Stop and frisk programs began in the 1960s and were aimed, as they are today, at minorities, according to Time Magazine. While crime has seen a large decline in Chicago and the nation as a whole over the past few decades, stop and frisk programs are continuing to gain ground in large cities such as New York and Chicago, wreaking havoc on millions of people’s daily lives.
Throughout its history, stop and frisk has been used not to decrease crime, which it does not actually succeed in doing, but as a crutch for politicians looking to gain votes through fear mongering. The sole reason that stop and frisk still exists is due to the fact that politicians are so adept at feed on their constituents’ racist belief systems. While, according to ABC 7 News, stop and frisks fell by 80 percent in 2015, there has been talk among politicians, including president-elect Donald Trump, to reinvigorate efforts.
Right to Remain Silent, and Ask to See Search Warrant
If a police officer stops you while you are walking along the sidewalk, there are certain steps you must take to protect yourself, as described by the New York Civil Liberties Union. First and foremost, you should remember that you have the right to remain silent. You do not have to answer the officer’s questions. Many people get in trouble down the road because of things they said to an officer that they did not legally have to omit. And, if the officer attempts to search yourself or your belongings, they must ask consent. If they have a search warrant, you should ask to see it. If they do not have a warrant, make sore to say that you do not consent to this search. The search may happen regardless, and you should cooperate fully if so, as it is a crime to interfere.
Stop and Frisk Procedure
Police may stop you if they have “reason to believe” that you are currently committing a crime, are about to commit a crime, or have committed a crime in the past. First, ask if you are under arrest or are allowed to leave. Do not use foul language or insult the officer, no matter what they say or do or how insulting they are being to you. Do not run from, resist, or touch touch the officer. Try to use calm rationale to deescalate the situation. You do not have to agree with the officer’s accusations, and remember that you can always remain silent if you so choose. Take the additional steps as well:
Contact a Chicago Attorney
If your civil rights have been violated by stop and frisk, contact the experienced Chicago civil rights attorneys with Barney and Hourihane law firm today at 312-854-0906 for immediate assistance.
The arrival of Autumn brings with it several long awaited traditions that many of us look forward to. Among those traditions are college football, the leaves falling from the trees, and a beginning of the holiday season. And for legal experts there is another - the Supreme Court will be back in session.
For those who follow the law and its developments, the Supreme Court is the pinnacle of the legal world. In most cases they have the final say of what the law means and how it should be interpreted. This is even more true when dealing with the developments of criminal law and procedure. This is so for several important reasons.
The world of defending criminal actions is one dominated by the U.S. Constitution and the court rulings interpreting it. When the framers adopted and implemented the U.S. Constitution and its first amendments it was largely a document of negative rights. Which is to say that it is a government document which limits what the government, its officials, and agents can do to the public.
This means that every interaction a government agent, like a police officer or prosecutor, has with the public is regulated by the standards of the Constitution. When those lines are crossed or rules are broken then a defendant facing criminal charges may have a reprieve and defense in addition to those presented the facts of a case. And those rules are handed down and defined by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Double Jeopardy Case
One of the upcoming cases the Supreme Court will decide on criminal law and the Constitution is regarding the applicability of the Double Jeopardy clause. That clause guarantees that no one will face the same charges twice once acquitted by a judge or jury. This means that a prosecutor is not allowed to charge a person with a crime, and after losing the case, try again for a second time.
In this case that the court will decide, Yeager v. United States, the court will have to decide whether double jeopardy applies in cases where a jury hands down a verdict on some charges, but is hung on others. What happened in this case was that a person was accused of insider trading among a number of other charges but under the same set of facts. In the trial, the jury handed down a verdict of not guilty on some of the charges, but not on the others. Now the prosecution is asking to re-prosecute the defendant on the hung jury charges because they never came to a decision.
The question for the Supreme Court will be whether a prosecutor can charge someone twice for thes ame facts when a defendant is acquitted of charges with the same basic elements to the crime. If the court sides with the prosecutors in this case, it will open up the public to even more prosecutions in the future, and provide prosecutors with more than one bite at the apple in criminal cases.
Contact a Chicago Criminal Appeals Attorney
Defending charges such as insider trading and other complex federal crimes requires the right kind of attorney for the job. The criminal appeals lawyers at Barney & Hourihane have the experience and dedication you need to protect your rights. If you are facing one or several federal crimes, contact us today. We will help you understand what your options are and what steps you need to take to defend yourself.
When the U.S. Constitution was adopted, the framers and ratifiers could not have imagined what impact all of the amendments to the original constitution would have on criminal procedure in the future. In fact, the application of the constitution to criminal laws and procedures takes up the majority of opinions the High Court issues on constitutional issues.
One of those all important constitutional amendments in dealing with criminal cases is the Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. In it, the framers forbade the government from imposing cruel and unusual punishment on those who are convicted of criminal activity in a court of law. But the exact meaning of cruel and unusual punishment has eluded a firm definition over the many years it has been interpreted.
In typical cases, the Eighth Amendment is used as a way to challenge the death penalty. Of course there are critics on both sides of this issue. Those who are for the death penalty argue that it can not be considered cruel and unusual as the framers announced it because at the time the death penalty was a common sentence for crimes that were not even murder. Then there are those who oppose the death penalty and argue that the provision should be viewed in the light of modern standards and not those of the 18th century.
Prisoners Argue Eighth Amendment Rights
Now the cruel and unusual principle of the Eighth Amendment is making an appearance in a different sort of way. Prisoners in a Texas state prison are arguing that the heat conditions they suffer through in summer, without adequate air conditioning and ventilation, constitute making them suffer a cruel and unusual punishment for their crimes. And now the case is catching national attention.
To bolster their case, the plaintiffs are presenting evidence of how the heat has affected prisoners in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. It was recently reported that since 1998, 20 inmates have died from heatstroke or hyperthermia. And the lawsuit alleges that many more have died from complications arising from overly hot conditions. Now the case is before the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals to decide whether forcing inmates to live in sweltering conditions while serving a sentence for a crime constitutes cruel and unusual punishment.
This is just one example of the many ways in which the U.S. Constitution and its Amendments work to protect the rights of those accused of crimes. But the only way to ensure those rights are properly exercised is by having the right legal team who knows what your rights are and how to defend them in court.
Every encounter that a person has with the government or its agents related to a crime must comply with the norms and rules embodied in the U.S. and Texas Constitutions. This means that searches and seizures must be reasonable; in most cases the police need a warrant to enter a home or make an arrest; that a suspect is informed of his rights to remain silent and have an attorney, and many more. If any of these rights are violated, the court is obligated to create a solution that both punishes the wrong act and which works to prevent it from happening again. But all of this can only happen if the defense attorney knows what he is doing.
Contact Chicago Criminal Appeals Lawyers
If you are facing criminal charges by the federal, state, or military, you need the right attorney working on your side. Contact our Chicago civil rights lawyers at Barney & Hourihane to learn more about your rights.
A lecture given at Virginia’s Regent Law School gained YouTube popularity after the law professor explicitly stated that no one should ever give a statement to the police. The now viral video prompted the professor to release a book addressing the dangers of providing any information to police officers without first speaking to a lawyer. Even if you are not involved in committing a crime, it is possible to accidentally implicate yourself. In 2015 a record number of people in the United States were falsely convicted of committing a crime illustrating how often wrongful prosecution occurs.
Problems Within the System
A growing number of false convictions led many organizations to question the criminal justice system. The justice system places emphasis on quickly arresting and convicting people, creating a dangerous environment for anyone who speaks with police officers. Rather than question bystanders to discover the truth, police officers often question bystanders solely to find a potential perpetrator. Police officers are not required to tell you the truth, and minor mistakes in your statement may later be interpreted as deliberate lies. Critics of these conviction and prosecution methods point out that the annual number of false convictions has doubled since 2011 showing that this is a national problem.
Understanding Your Rights
There are those who believe that refusing to answer police questions is something only a criminal would do. Many innocent people do not understand that they have rights when participating in any police investigation. When the police question you about a crime you are under no obligation to make a statement. In Illinois, if you do decide to give the police a statement you can request that the police record it.
As long as the criminal justice system is stacked against those who speak to police officers, the best way to protect yourself is to strictly limit communication. Only answer questions that you are legally obligated to respond to such as your name and a brief explanation of what you are doing. Do not volunteer any additional information or engage in a lengthy dialogue that creates an opportunity for the police officer to trick you into saying the wrong things. The only safe response to a situation involving police questioning is “I want a lawyer.”
Let Us Help
If you are arrested or involved in a police investigation, then you should not make any statements to the police or anyone else. Only speak to an experienced Chicago civil rights attorneys who can listen to your thoughts and provide you with knowledgeable advice. Call 312-854-0906 to schedule a consultation with our team today. We are able to provide you with the representation you need to protect your rights and your future.
Live Facebook broadcasting of police officers shooting unarmed victims, photos posted to twitter revealing police brutality at peaceful protests, and cell phone videos that make their way onto other social media platforms of officers beating and kicking unarmed African Americans has brought much of the nation’s attention to the seemingly growing problem of police misconduct. Or has the problem always been there and we just have not taken notices?
If you have been harassed, harmed, assaulted, or otherwise mistreated by a law enforcement agency in any way, do not hesitate to contact the experienced Chicago civil rights violation attorneys of Barney and Hourihane today at 312-854-0906 for immediate assistance.
NYC Stop and Frisk Operations to Reveal no Change in Racial Discrimination in Last 13 Years
There are many examples to look at when examining racial profiling and discrimination within the U.S. One needs only look at the rate of incarceration that blacks face compared to whites. Median income levels, number of elected positions within government, and level of education are all disproportionately skewed in favor of whites as well, and they have been for much longer than social media has been around. However, one of the most easily recognizable forms of discrimination is Chicago’s stop and frisk program. 72 percent of all Chicago stop and frisks were performed on blacks and nine percent were performed on whites in 2014, while whites made up 32 percent of Chicago’s population and blacks made up 32 percent as well, according to the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois.
Similar inequality exists in New York, where the stop and frisk program has been going on for a longer period of time and can be examined to see if racial profiling has grown in the past decade or not. In 2003, 54 percent of all stop and frisks were performed on blacks, 32 percent on Latinos, and 12 percent on whites. Fast forward 13 years and again in 2015, 54 percent of all stop and frisks were performed on blacks, 29 percent on Latinos, and just 11 percent on whites, according to the New York Civil Liberties Union. The Census reveals that blacks make up just 25.5 percent of New York City’s population, while Latinos make up 28.6 percent, and whites (the majority) account for 44 percent of the population.
While the data has existed for decades, police misconduct has only been given the attention that it deserves until recently, and that is because of social media and the growing prevalence of pocketable surveillance equipment: smart phones.
Contact an Aggressive Chicago Civil Rights Attorney Immediately for Experienced Counsel
Social media has helped refocus dialogue pointing to the huge inequalities that an American faces if his or her skin is not white. Unfortunately, social media has also become an outlet for tactless arguments blaming movements such as Black Lives Matter for the shootings of police officers in Dallas and other areas. Regardless, if you have been the victim of police misconduct, contact Barney and Hourihane today at 312-854-0906.