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.

Retrial Ordered in Fatal Police Shooting

Joliet fatal police shootingEarly this week, a federal judge imposed sanctions against the city of Chicago and one of its veteran attorneys for concealing evidence in a trial concerning a fatal police shooting from 2011. The attorney resigned just hours later but, along with the city, has been ordered to pay attorney’s fees to the plaintiffs that will likely total hundreds of thousands of dollars. Only then can a retrial take place, as the family of the shooting victim seeks damages from the Chicago Police Department and the city.

Overturning the Verdict

Last March, in the original trial, a federal jury found in favor of the Chicago PD officers who shot the man, concluding the shooting was justified. The officers had testified that the man had been pulled over because his vehicle matched a description that was given over their police radios of a car connected to an earlier shooting. Court records indicated, however, that the officers could not have heard the report as they claimed because it aired in a different zone. The attorney in question admitted during the trial that he had failed to turn over a recording of the dispatch the officers actually did hear. When pressed by the judge, the attorney acknowledged that he knew about the recording prior to the trial but did not really think it would be helpful to the plaintiffs.

In his ruling this week, the U.S. District Judge said that the attorney “intentionally concealed” the recording, and then attempted to mislead the court about his reasons for doing so. The ruling is the second in seven months in which the city’s Law Department has been sanctioned and retrial been ordered in a police misconduct lawsuit.

Concerning Trends

There are, of course, a growing number of people who believe that the incidents are not isolated, and, in fact, are more likely a systemic problem. “This has been a long-standing problem that is just now getting recognition,” said one attorney close to the case. “The city has been placed on notice that it has to do a better job and play fair.”

For his part, the judge recognized the difficulty inherent to discovery requests for such a large police department, but that it is all the more the reason to have better procedures. “Failing to do so,” he wrote, “will cost even more in the long run, not just in dollars.”

Legal Assistance

If you have been charged with a crime and you believe that police misconduct may have taken place, you need a lawyer who is fully committed to protecting your rights. Contact an experienced Joliet criminal defense attorney at the Law Office of Jack L. Zaremba. Mr. Zaremba is a former Will County prosecutor who understands how the system works and he recognizes the importance of an aggressive, comprehensive defense. Call 815-740-4025 to schedule your free initial consultation today.


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