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Posted on in Weapons Charges

gun, Kane County criminal defense lawyersOver the last several years, there has been no shortage of tragedies involving gun violence. Mass shootings in Connecticut, Colorado, Florida, and Nevada have raised the public consciousness regarding the availability of firearms and the associated rights promised by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

In the wake of these terrible events, many states have passed so-called "red flag" laws that allow authorities to temporarily seize guns from individuals whom the courts have determined pose a threat to themselves or others. Earlier this month, Illinois became the 13th state to pass such a measure as Governor Bruce Rauner signed House Bill 2353 into law.

Firearms Restraining Order Act

The new law is called the Firearms Restraining Order Act, and it created a new type of specific restraining order for preventing a person from possessing, purchasing, or handling a firearm. The law also established a process for those who fear that a loved one may present a danger to themselves or others to take action.

Under the new law, a family member of the individual in question may file a petition to confiscate weapons the person due to a perceived danger. A police officer can also file the petition. A circuit court judge must hold a hearing to review the evidence and decide whether to issue a firearms restraining order. If the situation is severe enough, the hearing may be considered an emergency and be held on the day of the filing without notice to the subject. The subject has the right to a hearing within two weeks if the order was issued on an emergency basis.

If an order is issued, the subject will be not be permitted to own, possess, receive, buy, or control a firearm for a period of six months. Their Firearms Owner Identification (FOID) card will be suspended as well. The subject of a firearms restraining order can request one hearing to terminate the order, and he or she must prove that he or she no longer poses a threat. As the end date approaches, the person who filed the original petition may request a renewal and must show that the subject still presents a danger.

Concerns of Possible Abuse

While the new law is intended to promote public safety, there are many in the community who are skeptical about how it will be applied. Some believe that these orders could be used to damage a person’s reputation unfairly and to simply take their guns away without sufficient justification. Others have expressed concern over the availability of orders without notice to the subject. To address such concerns, the new law includes provisions that allow petitioners who make false statements to be prosecuted for perjury.

We Can Help

If you have questions about how the new law could affect your rights to legally own a firearm, contact an experienced Elgin criminal defense attorney. Call 847-488-0889 for a free consultation at The The Law Office of Brian J. Mirandola today.

Sources:

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/ct-met-illinois-gun-violence-laws-orders-of-protection-20180713-story.html#

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/fulltext.asp?DocName=&SessionId=91&GA=100&DocTypeId=HB&DocNum=2354&GAID=14&LegID=102977&SpecSess=&Session=

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false conviction, Elgin criminal defense attorneyAccording to the National Registry of Exonerations, a University of Michigan Law School project, 2015 was a banner year for the exoneration of falsely convicted individuals. Throughout the country, 149 people were exonerated of crimes they did not commit—a new record high—up from the previous high of 139 in 2014.  Here in Illinois, 13 individuals had their convictions overturned in 2015, compared to 8 during the previous year.

Alarming Rates of False Convictions

Since 1989, more than 1740 falsely convicted men and women have been exonerated by the emergence of new evidence of their innocence. This number includes over 240 exonerations in Texas and 208 in the state of New York. Illinois is third on the list, with 160 convictions overturned in the last quarter century. While the exoneration of a falsely convicted individual can be seen as a personal victory and validation, the need for doing so points to a much larger problem. A conviction would not need to be overturned if the defendant was not falsely convicted from the beginning.

DNA Evidence

While the availability of DNA analysis and technology has contributed to many overturned convictions in the last several decades, most exonerations are based on other evidence. In fact, less than 18 percent of last year’s exonerations were attributed to new DNA evidence, including just two of 13 in Illinois on the basis of DNA alone. Some may point to the use of DNA information during trial, which may be preventing additional false convictions, but the number of exonerations based on DNA is typically less than expected.

Other Factors

Information gathered by the registry indicates that several other considerations more directly contributed to the false conviction in almost every Illinois case last year. False confessions and misconduct by law enforcement, prosecutors, and other officials were much bigger factors in the overturning of wrongful convictions. Eleven of the 13 of the exonerations in Illinois in 2015 involved convictions of murder, with the remaining two being false sex crime convictions.

If you have been charged with a crime you did not commit, a skilled attorney is your first line of defense against a false conviction. To learn more or to schedule an appointment, contact an experienced Kane County criminal defense attorney. Call the The Law Office of Brian J. Mirandola today at 847-488-0889. Our knowledgeable is ready and willing to fight for your rights at every stage of the process.

Sources:

http://www.sj-r.com/news/20160203/13-people-falsely-convicted-were-exonerated-in-illinois-last-year

http://www.law.umich.edu/special/exoneration/Pages/about.aspx

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