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Criminal Nuggets


Dec 10, 2018

Here are the top 10 criminal opinions released in 2018 by the Illinois court system. Episode 567 (Duration 22:57)

Top 10 Illinois Criminal Law Opinions in 2018

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Top 10 Most Important & Significant Criminal Opinions Released In 2018

➊ The SCOTUS Cases

Carpenter v. United States, 585 U. S. ____ (2018) (June). Episode 508 - The first two opinions here are not even Illinois cases. These are 2 SCOTUS cases that likely will change police procedures all up and down this state. Carpenter made it clear police need a warrant to capture your CSLI (cell site location information).

Collins v. Virginia, 584 U.S. __ (2018) (May). Episode 495 -Another SCOTUS opinion. Again, the high court limited police warrantless searches rather than expand them. Police need a warrant to search a vehicle on private property.

❷ High Court Reverse

In Re N.G., 2018 IL 121939 (August). Episode 524 - This never happens. The Illinois Supreme Court admits they got something wrong and fixed before years of litigation were wasted. The expressly overruled McFadden (see below) invalidated gun convictions are dead in the water and can't be used for anything. 

People v. McFadden, 2016 IL 117424 (June). Episode 187 - Originally, the Illinois Supreme Court said prosecutors could use invalidated gun convictions for charging and enhancement purposes. This is what they said was wrong.

❸ Apartments v. Houses

People v. Bonilla, 2018 IL 122484 (October). Episode 557 - Here the Illinois Supreme Court was pushed into deciding if apartments have less constitutional protection than houses. It said they have the same level of constitutional protection.

❹ Minors In Adult Court

People v. Harris, 2018 IL 121932 (October). Episode 551 - After changing the way minors are sentenced in adult court, the question popped up about what to do with young adults between 18 and 21 years of age. Many of the reasons for treating minors differently could also apply to this group of defendants. The Illinois Supreme Court said maybe, but 17 and under is where the line is drawn, and it's a hard line. Any young adults over the age of 18 looking for a break need to make "as applied" constitutional challenges. Those are not impossible, but difficult to win.

People v. Rodriguez, 2018 IL App (1st) 160030 (September). Episode 457 - This could be interesting. But expect the Illinois high court to slap this down the first chance it gets. This panel of appellate judges was feeling a little adventurous when they expanded protection for youthful offenders into uncharted areas of the law.

❺ SORA Issues

People v. Bingham, 2018 IL 122008 (September). Episode 551 - 2018 was the year to challenge SORA (sex offender registration act). Some defendants were seeing some success challenging the requirement to register as punitive. The Illinois Supreme Court finally said that the Appellate Court had no jurisdiction to waive a sex offender registration requirement.

In re B.C., 2018 IL App (3d) 170025 (February). Episode 465 - It wasn't all bad news. Minors in juvenile court found it difficult to use the section in the code that allowed some of them to get off the registration rolls if they could establish that it is “more probable than not” that he poses no risk to the community. The problem was that no evaluator would ever say that. This case helped fix this.

People v. Kindelspire, 2018 IL App (3d) 150803 (October). Episode 559 - This case was just one example of many overturned "failure to register" convictions. There is talk of revamping the SORA. This was just one example of why that change couldn't come too soon.

❻ Juvenile Interrogations

In re Jose A., 2018 IL App (2d) 180170 (October)Episode 557We finally got a good case that lays out and explains how the new juvenile interrogation statute works.

❼ Missing Video

People v. Montgomery, 2018 IL App (2d) 160541 (October). Episode 555 - What to do, what to do about lost, destroyed, or missing video? This question never gets old. There's no clear cut answer either. Things will really get interesting when police start wearing all those body cams.

❽ Higher Scrutiny

People v. Sanchez, 2018 IL App (1st) 143899 (April). Episode  488 - Not long ago an appellate court would have let this kind of conviction slide through. Not anymore. Wave after waver of wrongful convictions will get your attention. This reviewing court saw a case where the facts didn't add up. They flat out reverse a conviction. It's pretty clear they appellate judges thought they had the wrong guy.

People v. King, 2018 IL App (2d) 151112 (August). Episode 530 - These weren't the only 2 cases like this. But they do a good job of illustrating the scrutiny reviewing courts are now beginning to engage in. This time it was the state’s expert witness who was not allowed to get carried away with his opinion. Not that long ago this would not have been a problem.

❾ The Basics: Causation & Impartiality

People v. Nere, 2018 IL 122566 (September). Episode 541 - Every once and a while we'll catch a case that does a good job of bringing us back to the basics. Love those cases. Prepare for a PhD on "criminal causation" in this drug overdose case.

People v. Little, 2018 IL App (1st) 151954 (September). Episode 546 - This case too...This time the court was asking what it means to have an unbiased trier of fact. The case was set off when the judge appeared to have his mind made up before the defense attorney gave his closing argument. Very interesting stuff.

➓ Fines & Costs

People v. Barajas, 2018 IL App (3d) 160433 (November) & People v. Garza, 2018 IL App (3d) 160684 (November). Episode 562 - Not the sexiest issue, but these little cases go a long away reminding us how we can do something for defendants with fines and costs. Fines and costs are a mess.