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b2ap3_thumbnail_shutterstock_633967292.jpgExcept in cases of murder, treason, arson and forgery, among others, the prosecution of crimes is restricted by a statute of limitations. This law sets a time limit under which law enforcement and prosecutors have to charge a suspect with a crime. Illinois made a change earlier this year when legislation was passed and signed that eliminated the statute of limitations for sexual assault and abuse committed against children. 

Reaction to Decades-Old Case Prompted Change

A once-prominent elected official  from the state of Illinois had sexually abused high school students during his time as a teacher and coach in the 1960s and 1970s. When it was learned that he would only face sentencing for financial-related crimes, citizens urged their legislators to make changes to state law. 

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criminal exoneration, Arlington Heights criminal defense, criminal lawyer, Chicago attorneyAccording to a report from the National Registry of Exonerations, last year, Illinois was the number two state in the nation which exonerated people who were wrongfully convicted of crimes. In 2013, the state exonerated 9 people, officially vindicated of the crimes for which they were convicted. Some of those who had been convicted had been in prison for decades for crimes they had never committed. The number one state with the most exonerations in 2013 was Texas, with 13 people absolved of their criminal convictions. New York followed with 8, California with 6, Michigan and Missouri were tied with 5. According to the registry, there have been 1,304 exonerations nationally since 1989. One third of the total number of exonerated cases was for crimes that didn’t actually happen. Almost half of these were for non-violent crimes. The racial/ethical breakdown was as follows: 47 percent of those exonerated were black, 40 percent were white, 11 percent were Hispanic and 2 percent were Native American or Asian. Ninety-two percent were men and eight percent were women. Eleven percent of those exonerated had pled guilty before trial. Eighty-one percent were convicted by a jury and seven percent convicted by a judge. One percent was unknown.

The total number for 2013 was 87, which was the highest year ever. However, the percentage of those exonerations based on DNA evidence dropped. A spokesperson from the registry said this decrease is a good indicator of the increasing number of convictions that are being granted that are for crimes other than murder and sexual assault.

 However, legal experts also point out that these figures also highlight the need for a good quality defense attorney. Almost one third of those exonerated were convicted due to what the registry refers to as an "inadequate legal defense." The total number of years combined that the 87 people whom were exonerated had spent a total of 12,500 years in jail for crimes they didn’t commit. If you’ve been arrested and charged with a crime, contact an experienced Arlington Heights criminal defense attorney to ensure that your rights are protected in the courtroom.

imsis520-024Each year, new laws are put in place to change certain behaviors and make the state of Illinois a better place to live.  Former State Representative and current Chicago alderman, Deb Mell, sponsored a bill that will try to keep the streets of Illinois clean.

Cigarette butts are a constant problem on the streets of Illinois.  Lori Gummow, the executive director of Keep Northern Illinois Beautiful, said that "cigarette butts are not biodegradable.  They’re made of cellulose acetate (a plastic). They get stuck in storm water sewers, and birds eat them and can’t digest them."  They might be small but they never go away.

Starting in 2014, cigarettes butts will be classified as litter thanks to an amendment to the Litter Control Act.  While the amendment was passed in August, the law itself won’t be policed until the beginning of 2014.

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cell phone and drivingIn August of this year, Governor Quinn passed a law to strengthen the ban against using cell phones while driving.  The hope was that a updated law would help curb the commonplace occurrence of people talking while driving.  Before this law was strengthened, it was already a law in downtown Chicago and 70 other communities in Illinois.

The update made a first time offense cost $75 if you are caught driving with a cell phone on your ear.  Each additional offense would result in an increased fine of as much as $150.  But the upgraded law makes using a cell phone a moving violation.  If you receive more than three in a year, you could lose your license.

Distracted driving also includes texting while driving. This practice has been illegal for many years. The penalty is higher than driving while on the phone.  The fine is $120. Now the new law also strengthens the definition of distracted driving.  Even if you are holding the phone in your hand, you could be charged with distracted driving.

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Posted on in DUI

A 20-year old East Alton woman who was arrested on DUI charges for the fourth time in three years faces a felony charge of aggravated driving under the influence.

KerryAccording to a report in the Herald Review, police responded to a car crash in Godfrey late Friday night. They found a wrecked car, which had left the road and hit a utility pole, but no driver. Police determined that Patsy Runyon was the driver of the vehicle and that she had fled the scene of the accident on foot.

They found Runyon shortly after responding to the scene and determined she was under the influence of alcohol. She was transported to an area hospital for a medical evaluation and cleared of any injuries. She also submitted to blood-alcohol testing. Runyon was then transferred to the Madison County Jail in Edwardsville, where she was held on $50,000 bond.

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