Articles Posted in Weapons Charges/UUW

In a recent Illinois appellate decision, the defendant was convicted for being an armed habitual criminal and sentenced to eight years in prison. He appealed, arguing that he wasn’t proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt for the offense of armed habitual criminal, and the armed habitual criminal statute was not unconstitutional because it potentially criminalized totally innocent actions. The case arose when two officers were patrolling. They heard a car alarm go off and found the car that was the source of the alarm. Nearby in another car, a couple was sitting in a parked car. The smell of marijuana was coming from the car. When he saw the officers come into the parking lot, the defendant left the front seat of the car and stood by it. The officer testified he’d left his own car and come up to the defendant. As he came closer, h...

In a recent Illinois appellate case, the defendant was convicted of first-degree murder under 720 ILCS 5/9-1(a)(1) and sentenced to natural life imprisonment. The defendant and several others were charged with six counts of first-degree murder in connection with the strangulation deaths of two men. The case arose when the defendant’s father called the police to report two dead people in a residence occupied by a woman and her father. When the police came, the woman said there were two people hiding in the house. A cop found one of the hiding men upstairs with the bodies, which were face down with plastic bags over their heads. The man who was found said he’d killed one man, and the other man who was hiding had killed the other one. The defendant wasn’t at the residence but was driving elsewhere. She was stopped and taken into cust...

In a recent Illinois appellate case, the defendant was convicted of first-degree murder under 720 ILCS 5/9-1(a)(1) and sentenced to natural life imprisonment. The defendant and several others were charged with six counts of first-degree murder in connection with the strangulation deaths of two men. The case arose when the defendant’s father called the police to report two dead people in a residence occupied by a woman and her father. When the police came, the woman said there were two people hiding in the house. A cop found one of the hiding men upstairs with the bodies, which were face down with plastic bags over their heads. The man who was found said he’d killed one man, and the other man who was hiding had killed the other one. The defendant wasn’t at the residence but was driving elsewhere. She was stopped and ta...

In a recent Illinois appellate case, the defendant appealed after being convicted of armed robbery, which is a Class X felony.  He was sentenced to 21 years in prison, which is the six-year minimum plus a 15-year enhancement for using firearms.  He was indicted based on a theory of accountability.  Prosecutors claimed he knowingly took money from the victim’s person by threatening the use of force while carrying a firearm. The defendant was separately charged with attempted armed robbery, and he pled guilty to that charge. He was admonished of his right to a jury trial, and he agreed to waive his right. The case at hand was set for a jury trial, but a few months before the trial, the defense attorney told the court that sentencing in the attempted armed robbery case was supposed to occur on the same day. The defen...

A decision this week out of the Court of Appeals of the Sixth Circuit has added fuel to a new front to the 2nd Amendment debate.  Under federal law, certain groups, or classes of people, are barred from owning a firearm. Those groups include convicted felons, fugitives and people with a prior history of domestic batteries.  The case decided this week in the Sixth Circuit deals with a provision in the law which bars people who have been committed to a mental institution from owning a firearm.  The law allows an individual to appeal for relief from the prohibitions imposed by this law to the Attorney General of the United States. The Attorney General has delegated the authority to investigate such petitions to the Director of the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms.   This appeal process is called the “relief from disabilities ...

In April of this year, the United States Supreme Court handed down a decision in Rodriguez v. United States which places serious limitations on traffic stops conducted by the police. In Rodriguez the Supreme Court ruled that the police cannot extend the duration of a traffic stop, even for a “de-minimis” amount of time, without reasonable suspicion for reasons unrelated to vehicle and driver safety.  A police officer stopped Rodriguez for driving on the shoulder in Nebraska.  After the officer did everything related to the stop, including checking his license, insurance and issuing a warning, he asked Rodriguez if he would give him permission to walk his dog around his vehicle to check for the presence of drugs.  When Rodriguez refused, the officer told him to wait until a second squad car arri...

The gun violence in Chicago has been the source of concern among the citizens and politicians in Illinois for a long time.  Every day we are inundated with news of shootings and homicides throughout the City. When the weather heats up we know that the number of shootings will go up.  On Monday morning we open the paper to find out how many people were shot and how many were killed over the weekend.  In the effort to come up with a way to stop all the shootings, we need to understand how illegal guns are making their way to the streets of Chicago.  Illinois has some of the most restrictive gun laws in the United States.  To own a gun in your home, Illinois requires that you get a Firearm Owners Identification (FOID) Card which requires that a thorough background search be conducted by the Illinois State Police.  FOID c...

Yesterday 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 prohibition...

In a 7 to 4 decision, an en banc panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that there is no 2nd Amendment right to carry a concealed firearm, meaning that the states can prohibit or restrict the public from carrying concealed firearms.  The case is Peruta v. County of San Diego. The case involved a requirement in San Diego County that in order to obtain a license to carry a firearm citizens had to prove “good cause” to carry a firearm. The Plaintiffs challenged the requirement by arguing that the county did not consider the general right to self defense as enough to obtain a license to carry a concealed firearm.  The case was decided by the entire panel of 9th Circuit Judges.  The majority found that there is no right to carry a conceal firearm in the 2nd Amendment.  In the majority opinion, the c...

Last week the Illinois Court of Appeals held that in order to enter a residence without a warrant, the police need consent or demonstrate that an exception exists.  The case is People v. Swanson, 2016 IllApp (2d) 150340.  On the evening of January 7, 2015, Scott Swanson met a friend at a bar in Hinckley, Illinois. Swanson drank about 3 beers at the bar and left in his vehicle to go home.  It was icy outside with snow patches.  When he was roughly 2 miles from his home his car slid into a ditch, hit a stop sign, the airbags deployed and he cut his finger.  His vehicle could not start so he tried to call home but was unsuccessful.  It was below zero outside so he locked his vehicle and set out on foot to go home.  About a mile from the incident, he came upon the home of the Thompson family and knocked o...