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Former Chicago Police Officer Sentenced in Shooting of Teens

Joliet criminal attorney

Police violence has become an extremely hot-button topic in recent years, with new examples seeming to make headlines on a regular basis. The issue has been further publicized by the protests during the national anthem by various professional athletes across the country. Advocates for reform maintain that police officers are often granted near-complete immunity from prosecution and bear little to no responsibility for their violent actions . Such was not the case, however, in an Illinois federal courtroom this week as a former member of the Chicago Police Department was sentenced to prison for an on-duty shooting.

Stolen Car Full of Teens

The shooting took place at 95th and LaSalle on Chicago’s South Side in December of 2013. According to court documents , the officer, now 42, arrived on the scene where a stolen Toyota was found packed with at least six teens. In the chaos, the driver of the car fled, and a BB gun fell out of the vehicle. One of the youths in the back seat leaned forward, put the car in reverse, and lunged to push the accelerator with his hands. Reports indicate that there nobody in the expected path of the car.

The remainder of the incident was recorded by a CPD dashcam. The video showed the officer as he stepped forward with his gun drawn. He then stepped back, and the car moved backward into view. The officer lifted his gun with two hands and appeared to fire. Prosecutors later claimed that the officer fired 16 shots at the car in a matter of nine seconds, wounding two of the teens.

Conviction and Sentencing

Following an investigation, the officer was charged in federal court with two counts of civil rights violations. Illinois law justifies the use of deadly force by a police officer when an officer reasonably believes that it is necessary to stop a suspect who “is attempting to escape by use of a deadly weapon.” Prosecutors, however, claimed that the officer behaved “like a cowboy” and that every shot fired was unreasonable and unnecessary. In August, the officer was found guilty and was sentenced this week to five years in federal prison.

The officer’s attorney stated that he believes his client was “sacrificed to the furor” of anti-police public sentiment. The judge rejected that notion, as did acting U.S. Attorney Joel Levin. “He was sentenced for his crimes,” Levin said. “He’s not a scapegoat.”

Have You Been a Victim of Police Misconduct?

While police shootings and brutal acts of violence make headlines, officers can violate a suspect’s rights in many other—often much subtler—ways. Police misconduct may include planted evidence, false testimony, illegal searches, and compromising a person’s right to an attorney. If you or someone you love has been arrested and you think the arresting officer did not behave properly, contact an experienced Will County criminal defense attorney . Call Law Office of Jack L. Zaremba at 815-740-4025 for a free consultation today.

What Is a Pedestrian E-Device Law?

Joliet criminal attorney

If someone asked if you knew what constituted an “E-device law,” one common answer might involve a discussion of an Illinois statute that requires drivers to use a cell phone only through use of a hands-free program. However, a growing number of cities throughout the United States are expanding these laws to pedestrians as well as drivers by making it illegal for pedestrians to cross the street while looking at the screen of their cell phone, tablet, or other electronic device.

Helping Keep Pedestrians Safe

Over the past few years, more municipalities across the country, as well as around the world, are taking steps to protect pedestrians who become distracted by their handheld electronic devices. Most recently, Honolulu, Hawaii became the largest U.S. city to pass such a law.

Honolulu enacted its Distracted Walking Law on July 6th, 2017, in response to the increasingly high rate of pedestrians being hit by cars. The only exception to the law would be if the user were dialing 911 to report an emergency requiring a police, fire department, or emergency medical response. Fines for violating the law increase exponentially with each subsequent offense.

Similar laws have been passed or are currently receiving consideration in other jurisdictions, including:

• Stamford, CT, is considering a law that would make it illegal to cross a street while texting.
• A recent survey reported that as many as two-thirds of Canadian citizens favored some measure of distracted walking laws in their city.
• A New Jersey proposal that would outlaw texting while walking in a roadway includes a 15-day jail term as one possible punishment.

What About Illinois?

At this time, there is no law that prohibits pedestrians from simultaneously using a handheld device while crossing a street on the books in Illinois. In fact, Illinois is one of the states that failed in an attempt to pass legislation that would control distracted walking.

However, the city of Chicago is considering a distracted walking ordinance that could result in fines as high as $500 for pedestrians who cross city streets while talking or texting on a cell phone. Ticketing would be left to the discretion of police.

When You Face Criminal Charges, Rely On an Experienced Joliet Traffic Defense Attorney

Before you appear in court in response to a ticket, summons, or traffic offense, it is important to retain knowledgeable and reliable legal counsel. Trust an experienced Will County defense lawyer to provide a thorough review of your case and thoughtful advice on the best way to proceed. The Law Office of Jack L. Zaremba will create an aggressive and appropriate defense for you. Contact our offices today at 815-740-4025 for an initial consultation.

Are You Liable if Your Child Commits a Crime

Joliet juvenile attorney

Long gone are the days when harmful and even illegal actions by underaged individuals would be dismissed as “boys will be boys” or some other equally cliched justification. In addition to the juvenile court system, some states are passing laws that apply penalties to parents for the actions of their children.

New York Law Targets Parents of Bullies
Recently, the city of North Tonawanda, NY, gained attention by adding bullying, harassment, and underage drinking to a law under which parents could be held liable for the actions of their children. The new law was proposed by a community coalition of parents and received support from local law enforcement and school officials.

The new law was modeled after a similar one adopted by a few Wisconsin towns. Advocates insisted the new law was needed in part because even when offenders are adjudicated delinquent, seldom are the consequences that enact change in their behavior. This law requires parents who might have previously preferred to turn a blind eye to their children’s behavior to take more responsibility in re-shaping that behavior. Parents there could receive up to 15 days in jail and a fine of up to $250.

Illinois Law Addressing Actions of Minors

Currently, Illinois has laws on the books that hold parents responsible for the actions of their minor children. The Parental Responsibility Law states that the parent(s) or guardian of an unemancipated minor can be held liable for damages caused by the wilful acts of the minor when those actions cause injury to another person or property. While the penalties under this Illinois law do not include parental incarceration, it is important to remember that the illegal acts of underaged individuals can have legal ramifications that extend beyond their own freedom and can affect other family members.

Retain the Counsel of an Experienced Will County Defense Attorney

When an underaged family member faces criminal charges, the effects can impact every other member of their household. In some cases, the actions of a juvenile can result in legal action against their parents. Regardless of the situation, it is important to retain experienced legal counsel. The guidance and advice of a knowledgeable Illinois criminal and juvenile defense attorney will ensure that your rights and those of your family members are protected throughout the legal process. The Law Office of Jack L. Zaremba provides a thorough review of your case while building an aggressive defense strategy. Contact our offices today at 815-740-4025 for an initial consultation.

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