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Wheaton Family And Criminal Law Blog

Illinois passes jailhouse informant restrictions

Illinois has taken a major step to prevent wrongful convictions and protect innocent people from going to jail based on the word of jailhouse informants.

The Illinois statute, which is considered to be the strongest in the nation, takes aim at a system that rewarded good liars and did nothing to protect the average citizen. Here are some important facts you should know:

  • Selling information to the prosecution can be lucrative. Two informants in California, for example, made more than $300,000 in just four years.
  • In cases where DNA evidence has later exonerated convicted defendants, jailhouse informants were behind their convictions 16 percent of the time.
  • The only other states that have adopted similar measures are California, Florida and Texas. However, Pennsylvania, New York and Washington are trying to pass legislation that would do the same.

Don't be in a rush to take the plea deal you're offered

If you've been charged with a crime in Illinois, the odds are high that your case will never go to trial. While it varies a little from state to state, 97 percent of federal convictions happen through plea deals. So do 94 percent of convictions for felonies at the state level.

Unfortunately, not all of those people who plead guilty are guilty. Since the system records them as guilty, there's no way to tell for sure how many innocent people take a plea bargain instead of taking their chances at trial. However, it's believed to be a considerable number. Seventy percent of the people in your local jail are there because they can't afford bail. They can't even afford what it would cost to get a bail bondsman to put up the rest of their bail for them.

Protect your relationship with your child through paternity

Are you the father of a child born outside of marriage?

In years past, mothers generally retained exclusive control over the children born from unmarried relationships. Fathers could do very little to retain contact with their children if the mothers objected.

Should you be honest with your defense attorney?

If you are charged with a crime in Illinois, the best thing you can do for yourself is defend your rights. You don't want to end up with a bias against you in court, and you shouldn't have to worry about unfair treatment.

Whenever you're charged with a crime, you have a right to speak with your attorney. Your attorney's job is to protect and educate you. Your attorney can help guide you through the steps of a criminal case and will do all they can to make sure you don't face unfair charges or penalties.

Marital counseling could help resolve your divorce

Sometimes, people just know that a divorce is the right choice. If that's you, then what some believe was the sign to divorce might resonate with you.

For example, trust is an important part of a relationship. If you lose the trust of your spouse or believe you can't trust them, then a divorce might be the one choice that could help. One person explained that trying to save a marriage can work, but if there is no trust, then there is almost no way forward.

The Bail Reform Act may lead to less pretrial detention

After an arrest, many people wait to learn whether the court will allow for their releases on bail or bond. In numerous cases, parties may not have the ability to meet cash bail amounts, and as a result, they spend a considerable time in pretrial detention. Commonly, individuals who pose no threat to the community or who are innocent of the alleged crime will still spend time behind bars.

Fortunately, for you as an Illinois resident, you may not have to contend with this type of situation. The governor signed the Bail Reform Act into law last year, and it took effect at the beginning of this year. Now, in the event that you face arrest, you may have a lessor likelihood of remaining in pretrial detention if you cannot meet bail.

How is custody arranged in Illinois?

If you have a child and are going through a divorce, one thing you should understand is how the court determines custody. Overall, like any other state, the courts want to do what's in the child's best interests.

When thinking about what's best for the child, the judge also has to consider the parents' situations. Here are a few other facts about child custody in Illinois.

2 nonviolent individuals arrested on drug charges

If you are addicted to drugs, it doesn't necessarily mean that you're out to harm other people. You may only want to do what you can to help yourself avoid withdrawal. If you have nowhere to turn, then it's the only lifestyle you know how to rely on.

This is something that courts are beginning to take into consideration. People who are addicted to drugs are not only harming others but also themselves. With assistance, it's possible to reduce the likelihood of further violations while also helping the individual get their life back.

What are 3 pitfalls of divorce?

Going through a divorce doesn't have to be difficult, but more often than not, there are a few snags in the process that might cause disputes or delays. There are often financial concerns to worry about, which can weigh heavily on your mind.

There are several financial pitfalls of divorce. Here are three to consider before you make the leap into ending your marriage.

Addressing the emotional aspect of divorce

Only you and your spouse truly understand what led to your decision to divorce. If you've been married 10 years or more, you've likely encountered many relationship challenges and have perhaps overcome quite a few. There is no way to predict which marriages will stand the test of a lifetime and which will face issues that spouses determine they are unable to resolve.

Regardless of whether you were the one to file for divorce, you no doubt have been experiencing a wide range of emotions as you prepare to achieve a settlement. Divorce is never easy and can be emotionally traumatic on many levels. The stronger your support system, the better. This is especially true if you have children or are facing legal problems regarding custody, visitation or property division.

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