Make sure to lock the door, folks. Things have gone nuts in St. Charles. Just when you thought it was a safe, nice, place to raise a family, there’s a crime spree. This “community alert” has been posted courtesy of our friends at the Kane County Chronicle:
Graffiti depicting male genitalia was reported Sunday, March 31, on fences in the 1300 block of Rita Avenue in St. Charles and on an electrical box at the Salvation Army, 1710 S. Seventh Ave., St. Charles. Total estimated damage was $300.
I sure hope the St. Charles Police Department has detectives working overtime on this one. Look for the Kane County State’s Attorney’s press release and indictments soon. Until then, be careful out there.
I try to be helpful here. I really do. I know I probably fail. It’s not for lack of trying, though.
A while back I wrote these riveting tips on what to do once you’ve been arrested. It was ground breaking stuff. Earth shattering, even. I thought lives would be saved. It felt good to help.
You ever seen that show Moonshiners? It’s about the brightest in American small businessmen trying to eek out a living in this brutal world. It’s entertaining. If you’ve ever seen it, you know some of those guys could use any help they can get.
It appears that one of the “best” of those bright, small businessmen just got arrested. As you know, I’m not one to hold an arrest against somebody. I am one to hold mistakes a man makes after arrest against him, though.
So, re-read those tips about what to do once you’ve been arrested. Then, read this article on the Moonshiner guy who got arrested. Then look at his mug shot. Does he look like a guy who was illegally drinking in the Quickie Mart parking lot? Maybe just a little bit. What conclusion can we draw from all of this?
I don’t think I’ve ever posted anything here about red light cameras. I probably don’t have to tell you what I think about them, though. I don’t like them.
Apparently, I’m not alone. There was an article in the Daily Herald this weekend regarding what may soon become the last of the Kane County’s red light cameras. We can only hope, anyway.
According to the article,
…Kane County implemented a change in the law in the fall of 2010 that capped the life span of any red-light camera on the county highway system at three years.
Only two cameras have not run up against against the 3 year cap so far- both are in Geneva (and, coincidentally, just south of the courthouse on Randall Road). The interesting part of the article isn’t necessarily that the permits for the cameras could only span three years. It’s the idea that you can re-apply to put cameras in (or put them up elsewhere), and there’s been “a lot less interest” in doing so.
So, why do I hate these things? Why do other people hate them? Why aren’t cities and villages as interested in putting them up as they were 4 or 5 years ago?
In the interest of full disclosure, I was once forced to pay one of these violations after a guy who looked a lot like me, driving a car that looked a lot like mine, displaying a license plate exactly like mine failed (barely) to come to a complete stop on Route 64 just east of St. Charles. I can tell you that the fines really aren’t that bad. The whole system for these tickets is a little too slick, though.
Think about it- the city puts one in. There is no officer on the street that has to patrol. There is no time wasted by cops writing tickets or filling out red-light violation paperwork. No cop has to waste his time actually seeing you roll over that line at 1 mph before making that right turn. If you’ve ever gotten one of these things, you know the ticket shows up in the mail from a seemingly private company, and your local cops didn’t even see the ticket.
There’s also no judge who will listen to your plea, or any added cost (to the government, of course) to make sure your pesky rights aren’t violated. There’s not even a county clerk that has to “waste” her time taking your payment– you pay through the web site set up by that private company! Just a piece of mail getting sent to you, and a check of yours getting sent back.
There are, no doubt, people out there that will argue that the cameras may make an intersection safer. And, if one person is saved, they’re worth it. Whether or not they have any effect on traffic at a given intersection is hugely debatable, however. Not to mention that if we’re willing to justify any intrusion on the basis that just one life may be saved… well, we could eliminate all traffic deaths by outlawing cars.
At least on this one the tide of public opinion (based on the fact that the cameras are disappearing) seems to jive with my opinion. For once.
T.V. is usually the best way to “learn” everything you need to know about the law. Before law school, I used the T.V. for my legal knowledge, too. I think that’s why everybody has a favorite legal show. Mine was always Miami Vice. Don’t deny that you have a favorite. Law & Order, Dog the Bounty Hunter, Matlock, L.A. Law… whatever. Everybody has one.
Thankfully those shows are completely accurate on the law. If they weren’t, a whole bunch of people might have the wrong idea. By a “whole bunch” I mean all of us who watch the law shows. No need to go to law school when you pick up everything you need from an episode of Ally McBeal, right?
One area the legal T.V. shows must not cover is what they call “Miranda” warnings. Too many people seem confused about them. If you’re not sure what Miranda warnings are, they’re the “rights” people presume the police will read when arresting somebody. I say “presume” because people are always saying that “the police never read me my rights,” as though the police are required to do so. The fact that a huge number of people believe this presumption is what leads me to believe Night Court didn’t adequately teach us about Miranda. Let’s clear up the issue Night Court was too soft to tackle, shall we?
The first thing you need to know is that your case is not going to be dismissed because the police didn’t read you your rights. What will happen (what the law calls “your remedy”) is that certain statements might not be allowed to come in at trial. See, if you said things to the police that they’re trying to use against you, that’s usually called a “confession.” And if “confessing” to a crime meant the charges would be dropped… well, that would make for a weird world.
So, before we even talk about Miranda warnings, we need to know if you talked to the police. Did you make any statement to the police? Yes? This isn’t going to be easy, but I’ll try to forget that you clearly haven’t been listening to me (or this guy, this guy, or this guy). If you were listening and you didn’t make a statement, though, Miranda doesn’t really matter. If that applies to you, I’m awarding you a gold star for following my previous posts (and that of this guy, and this guy and this guy <—– all new guys, by the way).
Ok, you talked? Is the prosecutor going to try and use that statement against you at trial? If not, it doesn’t really matter, either. Since the “remedy” would be to keep the statements out of trial, consider a prosecutor’s not intending to bring them up a “mission accomplished.” Nice work!
Now, have you been “arrested” by the police prior to making the statement? If not, it also doesn’t really matter. Cops are allowed to talk to you in the same situations that normal people can. If they just happen to wander upon your stranded car, they can ask you questions. The rights only come into play once they start acting like police investigating crimes and use their “police-ness” against you.
Finally, were your statements the result of the police asking you questions or interrogating you? If not, Miranda doesn’t really matter. There’s nothing that requires the police to read you your rights when you’re happily babbling your guilt for no reason- even if it’s the 16 cans of Hamms making you talk. And, really, think about it for a minute. If talking to the police when they’re asking you questions is a bad idea, what do you think about talking to them when they’re not even asking you questions? It hurts me to even ponder. It should hurt you, too.
So, you went ahead and talked to the police? You talked to them after you were arrested, only because the police were interrogating you, and the prosecutor is going to use your words against you? Now we’re getting somewhere.
Like I said, if the police didn’t read you your rights when they should have, your statements should not come in at trial. That doesn’t mean the prosecutor will dismiss your case. Unless, that is, there is no evidence other than your confession– which means there would have been no evidence if you’d have just listened to me in the past (or listened to this guy, this guy or this guy <—– do you really think I can’t find 3 more links?).
Until something with Herrera changes, though, you can tell those cats to grow thumbs and learn to use a can opener themselves.
I don’t know how I sleep some nights. I mean, between representing all those people I “know” are guilty and having freed so many people on “technicalities” I’m a pretty reprehensible person. That’s what people tell me. Essentially.
I mean, they don’t tell me directly. They tell me things like they “couldn’t do” my job. Or that they “would have a hard time” representing somebody they “knew” was guilty. Plus, they use the term “technicality.” As in “so, he got off on a technicality?”
Technicality. This sounds like a bad thing. Like somebody “got away” with something. Somebody like, for instance, Drew Peterson. That guy might get off on some sort of technicality. Never mind the fact that they changed the state law just to try and prosecute him. Or that the government’s own experts originally said she wasn’t murdered. It’s always a technicality.
Don’t get me wrong. We’re on the same team as far as wanting Peterson locked up. We have different reasons, though. You want him locked up because you think he killed a half-dozen people. I want him locked up because he was an annoying, egotistical, loudmouthed wind-bag before he was taken into custody.
If Peterson walks, its going to be blamed on that too-often-used technicality of being not guilty. By that, I mean it’s that one technicality where either the state can’t/won’t/doesn’t prove him guilty beyond a reasonable doubt or that he didn’t actually do what they say he did. Unfortunately it is the state’s burden to prove these things… that poor, poor, poor state and their nearly insurmountable burdens.
We should do away with that technicality of forcing the state to prove people guilty. Then we could lock up all those people we “know” are guilty, right? While we are at it, we should eliminate some of those other pesky technicalities like the Bill of Rights and the State Constitution. If we got rid of all that stuff, we could probably lock this Peterson fella up without the trouble of a trial. Maybe O.J., too.
Believe it or not, I sleep fine at night. I’m with you on wanting to eliminate some of the technicalities and bringing “truth” back to the system, though. Especially when we’re talking about the technicalities that prosecutors don’t gripe about. How come nobody ever asks me about those technicalities?
Wait. What’s that? Are we not on the same team anymore? What sort of technicality is that? If the burden of proof and Bill of Rights are a defense attorneys’ favorite “technicalities” there is a LONG list of technicalities a prosecutor loves. Technicalities like that one the Supreme Court invented in the case of Herrera v. Collins.
You know, it’s the one where you can be completely, truthfully actually not guilty and you still can’t appeal. I mean, do you ever wonder what happens if you are charged with a Federal crime you absolutely didn’t do, but the prosecutor convinces the 12 jurors that you did? Maybe somebody wrongfully identifies you. It does happen.
Now you’re locked up, they’re about to throw away the key, and you’re begging your lawyer to appeal? No sweat, right? Your lawyer is going to appeal this thing and show the Federal Appeals Court how you’re actually innocent. You’ll be out by lunch, right? Maybe out by dinner at the latest.
You’re going to appeal that thing and the appeals court is going to use the Herrera case to tell you that a “freestanding claim of actual innocence is no basis for appellate relief.” Do you know what that means? I do. It means that the United States Supreme Court says you can’t appeal just because you’re not guilty. Seriously. Let me say that again. You can’t appeal a case in Federal Court just because you’re actually not guilty. That appeals court doesn’t care that you’re not guilty and have starving cats waiting for you to get home. Hell, those kittens can’t open the Meow-mix themselves. Until something with Herrera changes, though, you can tell those cats to grow thumbs and learn to use a can opener themselves.
Herrera is but a relative newcomer to the prosecutor technicality arsenal. They’ve got technicalities going back hundreds of years. Ever hear of felony murder? It’s the one where, when you’re driving to the 7-11 for some Funyons and Redbull and your buddy in the passenger seat thinks it would be funny to steal a ho-ho by telling the clerk he’s got a bomb. He’s telling you this as you’re driving there and you guys laugh thinking it’s funny. When your buddy hands the clerk a note saying “I have a neutron bomb and I’m going to use it unless you let me take this ho-ho, kthnxbye” and starts to walk out, the clerk guns him down from behind.
The clerk kills the robber (your pal). Justice done? Not yet. You drove him there knowing he was going to “rob” the store. Your taking part by driving him makes you just as guilty of a robbery as if you had walked in with a gun and stolen all the cash. Even better, your’e also guilty of murder. The technicality of felony murder means you’re looking at decades, if not a lifetime, behind bars because anybody died for any reason while you were committing a felony. Don’t forget to smile for your mug shot.
I’m not saying you should have much compassion for somebody who thinks it’s funny to rob the convenience store. I am saying that the punishment should fit the crime, and you shouldn’t ever be found guilty of Murder on such a weird technicality. Oddly, people don’t ask me about this technicality.
And, don’t even get me wound up about possession of drugs. You know how “possession” requires that you actually possess something? Wrong. Illinois courts tell us that possession can be something called “actual” possession. The flipside to this, of course, is possession doesn’t have to be “actual” possession. You can possess something without actually possessing it? Sweet!
Makes perfect sense. So much so that I’m headed to the bank right now with a whole bunch of money I don’t “actually” possess. If the bank gets snotty, I’m going to tell them that I “constructively” possess about a million dollars I’d like them to credit to my account. When the bankman tells me I can’t deposit cash I don’t possess, maybe I’ll ask him how he sleeps at night refusing my deposit on such a technicality. After all, I need to get this fake money on my account so I can go buy that cat food my felines so desperately need. This is a matter of cat survival.
I don’t know what’s going to happen in Peterson’s case. Maybe it ends with a “technicality” and maybe it doesn’t. I suppose we’ll all find out soon enough. I just know that the word “technicality” is a bad word to describe complex aspects of the law. I also know that no cats were actually harmed in the writing of this post, and that, even though I don’t have any cats, I wish all cats of the world a healthy, hearty meal tonight.
If hit T.V. show Diff’rent Strokes could once have had a “very special” episode about bullies, consider this a “very special” episode of matthaiduk.com/blog.
I wake up in cold sweats from this silly web page. It’s not really the web page. It’s the thought of things I write here coming up at the hearings for my confirmation to the Supreme Court. Somebody is bound to not read everything I write in a post and take it all out of context. “Isn’t it true, Mr. Haiduk, that you are for crime?” I suppose having to deal with that on my way to the Supreme Court is just the “chance” I take. Besides, it’s not like I’ll have to answer questions about bad pornography and sexual harassment.
Regardless of what people might take out of context, I believe the law should not encourage the “evil” it is trying to eliminate. My take, coincidentally, is not popular. If it were, the drug laws would be different. So would other laws. Like DUI. In my world, DUI laws wouldn’t encourage impaired drivers to drive while impaired.
In your world (or, the “real” world, anyway) they do. In virtually every state.
I’m not nuts. No, I’m not.
Just hang with me for a minute. Despite the strong “suggestions” of others in the legal profession (including the ABA), I try to keep this little slice of the digital world completely practical. They want me to talk about “supreme court” precedent, stare decisis and other awesome latin sounding things. I want to talk about brushing your hair before a mugshot, what to do when you’re being interrogated, and wearing incredible shirts.
For a brief minute, the “boring legal blog people” win. I’m about to mention a case. I apologize. If hit T.V. show Diff’rent Strokes could once have had a “very special” episode about bullies, consider this a “very special” episode of matthaiduk.com/blog. Hopefully it won’t happen again.
In 1989 a state trooper found a guy sleeping in a car on the shoulder of a frontage rode. The guy was fast asleep in a sleeping bag, in the back seat of the car. The keys were in the ignition but the car was not running. The guy was drunk when the police showed up. We’re not really sure if he was drunk before he stopped the car- he had been sleeping for several hours. This all happened in a case called People v. Davis.
As far as the law is concerned, by the way, it doesn’t matter if he was stopped on the shoulder of the road, in the Wal-Mart parking lot, or even in the driveway of a party he never really left. There are cases that cover all of those.
Now, ask yourself what you should do if you are on the road and it occurs to you that you may have had too much to drink? Pull over and stop immediately, right? Who doesn’t know that? In my world, the defendant in the Davis case might get some sort of a ticket (parking, perhaps). He shouldn’t get a DUI, though. Sleeping was a better option than driving drunk.
In your world the court found that it was o.k. to charge him with DUI. In the “real” world, pulling over and sleeping it off only prolongs the time you are outside of your house and subject to arrest for DUI. For every minute you are sleeping in the back seat of your car, you are more likely to get arrested. Does that encourage people to sleep, or keep driving in hopes of not getting seen? I know, for sure, it doesn’t encourage people to stop immediately and sleep it off.
Did I just tell you to drive home drunk? Absolutely not. I told you one way that the law may encourage that over absolute safety, though. I can’t help but wonder why the law would ever do such a thing.
Maybe it’s because America doesn’t vote for anybody who isn’t “tough on crime” and “letting people off” of DUI isn’t tough enough? Maybe it’s because there’s money to be made on arresting people (that bond fee is nothing, by the way… court costs alone for a single DUI can be in the thousands of dollars per case)? Maybe, just maybe, it’s because we know that AAIM is watching and ranking the “top” DUI cops. Maybe. I don’t know.
What I do know is that the law should encourage drunk people to get off the road immediately. It doesn’t. That’s actually what keeps me up at night in a cold sweat.
What plea to enter and at what time you enter it can have as much of an effect on the outcome of the case as the underlying “truth” of your innocence/guilt.
I’m not ever really up-to-date on current affairs. I know you know this. Usually I have to google “Nancy Grace” to find out what the masses deem important legal topics. I have been keeping my eye on the Treyvon Martin thing, though.
Oddly enough it’s not a huge topic among the local criminal defense bar. Probably because it’s not much of a surprise. We see this stuff all the time, even if Al Sharpton doesn’t get involved.
Anyhow, “big” cases always draw a lot of attention to one of my favorite things in criminal law: the plea of not guilty. Why do I love it so much? For a few reasons. First, a plea of not guilty in a “big” case really seems to upset the masses. I love upsetting the masses. Especially when it causes people to take a closer look at the criminal justice system. Second, it’s fun to say. Try dropping it into non-legal conversation any time somebody asks you if you did something and you’ll see what I mean. “Hey, did you remember to take the garbage out?” “Not guilty.”
I find it amusing that people go nuts when somebody pleads not guilty at an arraignment in a big criminal case. The media loves to use that in headlines. Don’t believe me? Watch what happens if George Zimmerman gets charged with killing Treyvon Martin. He’ll enter an initial plea of not guilty and people will go nuts. “How can he say he’s innocent!” Or, “Why won’t he just plead guilty and stop wasting tax money.”
How could he say he’s not guilty? I’ll tell you how. Because he can, that’s how.
Why? Because even when you want to enter a guilty plea, there is a time and a place for everything. What plea to enter and at what time you enter it can have as much of an effect on the outcome of the case as the underlying “truth” of your innocence/guilt.
In my fictional situation, Zimmerman would be asked to enter a “formal” plea at one of the initial court dates. Unless Florida works in a manner completely different than Illinois (which, I hope, it does), the Prosecutors will walk into that arraignment knowing all the details of the police investigation, having been informed of what all the witnesses (including Zimmerman) had to say, knowing what testimony and evidence the grand jury witnesses revealed, and knowing the details of their case from front-to-back. On the other hand, Zimmerman’s lawyer will know what his client told him. At that point in the case it’s like the two sides are playing poker, with the prosecutor having seen everybody’s cards and the defense knowing only half of his own cards.
In this business, information is everything. “Facts” are the cards. Want to see a nervous lawyer? Watch a one having to defend a trial in a case where there is no requirement that the lawyers exchange information beforehand. In this game, as in life, knowledge is everything. Just ask G.I. Joe and Kool Moe Dee .
What’s that got to do with George Zimmerman, Treyvon Martin and every person involved in any criminal case that ever got Nancy Grace’s guts in an uproar? No attorney in their right mind is ever going to enter a plea of guilty until all of the information has been exchanged and “we” know what “they” know… because they might just be wrong about something. It’s happened in the past.
It’s got nothing to do with guilt.
It’s got nothing to do with tax money.
It’s got everything to do with the Bill of Rights and knowledge of the case.
I don’t know if Zimmerman is going to get arrested and charged. With every passing day it does look less likely. I do know, though, that if he’s charged he’s going to enter an initial plea of not guilty. I’d expect nothing less.
Ah, Blago. I thought you were already in prison. Unfortunately it appears that you are not. From what I am reading, though, it looks like you’re going to be all over the news again this week. It seems you have to get the last word in (or, the last word before you’re really not going to be able to get any words in, anyway). I hope they are good.
Unfortunately, I’m pretty sure I know what you’re going to say. You haven’t said anything new in years. It was all a big conspiracy to get you out of the way so they could raise taxes. You told us! Such a shame considering you were such a tax cutting machine when you were in office. I mean, you may have avoided large tax increases on paper, but anybody who received a traffic ticket after you were elected saw how you dipped into their pockets. Some people don’t think traffic court should really be looked at as a way to raise revenue for pet projects… thankfully you weren’t one of them.
The problem is that I can’t come up with anything. I’m putting myself in your shoes and trying to think what some tv-watching guy like me might want to hear out of your mouth just before you went to prison. I’m thinking that the fact that I can’t think of anything is a sign. It’s a sign that you probably won’t be able to say anything that’s worth my mental energy to hear.
I’ve got an idea, Rod. If you don’t say anything before heading into prison, I won’t say anything about you while you’re there. Deal? Sounds fair to me. It won’t be easy for me to completely forget you (again), but I think I’m man enough to do it. If your “last words” prior to getting caged up are some more of your political babble, that may just be how I remember you. You don’t want that, Rod. See, now, when your name comes up, my memory is forced to playback your election against Jim Ryan. More notably, the most prevalent memory I have of you is Cal Skinner running all over the state with a two headed chicken named “JimRod” taunting both you and Jim Ryan. That is good stuff, Rod. Why would you want to tarnish that memory?
Anyhow, Mr. Blago, I know you’re not going to listen to me. I just wanted to share my feelings with you while you were a free man. Once you get locked up I could only share my feelings by sending you a letter, and I’m not about to waste the cost of a stamp on you.
Probably because I hate it right back. I guess it’s a mutual thing.
It was about 6 weeks ago that I posted my brilliant, earth shattering, sure-to-be-pulitzer winning thoughts on what I’d like to see out of criminal law in 2012. Right at the top of that list was Lindsay Lohan. I’ve had enough of hearing about her troubles. Like I said, give me more Jack Kervorkian!
Anyhow, somebody just emailed me to tell me that Lindsay Lohan will be hosting Saturday Night Live. I suppose that I should be happy that it’s not really criminal law related. For that, I’m trying not to be too bitter. Unfortunately I won’t be able to watch the show that night. I’ve got to wax the floors in my office that night.
It appeared you were trying to get some poor girl killed.
Dear Mr. Dogthebountyhunter,
Last weekend I got a little bored and flipped on the T.V. As I flipped through the channels I couldn’t help but become mesmerized by your mullet. It sucked me in and I quickly put down the remote. Despite my fascination with both your hair and your wife’s clown costumes, I was saddened when it appeared you were trying to get some poor girl killed.
If you aren’t sure what I’m talking about, Dog, it was the episode where it appeared that you were looking for a young lady who might have been using drugs while out on a bond you (or somebody) had posted. In typical Dog fashion you and your crew “hunted” this girl down. I was amazed at the creativity it took to find her- waiting around for her to walk by is not something most people would have the “smarts” to try. Clearly your skills as an investigator have been well honed over the decades you have been doing this.
As these things tend to happen when experts like yourself are involved, you got your “man” (or, in this case, a young, non-threatening, non-violent, non-fleeing, lady). Congrats on a job well done! I was worried this one might not turn out well for your crew. We are all behind you!
Anyhow, Dog, things turned a little weird after that. See, Dog, I was assuming you were trying to pick her up on a bond violation and going to turn her into the “authorities”. And, when I say “authorities” what I mean is “real” cops… or jail guards. You know, folks who have been sworn to actually uphold the law, follow standardized procedures, and keep people safe (even if those people are on bail while using drugs… they’re still people, Dog). Thankfully you used your best “Dog” judgment and, instead, drove her around town trying to find her drug dealer.
I get what you’re doing. With you as a the puppet-master, It seems only obvious that this low-level junkie could eradicate the drug trade by confronting her dealer. Busting a user and forcing her (while restrained) to take you back to her dealer is a genius move. I’m pretty sure that that’s the same technique that got Tony Montana in Scarface. I wonder if the FBI has thought of this?
Knowing what I know from working with the people I work with, the last thing I would do is hog-tie a user, force them to show me who their dealer is and where he hangs out. I take that back. The last thing I would do is force them to do that while the T.V. cameras and light are rolling… and then show up at the dealer’s “hangout” with the cameras and lights in-tow.
See, Dog, drug dealers don’t like that stuff. I would be worried- really worried– that at some point the lights and cameras would be off. I wouldn’t be around. My little user friend will have been released from jail. Even though her life would have been cured (the episode did show a member of your crew engaged in a touching, heart-to-heart “talk” with the girl), the dealer might not have forgotten the whole incident. He might even hold a grudge.
Dog, I’m worried that the dealer from your show might plan to do that girl harm. Maybe even kill her. Drug dealers are known to do that sort of illegal stuff. Have you seen that poor girl lately? Do you ever have trouble sleeping at night? If I didn’t know where that girl was, I would.
I’ve got to be honest, Dog, I’m not a fan of your show. You’ve made millions of dollars by shining lights and tv cameras on people at the worst moments of their lives.You’re a felon. Your daughter was just arrested (again). You should know a bounty hunter’s job is to pick people up on the streets, drop them off at the jail. You are not a one-man war on drugs. You shouldn’t put people in harm’s way to boost your ratings.
Next time your wife is asking you to make sure the feathers in your mullet match her tube-top (so that you guys can look good on TV), please consider actually trying to help some of these people. And, by “help” I mean that you might consider just arresting them and taking them to the jail. All that other garbage you do is just going to get somebody killed.