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The Attorney General filed a complaint in which Count IV alleged that Wildermuth, an attorney, and Kleanthis, a veteran of the real estate business, engaged in acts and practices that violated section 3-102 of the Illinois Human Rights Act by a pattern and practice of discrimination in the offering of loan modification services to Illinois consumers. The complaint alleged that defendants advertised that they would succeed where other loan modification providers had failed, help consumers save their homes and obtain significant reductions in their monthly payments. The circuit court of Cook County denied defendants’ motion to dismiss but certified for interlocutory appeal the question: “Whether the State may claim a violation under the Illinois Human Rights Act pursuant to a reverse redlining theory where it did not allege that the defendant acted as a mortgage lender.” The appellate court answered the question in the affirmative. The Illinois Supreme Court affirmed in part, stating that it is not necessary to allege that one is a mortgage lender to sustain a claim for a violation of the statute. The court concluded, nonetheless, that Count IV should have been dismissed, rejecting the state’s argument that the defendants engaged in a “real estate transaction” by providing “financial assistance for ... maintaining a dwelling.” Defendants’ services cannot be considered necessary; they were not “necessary conduits” through which funds flow, nor did they act as real estate brokers. View "Madigan v. Wildermuth" on Justia Law

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Gray and Carthon spent an evening drinking. The two had been friends for 20 years and had dated each other exclusively for two years, 15 years ago. The two regularly spent the night together and, on the night in question, had sex. In the morning, Gray began strangling Carthon and stabbed her with a knife. Gray was convicted of aggravated domestic battery (720 ILCS 5/12-3.3), after arguing that he wounded Carthon in self-defense. The appellate court held that the statutory definition of “family or household members,” as including “persons who have or have had a dating or engagement relationship. ... For purposes of this Article, neither a casual acquaintanceship nor ordinary fraternization between individuals in business or social contexts shall be deemed to constitute a dating relationship,” violated substantive due process as applied to defendant. The Illinois Supreme Court reversed the appellate court, first rejecting Gray’s challenge to the sufficiency of the evidence. The court applied the rational basis test, reasoning that the statutory definition does not deprive Gray of a fundamental right. The absence of a time limit on former dating relationships, as applied to the instant case, was reasonable and rationally related to the statutory purpose of curbing domestic violence. View "People v. Gray" on Justia Law

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Holman, then age 17, was convicted of the 1979 murder of an 83-year-old woman. Holman had a criminal history as a juvenile and confessed to his involvement in a crime spree that involved other murders. He had been diagnosed as mildly mentally retarded.Holman’s attorney told the court that Holman did not want to offer any mitigating evidence and that Holman’s mother did not want to testify on his behalf. Holman received a sentence of life without parole. His appeal and post-conviction petitions were unsuccessful. In 2010, Holman filed a pro se petition for leave to file a successive postconviction petition, arguing that his life sentence was unconstitutional under Supreme Court precedent. The appellate court rejected that argument because it was not raised before the trial court and noted that the sentence was not unconstitutional under Miller v. Alabama (2012) because Holman was “afforded a ‘sentencing hearing where natural life imprisonment [was] not the only available sentence.’ ” The Illinois Supreme Court held that Miller announced a new substantive rule of constitutional law that applied retroactively. On remand, the appellate court reached the merits, recognized that Supreme Court precedent requires trial courts to consider youth and its attendant characteristics before imposing life sentences on juveniles, and concluded that the trial court in this case did so. The Illinois Supreme Court affirmed the denial of relief. The trial court looked at the evidence and concluded that Holman’s conduct placed him beyond rehabilitation; his sentence passes constitutional muster. View "People v. Holman" on Justia Law

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Wright, charged with armed robbery with a firearm (720 ILCS 5/18-2(a)(2)), refused to agree to continuances so his public defender withdrew. Before being allowed to represent himself, Wright was admonished by the court (Illinois Supreme Court Rule 401(a)) that he was charged in two different cases and could possibly be sentenced to consecutive sentences of 21-45 years in prison for each conviction. After the state informed the court that he was eligible for a maximum sentence of 60 years because of his criminal background, the court admonished Wright accordingly. Wright reiterated that he wanted to proceed pro se. The court later admonished him again that he faced concurrent sentences of 21-60 years. The court allowed Wright to proceed pro se. Wright was convicted. At sentencing, the state indicated that Wright was eligible for a maximum sentence of 75 years but sought the imposition of a 60-year sentence. The court imposed a 50-year sentence. The appellate court reversed based upon this incorrect admonishment. The Illinois Supreme Court reinstated the trial court decision. Despite its incorrect statement of the maximum potential sentence, the court substantially complied with Rule 401(a). Wright made a voluntary, knowing, and intelligent waiver of counsel. The court also rejected arguments that deceptive evidence was presented to the grand jury; that the evidence concerning the gun was insufficient; that the court erred in excluding the hearsay statement of Wright’s codefendant about a BB gun; and concerning jury instructions defining “firearm.” View "People v. Wright" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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On May 9, the Hospital's mental health facility director filed a petition seeking emergency inpatient admission of Linda under 405 ILCS 5/3-600, stating that Linda was admitted on April 22. Section 3-611 provides: “Within 24 hours, excluding Saturdays, Sundays and holidays, after the respondent’s admission ... the facility director … shall file 2 copies of the petition ... with the court … the court shall set a hearing to be held within 5 days … after receipt of the petition. On June 11, the court held a hearing. Testimony focused on the fact that Linda had been admitted to a medical unit with medical problems but, while there, received psychiatric care. The court granted the petition. The appellate court first noted that Linda’s 90-day hospitalization had ended, rendering the appeal moot, but applied the public interest exception to mootness. The court determined that Linda’s “physical” admission to the hospital was not synonymous with “legal” admission and the medical floor, arguably, was not a “mental health facility” under the statute, so the petition was timely. The Illinois Supreme Court affirmed. The court disagreed with the distinction drawn between the medical floor and the mental health unit but reasoned that legal status may change while one is in a mental health facility. Linda did not demonstrate that her physical entry into the facility and her initial treatment were involuntary and, therefore, did not establish that the petition was not timely. View "In re Linda B." on Justia Law

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Drew Peterson, was found guilty of the first-degree murder of his third ex-wife, Kathleen Savio and sentenced to 38 years’ imprisonment. Savio’s body was discovered in her bathtub in 2004 and her death was initially determined to be an accidental drowning. After the disappearance of Peterson’s fourth wife, Stacy, Savio’s body was exhumed and the cause of death was determined to be a homicide. The appellate court and Illinois Supreme Court affirmed Peterson’s conviction and sentence, noting that there was no challenge to the sufficiency of the evidence. The courts upheld the admission at trial of testimony about prior bad acts and of testimony about hearsay statements made by Savio and Stacy. The court applied the forfeiture by wrongdoing doctrine, which permits the introduction of an absent witness’s statements where the defendant engaged in conduct designed to prevent the witness from testifying. The court rejected arguments that counsel rendered ineffective assistance when he called attorney Smith as a witness at trial, to testify about Smith’s conversation with Stacy concerning Peterson’s involvement in Savio’s death and that Smith’s testimony should have been barred by the attorney-client privilege. Defense counsel was not operating under a per se conflict of interest despite having signed a media contract. View "People v. Peterson" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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Petitioner, charged with six counts of violating an order of protection and two related counts of witness harassment, pleaded guilty to two charges with the understanding that the others would be dropped and his sentences would be served concurrently. On witness harassment, a Class 2 felony, he was sentenced to five years in prison plus two years of mandatory supervised release (MSR). For violation of an order of protection, a Class 4 felony, he was sentenced to three years in prison. A sentence for violating an order of protection must include a four-year MSR term, 730 ILCS 5/5-8-1(d)(6), but no term of MSR connected to that conviction was mentioned during plea negotiations, the sentencing hearing, or in the sentencing order. Petitioner completed his prison sentences on September 23, 2015. He was “violated at the door” for failure to identify a suitable host site for electronic monitoring. He had accrued day-for-day credit for serving MSR while incarcerated. His two-year MSR term was to end on December 23, 2016, but the government asserted that his sentence included a four-year MSR term by law that did not start until after the five-year prison sentence, giving him a discharge date of December 23, 2017. The Illinois Supreme Court held that the MSR term is included in the sentence as a matter of law and that the failure to include it in the sentencing order does not invalidate the sentence. Although neither the prosecutor nor the court could allow petitioner to avoid the MSR term, the parties believed petitioner was pleading guilty in exchange for a sentence of seven years in custody and two years of MSR. However, petitioner declined an opportunity to withdraw his guilty plea and has not proven a right to have his sentence reconfigured. View "Round v. Lamb" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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Defendant was arrested when a Chicago police officer observed a revolver in defendant’s waistband. Police discovered that defendant lacked a Firearm Owner’s Identification (FOID) card. Defendant was charged: Counts I and III alleged that defendant carried a loaded, uncased, immediately accessible firearm (720 ILCS 5/24-1.6(a)(1), (a)(3)(A); (a)(2), (a)(3)(A)), and counts II and IV alleged that he did so without a FOID card (720 ILCS 5/24-1.6(a)(1), (a)(3)(C); (a)(2), (a)(3)(C)). After defendant’s arrest, the Illinois Supreme Court issued its 2013 “Aguilar” decision, holding that section 24-1.6(a)(1), (a)(3)(A), (d)(1) was facially unconstitutional because it violated the right to keep and bear arms, as guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. The state entered a nolle prosequi on counts I and III. The circuit court granted defendant's to quash his arrest and suppress evidence with respect to counts II and IV on the ground that the officer only had probable cause to believe defendant was violating the statutory sections that were declared unconstitutional, so that probable cause was retroactively invalidated. The appellate court affirmed. The Illinois Supreme Court reversed. The void ab initio doctrine did not retroactively invalidate probable cause for defendant’s arrest because probable cause was predicated on a statute that was subsequently declared unconstitutional on federal grounds. Federal case law holds that probable cause for arrest would not be retroactively invalidated by subsequent declaration of a statute’s unconstitutionality on federal grounds. To hold that the void ab initio doctrine requires retroactive invalidation of probable cause would be tantamount to a repeal of the statute, which would violate separation of powers. View "People v. Holmes" on Justia Law

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Gaither, a La Salle County State’s Attorney special investigator and part of a team (SAFE) intended for “drug interdiction team primarily on Interstate 80,” conducted a traffic stop against each defendant on I-80; each stop resulted in the discovery of a controlled substance. Each defendant moved to suppress evidence contending that Gaither lacked the authority to conduct traffic stops because State’s Attorney Towne failed to comply with 55 ILCS 3-9005(b)’s mandatory procedures in hiring Gaither or that section 3-9005(b) did not authorize Gaither to conduct traffic stops. The statute provides: “The State’s Attorney of each county shall have authority to appoint one or more special investigators to serve subpoenas, make return of process and conduct investigations which assist the State’s Attorney in the performance of his duties.” The circuit court granted each defendant’s motion to suppress, holding that section 3-9005(b) required strict compliance with its background verification procedures before Gaither’s appointment and that the requirements were not met. The appellate court found that the conduct of the SAFE unit and Gaither exceeded the scope of section 3-9005(b). The Illinois Supreme Court affirmed. To construe section 3-9005(b) as the state urges would promote confusion between the functions of general law enforcement and assisting a State’s Attorney in the performance of his duties. The State’s Attorney’s common-law duty to investigate suspected illegal activity did not apply because Towne made no showing that law enforcement agencies inadequately dealt with such investigation or that any law enforcement agency asked him for assistance. View "People v. Ringland" on Justia Law

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The City of Chicago, charged defendants, members of the “Occupy Chicago” movement, with violating the Chicago Park District Code, which closes all Chicago public parks between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. and prohibits people from being inside any park during these hours. The circuit court of Cook County dismissed the charges, finding the ordinance unconstitutional on its face and as applied to the defendants. The appellate court reversed, holding that the ordinance did not violate the defendants’ First Amendment right to assembly. On remand for review under the state constitution, the appellate court again reversed. The Illinois Supreme Court affirmed, first holding that the Illinois Constitution of 1970 is to be interpreted and applied in lockstep with the federal precedents interpreting and applying the assembly clause of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. In arguing that the state constitution provided greater protection, the defendants forfeited any claim that the appellate court failed to properly conduct intermediate review under the applicable First Amendment jurisprudence. View "People v. Alexander" on Justia Law