Articles Posted in Assault & Battery

caution tapeA recent Illinois appellate case involved first-degree murder and aggravated battery with a firearm conviction. The case arose when the defendant fatally shot one victim and tried to kill the other. He was charged with first-degree murder, aggravated battery with firearm, and attempted murder. Before trial, the prosecution filed two motions to admit evidence of other crimes by the defendant. One involved the defendant shooting someone in the back.

The other motion said that the defendant had talked about a pending murder case with his cellmate, and the defendant approached the cellmate with a list of witnesses, asking the cellmate to take care of them. The cellmate thought this meant the defendant wanted them killed, and he gave the list to the sheriff. The investigator assigned an officer to pretend to be a hit-man and taped a phone call in which the defendant asked the undercover officer to come to the jail, where he asked the undercover officer to get rid of the witnesses. The prosecution wanted to use evidence of these events to show the defendant was conscious of his guilt.

The trial court found that the evidence related to the shooting of a bicyclist in the back was admissible to prove identity. It also held that the evidence of soliciting murder could be admitted to prove consciousness of guilt. The bicyclist testified that he’d known the defendant for three years at the time he was shot in the back.

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unnamedYesterday the United States Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal from the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals which upheld gun laws in New York and Connecticut which bans military assault style weapons, like the ones used in Sandy Hook in 2012, Santa Barbara a few months ago, and Orlando last week.  The gun laws in question were enacted by New York and Connecticut in 2012 after the school shooting in Sandy Hook Connecticut which took the lives of 20 young children and 6 teachers.  Gun rights advocates filed suit alleging that the prohibitions violated the 2nd Amendment and prior Supreme Court precedent which upheld the right of the public to own firearms for self protection.

The 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals, which covers New York and Connecticut, found in favor of the states and upheld the laws which enacted gun prohibitions.  The gun rights activists appealed to the United States Supreme Court.  Yesterday, the Supreme Court refused to hear the appeal, without comment, which has the effect of upholding the ban on assault weapons.  The decision keeps the prohibitions in New York and Connecticut, thought to be the most strict in the country, in place.  This decision sends many signals about the Supreme Court’s attitude towards guns.  First, the Court seems to be unwilling to get too involved in the public debate over guns.  Second, it appears as if the Supreme Court will allow for the banning of assault-style weapons.

The Court seems to see the laws enacted by states as more of a political decision and does not want to get involved in decisions made by legislatures and politicians.  Finally, it seems as if the Supreme Court has made it pretty clear that the right to own a firearm is not absolute and will uphold reasonable restrictions.  And when it comes to what is reasonable seems to be something that the Court is likely to leave to the individual states to decide. This decision is not surprising.  Last December the Supreme Court did the same thing involving a similar ordinance in Highland Park, Illinois, which banned assault weapons.  They refused to hear the appeal of a 7th Circuit Court of Appeals decision which upheld the ordinance.  In 2008, in District of Columbia v. Heller, the Supreme Court upheld the right to own firearms inside one’s home for self defense.  But the decision only applied to federal regulations.  In 2012, in McDonald v. City of Chicago, the Supreme Court held that Heller applied to the states.  Since then the Supreme Court has refused to overturn any statute which established restrictions on the right to own a firearm.  The closest they have come to doing this was in March of this year when they overturned a Massachusetts decision which held that stun guns were not protected by the 2nd Amendment and returned the matter to the lower courts for further proceedings.

Domestic BatteryAn Introduction to Domestic Battery in Illinois

A criminal charge of Domestic Battery is a very serious offense in Illinois.  In recent years, public attention has been focused on Domestic Violence.  I noticed the increased attention on Domestic Violence after the infamous OJ Simpson case.  State legislatures throughout the United States have passed laws which seek to punish crimes like this more severely and to try to put an end to this crime. This is true in Illinois as well.  Laws have been changed to make it easier for a spouse to obtain an Order of Protection.  Laws have been enacted to require the placement of GPS tracking devices on people have been ordered to stay away from victims, penalties for people convicted of Domestic Battery have been stiffened to impose harsher penalties on people convicted of Domestic Battery. Local prosecutors offices have established units within their offices that specialize in prosecuting domestic battery crimes and specific courtrooms have been established in most counties that only handle cases like this.

This article will discuss what the crime of Domestic Battery involves and the possible penalties.