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Can You Be Prosecuted for Violating a Quarantine?The Illinois Department of Public Health and local health boards have broad authority to order quarantines of people or locations in the interest of public safety. With the COVID-19 outbreak in Illinois, the IDPH may utilize this power to isolate or quarantine people who they reasonably suspect of carrying the virus. Many people will voluntarily comply with a request to quarantine themselves to help stop the spread of the virus. If you refuse to quarantine yourself, the IDPH can request a court order to quarantine you. If the order is granted, violating it would be a criminal offense.

Quarantine and Isolation

There are two orders that the IDPH can use to separate infected people from the public. A quarantine is used when people have potentially been exposed to a communicable disease and need to be separated until it is determined that they are not a risk to the public. Isolation is for people who are confirmed to have the disease or show symptoms of the disease.

The IDPH cannot enforce quarantine or isolation unless you consent or it receives a court order. For the court to approve a quarantine or isolation order, the IDPH must prove that:

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What Are the Exceptions to Barring Hearsay in Court?When determining a matter as important as whether someone is guilty of a crime, the court needs to have confidence that the evidence is reliable. That is why courts mostly reject the admission of hearsay in a criminal case. Hearsay is testimony in court that is based on a statement from someone who is not appearing in court. Courts often consider hearsay unreliable because the person who is testifying does not have first-hand knowledge of the information and the source of the statement is not available to be cross-examined. Without viewing testimony from the hearsay source, the jury cannot get a sense of whether the source is reliable. However, the Illinois Rules of Evidence have several exceptions that allow for the admission of hearsay evidence. The exceptions fall under two categories:

  1. The Availability of the Declarant Is Immaterial: This means that the hearsay source’s testimony in court is not necessary to establish the information as reliable. For instance, a person is considered unlikely to have lied if they said something that would incriminate themselves or go against their self-interest. The source’s state of mind may also be relevant. A person may speak impulsively when they are excited, which means they may not have had time to consider lying. Finally, hearsay based on a matter of public record is considered reliable because the information can be verified.
  2. The Declarant Is Unavailable: The hearsay source may be unable to testify because they are dead, ill or suffering memory loss. Others may be exempted from having to testify, such as the alleged victim in a child abuse case. Just because a source is unable to testify does not mean that the court has to allow the hearsay as evidence. Statements from a previous trial may be allowed if the defendant had a chance to cross-examine the declarant at that trial. Courts will consider dying declarations, which are statements from someone who is deceased that were made when they knew they were dying. The court may also allow hearsay evidence from an unavailable witness if it believes the defendant committed wronging against the defendant with the intent to prevent testimony.

Contact a Crystal Lake, Illinois, Criminal Defense Attorney

A judge in a criminal case may have the discretion to decide whether testimony is hearsay and, if so, whether that hearsay falls under the exceptions. A McHenry County criminal defense lawyer at Botto Gilbert Lancaster, PC, will contest unreliable or hearsay evidence presented by the prosecution in your case. To schedule a free consultation, call 815-338-3838.

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How Weapons Can Lead to an Armed Violence Charge in IllinoisMany criminal charges you can face in Illinois become more serious if you are accused of possessing or using a weapon. Robbery is a Class 2 felony, but armed robbery is a Class X felony. Assault is a Class C misdemeanor, but assault with a deadly weapon can be a Class A misdemeanor or Class 4 felony, depending on the identity of the victim. Illinois considers the presence of a deadly weapon during a crime to be an aggravating offense because of the potential for death or serious injury. With this in mind, Illinois created a criminal charge called armed violence in 2012.

What Is Armed Violence?

Armed violence is the possession of a deadly weapon or discharge of a firearm while committing a felony that is not predicated on using the weapon. For instance, possessing a gun while being arrested for felony drug possession is armed violence, but attempted murder with a gun is a different offense. There are three categories of weapons under the armed violence law:

  • Category I includes firearms that are small enough to be concealed, semiautomatic weapons, and machine guns.
  • Category II includes all other firearms and sharp weapons meant for cutting or stabbing.
  • Category III includes weapons meant for striking, such as a bludgeon or metal knuckles.

Most armed violence charges are Class X felonies with different prison sentencing requirements. Possession of a Category II weapon has a minimum of 10 years in prison, and possession of a Category I weapon has a minimum of 15 years. Discharge of a Category I or II firearm results in a minimum of 20 years in prison. Harming someone by discharging a Category I or II firearm results in 25 to 40 years in prison.

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When Police Pat-Downs Violate Your RightsThe police practice of frisking or pat-downs is controversial because of its invasiveness and connection to racial profiling. The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects people against illegal searches and seizures, which includes searching on a person’s body. In order to frisk a person, the officer must have a warrant to search for a specific item or reasonably believe that the suspect is armed and dangerous. Police have used the “armed and dangerous” exception to perform what they call “protective pat-downs” on people without establishing probable cause that they committed a crime. Evidence found during an unreasonable pat-down can be dismissed from a criminal case.

Police Encounters

There are three types of encounters that a police officer has with a member of the public:

  • They can arrest an individual when there is probable cause that the person is committing a crime.
  • They can briefly investigate a person that they reasonably suspect of committing a crime.
  • They can have a consensual encounter with a member of the public in which the individual voluntarily talks with the officer.

It can be difficult to differentiate between a consensual encounter and an investigatory stop. During a consensual encounter, the member of the public should feel like they can leave the encounter at any time, but the officer is often the one who initiates the encounter and presses the individual to answer questions. 

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U.S. Supreme Court Will Not Rule on Illinois Felony Murder LawDespite the controversy over Illinois’ felony murder law, the state does not seem to be close to amending the criminal law that allows prosecutors to charge certain defendants with first-degree murder despite them not causing the death or intending to kill the victim. The law states that a person who participates in a forcible felony may be charged with murder if someone dies during the incident, including an accomplice in the crime. An Illinois defendant recently appealed his felony murder conviction to the U.S. Supreme Court after the Illinois Supreme Court had upheld the constitutionality of the law. However, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear the case.

Examples

In the recently appealed case, two men were convicted of murder because they were involved in a burglary incident in which police had killed a third suspect. The three men were burglarizing an electronics store when police officers surrounded the building. The men attempted to flee in a vehicle, and the officers shot at them 77 times. One of the men was killed, and the other two were injured. Illinois’ felony murder law allowed the defendants to be charged with murder even though it was the police officers who shot and killed the third man. One defendant was sentenced to 25 years in prison, while the other was sentenced to 20 years.

In a recent high-profile Illinois case, five teens were initially charged with murder when a property owner shot and killed a sixth teen when they were attempting to burglarize his vehicle. The state’s attorney later dropped the murder charges after public pressure.

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