Chicago Legal Blog

Street named for civil rights hero in Chicago

A major road in downtown Chicago has been renamed after a civil rights hero, according to multiple news reports. It is also the first time in history that a road in the city has been named for a black woman. Ida B. Wells Drive was dedicated earlier in February. The street renamed was Congress Parkway. Wells was a pioneer in journalism and civil rights. She was also a suffragist.

Wells was born in the United States in 1862 into slavery. When slavery came to an end she attended college and then worked as a teacher in Mississippi. She moved to Memphis for other teaching jobs later in her career.

Police officers may try to trick you into waiving your rights

Any interaction with law enforcement could lead to serious consequences for the citizen involved. What you say innocently in an attempt to communicate (and perhaps cooperate) with law enforcement could provide them grounds for investigating or even arresting you. Also concerning is the fact that law enforcement will often engage in manipulative tactics in order to serve their purposes.

They may seek to get you to wave your civil rights so they can keep asking you questions or gain entry into your home. Knowing your rights is an important first step toward ensuring that interactions with law enforcement do not end up having negative consequences for you.

What constitutes a misuse of power by a police officer?unroll gi

A police officer holds a tremendous amount of power in the community. The officer can stop, detain, question and arrest just about anyone he or she wants. That said, just because an officer can do as he or she pleases, it doesn't mean that the officers actions will always be lawful. They could constitute an abuse of power.

There are strict rules and regulations that govern what an officer can and cannot do. This is especially the case when it comes to unlawful actions that an officer could do for his or her own profit and gain.

Government to (sort of) start tracking deadly force by police

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is establishing a database that will keep track of incidents involving the discharge of a police firearm in someone's direction, the serious bodily harm of a subject or death. The database will also track the gender, ethnicity and age of those people involved in police shootings.

That all sounds well and good -- because there's clearly a need for greater transparency about what goes on in our nation's police forces -- but it may not be as useful a database as many hope. That's because there's absolutely no legal requirement for police departments to turn over their data to the federal government for inclusion in the database.

Could psychological challenges can lead to police brutality?

In trying to understand why police brutality happens, it's important to look at the psychological side of working as a police officer. It is very challenging work that presents officers with some of the darker sides of life on a daily basis.

They constantly see people who have been killed or seriously injured due to criminal activity. They interact with the people who committed those acts. They get a firsthand view of the ways in which those actions impact a person's family.

Reasons that suspects provide false confessions

According to the Innocence Project, deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) analysis has resulted as many as 350 convictions being overturned in recent years. In some of these cases, the defendant had confessed to committing the crime that they had been accused of. If you're wondering why a suspect would admit to a criminal act that they weren't actually responsible for, there are many reasons that they may have done this.

One of the more common reasons that an individual may provide a false confession is because they're intimidated into doing so by police. Some techniques that law enforcement may use to intimidate a suspect into providing a confession include questioning them when they're hungry, exhausted or under stress.

Business tenants, leases and eviction: Things you need to know

When you sign a lease for your business, you hope that the relationship with your landlord remains strong until the day you decide to leave. While this is your hope, things don't always work out this way. It's possible you could find yourself in a dispute with your landlord, which complicates your lease and relationship.

If you run into trouble as a tenant, the best thing you can do is review your lease in great detail. This will give you a clear idea of what's expected of you, and what you can and can't do.

Are you the victim of tortious interference?

Tortious interference refers to the intentional interference in a contractual or other business relationship with the motive of inflicting economic harm to one or more of the parties in that relationship. It's considered an economic tort because the damage to the plaintiff is financial in nature.

Tortious interference can come in many forms. A common example is when one party (the defendant, if the case goes to court) forces or tries to persuade another party to violate a contract with someone else. This could be done, for example, by offering a product or service involved at a below-market price as an inducement. Blackmail or even threats, however, could also be used.

Defining probable cause, wrongful arrests and false imprisonment

A false arrest is simply an arrest made without the legal authority to do so. When a person is taken into custody without the legal right for such an act, this is called false imprisonment. A person who is falsely imprisoned or falsely arrested can file a claim against those who violated their civil rights.

Also known as a wrongful arrest, it's important to know what to do after you haveĀ been through a false arrest. The federal anti-discrimination law states that a person arrested without probable cause is able to sue for the violation of their rights based on the Fourth Amendment.

Why does Illinois have so many exonerations?

Illinois ranks third among all states in the number of people wrongfully convicted of a crime and then exonerated. Over the past three decades, 225 people in our state have been cleared of the crimes they were convicted of. Last year alone, the National Registry of Exonerations reported that 21 people were cleared of convictions for murder, robbery, drug possession and sexual assault. All but one are men.

Just last month, 18 men were exonerated because their convictions were linked to a former Chicago police officer who was found to be corrupt. The sergeant and his tactical unit operated on the city's South Side for a decade. One attorney said that members of the unit "put cases on people who didn't cooperate with their corrupt schemes, took bribes, stole money and drugs from drug dealers, and really ruined the lives of dozens -- maybe hundreds."

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