Blogs | Law Office of Jack L Zaremba

Blogs

Former Prosecutor Disbarred for Innocent Man on Death Row

Former ProsecutorTo many people, and especially those working toward the abolition of the death penalty in the United States, the application of capital punishment in the state of Texas represents a cause for serious concern. While proponents of the death penalty continue to point to the alleged deterrent factor, the danger of condemning the wrong person is one that is certainly very real. This week, a disciplinary committee upheld the disbarment of former prosecutor over actions that led to an innocent man spending more than a decade waiting to die for a crime he did not commit.

The criminal defendant at the center of the case was convicted and sent to death row for the deaths of six people in 1992. His conviction was overturned in 2006, but it took an additional four years to secure his release from prison, when a special prosecutor finally took a closer look at his case, declaring him to be innocent and deserving of freedom.

According to court documents, the prosecutor in the original trial not only withheld evidence that may have exonerated the defendant, but allowed—and even encouraged—witnesses to provide demonstrably false testimony. The prosecutor left his post as a county district attorney in 2000, and the State Bar revoked his law license last summer following an extensive investigation. The Board of Disciplinary Appeals recently upheld the disbarment, effectively ending the former prosecutor’s career.

Wrongful Convictions

In 2011, Illinois became the 15th to completely abolish capital punishment. Eliminating the death penalty, of course, does not end the possibility of wrongfully convicting a defendant. In fact, some would argue that the increased scrutiny inherent to capital cases makes wrongful convictions statistically more likely for less serious crimes.

No matter what the charge may be, there is nothing minor about a false accusation or a wrongful conviction. The penalties for any crime are extremely serious, obviously, but are all the worse if the defendant did not actually commit the offense for which he or she is being punished. That is why it is so important to enlist the assistance of a defense attorney who understands the law and how to protect your rights.

If you have been falsely accused of any type of criminal activity, there is no time to lose. Contact an experienced Joliet criminal defense lawyer right away. Attorney Jack L. Zaremba is a former prosecutor who understands the tactics and techniques that district attorneys and others will use to secure a conviction. He is ready to put that knowledge and skill to work on your behalf. Call 815-740-4025 to schedule your free initial consultation.

Aurora City Official Picked Up on Second Theft Charge in Three Years

Highland Park Gun Case Supreme CourtA simple look around any retail establishment will demonstrate the store’s concerns regarding shoplifting and retail theft. Conspicuously placed surveillance cameras, security tags, and other ant-theft devices are all designed to help reduce theft-related losses that cost retailers around the country hundreds of millions of dollars each year. In most communities, government officials and lawmakers continue to look for ways to help business owners and retail outlets protect their investments, but at least one such area representative seems to have a slightly different take on the matter.

Alderman Arrested Again

An alderman from the city of Aurora, Illinois, was arrested on misdemeanor shoplifting charges Sunday evening as she left a Meijer store on Route 59, according to police records. The woman, who represents Aurora’s 10th Ward on city council, was allegedly seen by store loss prevention personnel hiding more than $55.00 worth of merchandise in her purse, then leaving the store after paying for other items without ever opening her purse at the checkout.

Reports indicate that the woman was arrested outside the same store back in 2013, subsequently pleading guilty to retail theft for failing to pay for about $150.00 worth of grocery and health and beauty items. According to the Chicago Tribune, she was placed on court supervision for the offense, but when the charge came to light early last year, city officials called for her resignation. She declined to do so at the time, but with a second alleged offense following so closely, her future with the city government may be in jeopardy.

Retail Theft in Illinois>

In the state of Illinois, the seriousness of criminal charges for retail theft or shoplifting will vary depending upon the circumstances and the value of the merchandise in question. Charges can range from a Class A misdemeanor for theft of property valued at less than $300.00, to a Class 3 felony for a single theft of a property valued at more than $300, or a series of thefts that occurred over time valued at more than $300.00. Other factors, such as previous convictions of property crimes on the person’s record can also impact the classification of the charges and potential penalties.

If you have been charged with retail theft, it is important to seek legal counsel immediately so that your rights are not compromised in any way. Contact an experienced Joliet criminal defense attorney today to discuss your available options and find out how we are equipped to help you. Call the Law Office of Jack L. Zaremba at 815-740-4025 to schedule your free, confidential consultation with a lawyer who understands how to assist you in protecting your future.

How Secure Are Attorney-Client Communications in Prison?

Highland Park Gun Case Supreme CourtThe confidentiality of client-lawyer communications is bedrock constitutional right in our criminal justice system. However, recent revelations have shown cracks in the confidentiality of those communications when clients are in jail. Not everyone in jail has even been convicted of a crime; some are just unable to make bail and are awaiting trial.

The Securus Hack

Securus Technologies is the largest provider of telecommunication services to jails and prisons in the United States. A recent hack and data dump revealed that not only is Securus recording calls between clients and their lawyers—despite previous denials by the company—but that those recordings are not stored in a secure manner.

In a two-year period across 37 states, over 70 million calls were compromised. Of those calls, at least 14,000 calls were between lawyers and clients.

Issues With Other Forms of Communication

In this digital age, there are many ways for lawyers and clients to communicate. However, options for communicating with incarcerated clients are limited. Some jail and prison locations are too remote for frequent in-person visits.

Email is available in some federal facilities, but, generally, those communications are not confidential and are monitored by prosecutors. Regular mail is often too slow and inefficient. This leaves phone calls as one of the primary ways for lawyers to communicate with their clients in jails and prisons.

Why it Matters

The reason confidentiality between a lawyer and client is one of the most import and protected rights in our legal system is because it is impossible to do proper job of representing a client without it. If clients do not feel safe in telling their lawyer information, they may withhold important details that would be vital to their own defense. Confidential communications are not always about illegal activity.

Sometimes, a criminal defendant may be embarrassed by the facts of his or her case. But, if the client does not feel like they can trust that the communications will be kept confidential, they will be less willing to tell their lawyer everything. In cases involving organized crime or gangs, even seemingly innocent information could put clients and their family members in danger of bodily harm or death.

Have you been charged with a crime? You need to speak with a tough and experienced Joliet criminal defense lawyer. Do not talk to anyone about your case until you have spoken to a lawyer. You deserve to have someone in your corner, fighting for your rights. Call 815-740-4025 to schedule your free consultation at the Law Office of Jack L. Zaremba today.

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - blogs