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Juvenile Defendants and Jury Trials

joliet juvenile lawyer

Having the option of being tried in court before a jury of one’s peers is a right our country’s justice system guarantees. However, in most cases involving juvenile crime , the opportunity to seek a jury trial is not offered in Illinois. This policy was recently upheld by the state’s Supreme Court.

First Time Offenders

In Illinois, the rules pertaining to hearings for juvenile offenders are different depending on the criminal history of the defendant. Those rules were challenged when a Cook County Circuit Court Judge ordered a jury trial for a juvenile defendant charged in the shooting death of another teen.

In Illinois, jury trials are afforded to juvenile offenders with a history of repeat or violent offenses. First time offenders do not have the option of jury trials. An initial ruling in this case found part of that Illinois law unconstitutional. In ruling on an appeal, the Illinois Supreme Court issued an opinion that the statute pertaining to jury trials for repeat offenders was distinctive enough from those pertaining to juveniles with no previous criminal history.

Since the incident in question occurred, the juvenile charged in the shooting has been held by the state. One possible outcome, if convicted, would see her released in one year, since the nearly five years which she has been in custody would count toward a sentence.

Repeat Offenders Receive Harsh Sentences

It has been widely reported that detainees in some Illinois juvenile detention facilities are being charged with felonies for reported attacks on staff members. In many cases, those detainees receive sentences that result in a transfer into the state’s adult prison system, where they serve out those sentences.

This is in stark contrast to a downstate teen who received probation and community service and was ordered to pay restitution for throwing a punch that ended up killing another teen while both attended a party.

Work with an Experienced Will County Juvenile Crimes Defense Lawyer

If your son or daughter is under the age of 18 and facing a juvenile court hearing, it is important to protect their rights, while understanding the juvenile justice system. A delay in retaining the help of a knowledgeable Joliet juvenile crimes defense attorney could cost more than just money; it could also cost your child their freedom. When you need an attorney who provides thorough and aggressive representation, contact the Law Offices of Jack L. Zaremba, P.C to schedule a free consultation and learn how we can put our resources to work for you. Call 815-740-4025 today to speak with an experienced Illinois juvenile crimes defense lawyer.

Holiday Season Causes Uptick in Shoplifting

joliet shoplifting attorney

Shoplifting can be detrimental to business owners, as billions of dollars’ worth of merchandise are stolen from retail stores every year. Often, the holiday season is the time of year when shoplifting is especially problematic. In a season that lasts just over a month, shoplifters cost retail stores approximately $6 billion. The toll is especially hard on large retailers like Walmart, Macy’s, Target, and Gap.

Why Shoplifting is Worse During This Time of Year

The holiday season is the time when many retailers make a large percentage of their annual sales—as much as one-third of the year’s entire revenue. However, the winter holidays are also the time of year when retailers incur 37 percent of their annual shrink loss.

During the winter shopping season , the average store’s product mix changes considerably. More expensive merchandise is often displayed to entice holiday shoppers and encourage impulse buys. With more valuable items available, shoplifters are also more tempted. This also means that even if the same quantity of items is stolen during the holiday season, those items cost more on average. Consequently, stores end up losing more through theft than at other times of the year. The increase in shoplifting can also be linked with the overall surge of shoppers. More foot traffic in a given store often correlates to more stealing.

Some shoplifters who steal during this time of year are also more likely to rationalize their behavior. They may convince themselves they are stealing because their child’s Christmas is at stake rather than for financial or personal gain. Such justifications, obviously, do not hold up in court when that person is arrested for retail theft.

The merchandise loss for retailers in the US was $132 per person in 2016, with similar numbers forecasted for 2017. Of that total, about $50 per person is expected to be incurred during the holiday season. These losses place an enormous burden on retailers and result in stores being forced to raise their prices in order to cover their losses. This ultimately means that shoplifting costs honest shoppers who pay for it in higher prices.

Caught Shoplifting?

Petty theft and shoplifting are often dismissed as insignificant crimes because they involve taking something of relatively little value. However, the consequences can be significant. At The Law Office of Jack L. Zaremba, we know that sometimes good people make poor choices. If you have been charged with shoplifting or retail theft, you need an experienced Joliet criminal defense attorney to protect your rights, while building an aggressive defense strategy on your behalf. Contact our office today at 815-740-4025 to schedule a free consultation.

No Fence Neighborhoods. Know Before You Buy.

joliet real estate attorney

“Why can’t I have a fence around my property? The village said it is OK!”

As a real estate attorney for over 13 years, this has been the question I have been asked more than any other question in my career. I am always asked this question after a purchase has closed, and the new homeowner was not advised of the fence prohibition prior to closing. Occasionally my assistance is requested after the homeowner has installed a fence and the association is now attempting to enforce the "no fence" restriction after years have passed and many fences have been installed throughout the subdivision. Unfortunately my answer usually confirms that fences are not legally allowed, and if a fence has been installed where fences are prohibited, a law suit against the homeowner to remove it would be successful. To make matters worse, to fight it and defend the law suit to remove a fence may mean paying the legal fees for both parties if you lose.

Generally, when you purchase a property, it is yours, and you may use it as you please, subject to applicable legal restrictions. Most people are aware of applicable federal, state and local (city or village) statutes as setting forth those legal restrictions. There is one other major source of legal restrictions, however, and those are private restrictive covenants. Often there is a separate document providing the restrictive covenants for a whole neighborhood, but private restrictions may be in a deed for the benefit of only one other owner. Typically these legal restrictions are not only enforceable in court, they are enforceable by specific performance, meaning a judge can order compliance and order an owner to remove a fence that violates applicable covenants.

What is the solution? KNOW BEFORE YOU BUY!

If you are looking in a subdivision and there are no fences (except around pools), have your agent find out what the rules are in the subdivision. If fencing your yard is a priority, have your attorney confirm that fences are permitted in the subdivisions where you are looking to purchase, even if it appears fences are permitted.

Purchasing or selling real estate in Will County? Contact Ann Zaremba today at 815-740-4025 or via email

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