Publications

Illinois Bar Journal
Articles on Criminal Law and Procedure

State law prohibits possession and sale of caustic and noxious substances. PA 097-0565 May 2012 Illinois Law Update, Page 240 Illinois lawmakers have amended the Criminal Code of 1961 to ban persons from knowingly possessing any caustic and noxious substances regulated by Title 16 CFR section 1500.129 of the Federal Caustic Poison Act. (720 ILCS 5/12-37 new.)
Lying to police can be obstruction By Adam W. Lasker April 2012 Lawpulse, Page 178 Lying to a police officer can support a conviction for obstruction of justice if the lying directly hinders the officer's official performance, the Illinois Supreme Court rules.
Six Common Criminal-Trial Errors and How to Avoid Them By Rob Shumaker April 2012 Article, Page 212 An appellate clerk points out six common errors that send criminal cases to the next level and suggests ways to avoid them.
The Supreme Court Lowers the Bar for Post-Conviction Petitions By Stephanie Anders and Rob Shumaker December 2011 Article, Page 624 Recent Illinois Supreme Court cases make it less likely that criminal defendants' petitions will be quickly dismissed as frivolous under the Illinois Post-Conviction Hearing Act.
Guilty Pleas and Parole: A Practitioner’s Guide to People v Whitfield By Geoffrey Burkhart November 2011 Article, Page 580 Whitfield creates a remedy for defendants who took negotiated pleas without being told they must also do "mandatory supervised release" (aka parole). This article explores the law.
Registration of vehicles used in gunrunning may be suspended. PA 097-0540. November 2011 Illinois Law Update, Page 556 Illinois lawmakers have amended the Illinois Vehicle Code to address the registration status of vehicles used in gunrunning violations (625 ILCS 5/3-704).
A person who asks a third party to stalk a victim is guilty for the act. PA 097-0311 October 2011 Illinois Law Update, Page 496 The Illinois Criminal Code has been amended to place accountability on a person who directs a third party to stalk another person. (720 ILCS 5/12-7.3, 12-7.4, 12-7.5, and 12-30).
Educational programs to combat religious hate crimes. PA 097-0161. September 2011 Illinois Law Update, Page 440 Illinois lawmakers have amended the Criminal Code to implement educational programs for certain hate crime offenders. (720 ILCS 5/12-7.1).
The lesson of George Ryan v U.S. By Helen W. Gunnarsson September 2011 Lawpulse, Page 434 It's this, according to a criminal defense lawyer and court watcher: You shouldn't hesitate to argue alternative, even esoteric, bases for relief to create a record for appeal.
Assaulting a probation officer constitutes aggravated assault. PA 096-1398 August 2011 Illinois Law Update, Page 388 Illinois lawmakers have amended the Criminal Code of 1961 to expand instances when an assault constitutes aggravated assault. 720 ILCS 5/12-2.
Miranda: Youth a factor in determining whether interrogation is “custodial” By Helen W. Gunnarsson August 2011 Lawpulse, Page 382 The U.S. Supreme Court holds that a subject's youth matters when determining whether a Miranda warning is required - a conclusion the Illinois Supreme Court came to years ago.
Fine raised for imposing absolute liability for misdemeanor crimes. PA 096-1198 July 2011 Illinois Law Update, Page 336 Illinois lawmakers have amended the Criminal Code of 1961 to raise the fine when imposing absolute liability on a person who committed a misdemeanor offense that is not punishable by incarceration (720 ILCS 5/4-9).
Are cell phones “contraband”? And what’s a “penal institution”? By Helen W. Gunnarsson May 2011 Lawpulse, Page 222 A volunteer lawyer is charged with a felony for allegedly bringing "contraband" - her cell phone - into a police station interview room. Volunteering to represent indigents pro bono in an area of law with which you're unfamiliar? Your heart may be in the right place, but be careful.
Death penalty is abolished. PA 096-1543 May 2011 Illinois Law Update, Page 228 Illinois lawmakers have abolished the death penalty in Illinois and all existing sentences may not be imposed. (725 ILCS 5/119-1 new). All monies previously held in the Capital Litigation Trust Fund are now to be used to provide services for families of the victims of homicide and to provide training for law enforcement personnel.
Part of Illinois’s Identity Theft Law found unconstitutional By Helen W. Gunnarsson May 2011 Lawpulse, Page 222 The Illinois Supreme Court overturns a provision of Illinois’ identity theft statute, finding that it criminalizes innocent conduct (e.g., Google searching) performed without criminal intent.
What Price Justice? The County Board Wants to Know By Hon. Ron Spears May 2011 Column, Page 260 How much process is due a criminal defendant? It's a dollars-and-cents question.
Peace officers no longer required to swear to complaints issued for misdemeanors. PA 096-1206 April 2011 Illinois Law Update, Page 180 Peace officers no longer are required to swear to complaints issued for misdemeanors, under recent amendments to the Code of Criminal Procedure of 1963. (725 ILCS 5/111-3).
Sexual exploitation punishable when committed in virtual presence of person believed to be child. PA 096-1090 February 2011 Illinois Law Update, Page 72 The Criminal Code of 1961 is amended by Illinois lawmakers to incorporate virtual presence into possible means of committing the sexual exploitation of children. 720 ILCS 5/11-9.1.
Heightened penalties for public indecency, sexual exploitation of child if committed near school grounds. PA 096-1098 January 2011 Illinois Law Update, Page 16 Under the newly amended Criminal Code of 1961, it is now a Class 4 felony for a person 18 years of age or older to commit public indecency or sexual exploitation of a child within 500 feet of elementary or secondary school grounds when children are present. (720 ILCS 5/11-9; 720 ILCS 5/11-9.1)
Retail theft penalties adjusted. PA 096-1301 December 2010 Illinois Law Update, Page 616  Penalties for theft have been adjusted by Illinois lawmakers to increase the value of property covered by minimum misdemeanor and felony sentencing. 720 ILCS 5/16-1.
Killing medical professionals on the job now an aggravating factor. PA 096-1475 November 2010 Illinois Law Update, Page 564 The Criminal Code of 1961 has been amended to add an aggravating factor that can result in natural life imprisonment for a criminal offender. (720 ILCS 5/9-1)
Added fines for failure to appear. PA 096-1431 October 2010 Illinois Law Update, Page 508 The Code of Criminal Procedure of 1963 was amended affecting those persons subject to bail bond. (725 ILCS 5/110-7)
2010 Spring Session Roundup By Jim Covington August 2010 Column, Page 404 A summary of key Illinois legislation passed this spring.
Foreseeing the “Four C’s” (Collateral Consequences of Criminal Convictions) By Hon. Ron Spears August 2010 Column, Page 432 The collateral consequences of conviction are often the gravest.
Court Supervision after Padilla v Kentucky By Gary J. Ravitz July 2010 Article, Page 362 Lawyers who misinform clients about supervision could be in for trouble, especially when deportation is at stake.
Averett a win for prosecutors By Helen W. Gunnarsson June 2010 Lawpulse, Page 286 The Illinois high court rules that it isn't reversible error for a trial court to defer ruling on motions in limine to exclude prior convictions unless defendants testify - and that's bad news for defendants who choose not to testify.
Criminal Lawyers and the New Ethics Rules By Randall Rosenbaum June 2010 Column, Page 326 Now lawyers must keep "information" (not just "secrets") confidential.
No Contact Orders allowed for stalking victims. PA 096-0246 June 2010 Illinois Law Update, Page 292 Victims of stalking may file a "no contact order" under a new law passed by the Illinois General Assembly. 
Penalties enhanced for selling counterfeit goods. PA 096-0631 May 2010 Illinois Law Update, Page 236 State lawmakers recently strengthened laws and penalties for dealing in counterfeit goods. 
Stiffer financial consequences for disorderly conduct in schools. PA 096-0413 April 2010 Illinois Law Update, Page 180 Illinois lawmakers have amended the section of the Criminal Code treating disorderly conduct, creating stiffer fines for false reports or threats to schools.