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Chicago Police Investigating Officers for False Testimony

Criminal False Testimony

When you are accused of any type of criminal activity, your right to a fair trial is guaranteed by the Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. A fair trial presumes that everyone involved is invested in the equal application of the law, properly convicting the guilty, and acquitting those who are not guilty by legal standards. Of course, not every person will always tell the whole truth in court, even under oath. The concern becomes even more serious when the individual providing false, misleading, questionable testimony is an officer of the law. False testimony by police officers seems to be a fairly significant problem in Northern Illinois, as the Chicago Police Department has announced that six officers are now under investigation for false testimony regarding cases in which they were involved.

Investigative Reporting

The Chicago Tribune recently conducted an investigation which allegedly found more than a dozen examples of officers making false or questionable statements in court. This number does not include many more officers who may have created false reports but never testified in the courtroom. The involved cases ranged from large-scale investigations to small-time operations, and reportedly included testimony regarding a $50,000 brick of cocaine and a $30 bag of heroin. Some officers, according to the newspaper investigation, would even lie about the direction they were driving at a given time. Now, it appears, the Department is attempting to address the problem.

Promises of Action

“Police officers take an oath to enforce the law with the highest degree of honesty and integrity,” said a Chicago Police Department spokesman in a prepared statement. “And there is simply no tolerance or exemption for anything less.” The spokesman also confirmed that Internal Affairs is looking into the testimony of at least six officers. Depending upon the findings of the investigation, he said, the officers in question could face disciplinary action. The Department will also be conferring with prosecutors to determine the next steps in each case.

If the Chicago Police Department finds that any of the officers provided false testimony, it could call into question their credibility in any case on which they worked. It is difficult to say for sure how those other cases may be affected, but there is certainly cause for concern.

Get the Help You Need

Being accused of a crime is always serious. If you have been charged, however, based on a false report or statement made by a police officer, the road ahead can be even tougher. To discuss your case, contact a Joliet criminal defense lawyer. Attorney Jack L. Zaremba is a former prosecutor who knows the lengths to which some officers will go to secure a conviction no matter what the actual truth may be, and he is prepared to help protect your rights. Call 815-740-4025 to schedule your free initial consultation today.

Study Suggests Tests for Marijuana Impairment Not Based in Science

Joliet Marijuana DUI Lawyer

Even as Illinois lawmakers consider a bill that would, for the first time, provide a marijuana intoxication standard for charges of driving under the influence (DUI), a new study claims that the foundation for such standards is seriously flawed. The study even went so far as to suggest that setting legal limits of THC in a driver’s blood has no scientific basis and that comparing the effects of alcohol and marijuana on a driver’s ability to operate a vehicle safely is not an apples-to-apples comparison.

BAC and THC Levels

Across the country, a driver found to have a blood-alcohol content (BAC) of .08 is considered to be under the influence, as decades of research have supported a relationship between BAC levels and impairment. With the increase in legalized use of marijuana, including recreational use in several states and medical use in about two dozen, including Illinois, lawmakers and law enforcement officials have been looking for a similar way to relate marijuana impairment to a quantifiable standard.

Thus far, six states have enacted laws that base charges of DUI for marijuana on the levels of THC—the chemical in marijuana that produces the effects of the “high”—found in the driver’s blood. Similar measures are being considered in a number of other states, with one in Illinois expected by many to be passed soon. The Illinois law would set a DUI standard of 5 nanograms per milliliter of blood, while others around the country vary from state to state.

Troubling Research

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, an offshoot of the American Automobile Association, released a study this month that challenges the idea that a “quantitative threshold” can be effectively used to determine a driver’s level of impairment. Reviewing more than 5,000 case reports, the study found that quantitative analysis of THC levels would have misclassified a substantial number of drivers, either as impaired or as not impaired when a Standardized Field Sobriety Test (SFST) showed otherwise. In other words, many who failed the SFST would have been under the legal limit, while many who passed the SFST would have been well above the legal limit.

The Foundation recommends training law enforcement officers to detect driver impairment rather than relying on number-based standards that are not scientifically valid. It remains to be seen how, if at all, the study will affect public policy in the states with existing standards and those who are considering enacting them.

Charged With Drugged Driving?

If you are facing charges of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, you need an attorney who is ready to fight for you. Contact experienced Joliet criminal defense lawyer Jack L. Zaremba today to schedule your free consultation. He will meet with you to discuss your case and help you find a resolution that protects your rights and your future.

Domestic Violence Defined: What Does Illinois State Consider Abuse?

Joliet Domestic Violence Lawyer

Domestic violence is among one of the most controversial topics in both public and private arenas and is a serious matter throughout the world of criminal law. Every state enforces different laws to address domestic abuse, but there are certain circumstances that are considered to be criminal offenses across the United States, regardless of where you live. All are direct threats to a person’s physical, mental, and emotional well-being.

Is It Really Abuse?

The state of Illinois recognizes that domestic violence comes in many forms. Words hurt, as does mental agitation, manipulation, and any act that forces a person to experience something against their will. Any of the following circumstances are considered by the state to be valid, serious cases of abuse:

• Harassment - Stalking, following, or watching someone to the point where they are uncomfortable, unable to function, or go about their day normally are all forms of harassment. If it interferes with someone’s personal space, distracts them from work or other important obligations, or negatively impacts them emotionally or physically, it is a crime.
• Physical Acts - Physically restraining someone from entering or leaving a space, hitting, punching, kicking, pushing, or forcing someone to have sexual intercourse through coaxing or physical force are all valid domestic violence offenses.
• Forced Will - If someone forces you, a child, or other family member to witness any form of abuse, including physical, verbal, and sexual abuse, then it is considered domestic violence. These actions invoke terror using intimidation and fear tactics in order to exert power and control over an individual.

Other serious domestic violence criminal offenses include the mistreatment of the disabled and elderly. If someone denies a disabled person access to the care they need or prevents an ill family member from getting the help they need to manage their symptoms or take care of their health, they are abusing that individual.

Does It Count?

If a family or household member has initiated or engaged in domestic abuse, then Illinois law considers it a crime. Spouses, former spouses, parents, siblings, or anyone who at one point shared a home together or might potentially share a child together are considered to be a part of the “household.” Even two people who are dating and not married are considered by law to be a part of a “household” if one of the partners commits an act of violence against the other.
Domestic violence is a crime that has far-reaching consequences and long-lasting effects on its victims, but Illinois criminal law has evolved since the enactment of the Illinois Domestic Violence Act of 1986. The law has made it possible for police officers to better protect victims, their family members, and anyone else impacted by the abuse at the scene of the crime.

Facing Domestic Violence Charges?

If you have been accused of domestic battery or any other criminal offense related to domestic violence, contact an experienced Joliet criminal defense attorney. As a former prosecutor, Attorney Jack L. Zaremba understands the justice system and is prepared to provide you with an aggressive, responsible defense against any and all charges. Call 815-740-4025 to schedule a free, confidential consultation today.

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