The third man arrested was also charged with unlawful use of a weapon given his criminal record as well as possession with the intent to deliver cocaine and cannabis.

Drug addiction can cause financial hardships, legal concerns

Addiction is a serious disease that can have adverse effects on the user and his or her family. You may understand this more than most because you love someone who is struggling with drug addiction, and even though you want to help, you may find yourself feeling at odds about what to do.

In particular, you may not have realized what a financial toll your loved one's addiction would have on you. After all, you're not the one using or trying to obtain the substance. Still, your support of your loved one may have landed you in a difficult financial spot.

Former MillerCoors VP sentenced for wire fraud

A former vice president of Illinois-based MillerCoors was sentenced to three and a half years in prison on May 16 for defrauding the brewer out of about $8.6 million between 2003 and 2013. The 60-year-old man entered a guilty plea to one count of wire fraud as part of a plea agreement in May 2016, but his sentencing was delayed until the cases of seven other individuals involved in the scheme were resolved.

The single count of wire fraud could have resulted in a prison sentence of 20 years. Court papers reveal that the man received more lenient treatment because he provided what prosecutors referred to as substantial cooperation. The judge passing sentence also remarked that the man seemed to be genuinely remorseful. The U.S. attorney prosecuting the case is said to have asked the judge to send the man to prison for 64 months.

Bill introduced to legalize recreational marijuana in Illinois

Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker made the legalization of marijuana for recreational use a key part of his 2018 gubernatorial campaign, and he has made good on this election promise by supporting a bill that would allow adults over the age of 21 in the state to grow up to five plants in their homes or purchase the drug from licensed dispensaries. The measure was submitted to the Illinois General Assembly on May 7. The governor says that he hopes to be able to sign the bill into law by January 2020.

Passage of the bill could be a financial aid to a state struggling to cope with large budget deficits. The legislation would allow the state to tax marijuana sales at rates ranging from 10 to 25% based on the THC level of the marijuana sold, and cities and counties would be able to add their own taxes of up to 3 and 0.5%, respectively. The state's general revenue fund would receive at least 35% of the money raised. Experts believe that legalization will generate about $170 million in revenue each year.

Teen accuses Apple Inc. of filing false theft complaints

A recently filed lawsuit accuses Apple Inc. of using facial recognition technology to track the activities of shoplifters in Illinois and around the country. According to the lawsuit, the company used the controversial software to accuse an innocent New York teenager of stealing goods worth thousands of dollars from Apple Stores in Massachusetts, New Jersey and Delaware. The mix-up came to light when the teen was arrested in November 2018 by police in New York for stealing Apple Pencils and other items from the Boston Apple Store.

Police dropped the charges once it became clear that the teen was not the individual seen committing the crime on security camera footage. He was able to prove to police that he was attending a prom party hundreds of miles from Boston when the crime was committed. Theft charges against the teen have also been dropped in Delaware and Massachusetts.

Actress pleads guilty in college admissions case

Illinois residents may be aware that a few well-known people have been caught up in a college admissions scandal. Actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin are among dozens of parents who are accused of paying large sums to ensure that their children were accepted to some of America's most prominent schools. Court documents made public on April 4 reveal that Huffman is one of 14 defendants who have chosen to avoid a trial and plead guilty to charges such as conspiracy to commit fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering. This brings the total number of guilty pleas to 18, according to prosecutors.

The 56-year-old actress who is best known for her role on the ABC show 'Desperate Housewives" has admitted to paying $15,000 to improve her daughter's ACT score. In a statement made on the same day her guilty plea was announced, Huffman apologized for her behavior and the effect it will have on her daughter.

High-profile lawyer charged with extortion

For many people in Illinois, lawyer Michael Avenatti became a celebrity when he represented adult film star Stormy Daniels in her legal action against President Donald Trump. His representation of Daniels was accompanied by frequent press conferences and TV appearances. However, he is now facing charges after being arrested for extortion on March 25. Avenatti is accused of attempting to extort $25 million from Nike through threats to reveal some form of damaging information about the company. He is also facing separate federal charges, accused of embezzling one client's money in order to cover his own debts and of defrauding a bank.

Avenatti faces up to 100 years in prison if he is convicted on the white-collar crime charges; he could also be disbarred as a lawyer. According to the records of his arrest in New York, he was accused of seeking a $25 million payout from Nike and threatened to release information that sneaker company officials paid the families of leading high school basketball players. After his arrest, he was released after signing a $300,000 personal recognizance bond. He paid no cash bail; instead, if he fails to show up in court, he would be forced to forfeit this sum of money.

Wire fraud and identity theft most common white-collar crimes

A university study that examined federal prosecutions of white-collar crimes identified the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois as the location with the most white-collar cases per capita in January. Researchers drew upon data from the U.S. Department of Justice to measure prosecutions against people accused of various crimes like identity theft, wire fraud or embezzlement. Despite the spike in cases recorded in Illinois, these caseloads fluctuate. The southern district ranked as low as 51st among federal courts with white-collar cases a year ago.

Overall, the data revealed that prosecutions for this class of crimes have decreased by 35.7 percent compared to numbers from five years ago. The study presented a snapshot of the 337 new white-collar cases initiated by federal courts in January. Forty-two of them went to magistrate courts that process low-level misdemeanors, such as aggravated identity theft.

Jurors may bring their personal views when hearing a case

When defendants in Illinois go on trial for state or federal offenses, they often face a jury trial. Jurors' life experiences and opinions about society can often affect their decisions, for better or worse. One Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruling in February 2019 formalized the recognition of that reality, saying that members of juries cannot leave their world views outside the courtroom. Instead, the court argued that it was not desirable for jurors to ignore their own lived experiences.

The case began when a prospective juror was excused for cause after she said that she believed the criminal justice system was generally unfair to young black men. The trial was for a black man facing drug charges. The potential juror, who works professionally with teens and youth with a history of drug offenses and economic marginalization, said that she believed she could judge the case impartially. While the defendant's attorney objected, the judge dismissed the juror.

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