Illinois Includes Fire Department Vehicles in Lemon Law

Posted by Sergei Lemberg, Esq. on January 5th, 2009

Although Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich has lately made the news for all of the wrong reasons, he did sign an expansion of the state’s lemon law that went into effect on January 1. The law now covers vehicles purchased by a fire department, fire protection district, or township fire department.

Chicago Criminal Law

Posted by Sergei Lemberg, Esq. on October 14th, 2008

The Chicago criminal defense attorneys at Legal Defenders have extensive experience representing individuals charged with serious criminal offenses throughout Chicago. The City of Chicago is in Cook County, Illinois. Cook County has the largest unified court system in the United States. With well over 9 million people living in the Metropolitan Chicago area, the Cook County Court system struggles every day to deal with the various criminal cases that happen every day. The main courthouse is located at 26th and California Avenue, just outside of downtown Chicago. Next to the courthouse is the famous Cook County Jail. The jail deals with almost daily issues involving overcrowding and lawsuits alleging improper treatment and violations of civil rights. Most of the more high profile criminal cases are tried at the courthouse at 26th and California. Most recently, entertainer R. Kelly was on trial in a high profile case that attracted media and celebrities from all over the world. In addition to the main courthouse at 26th and California, there are 5 additional branch courthouses throughout the County from Rolling Meadows in the far-north, to Markham on the far-south. Each courthouse has its own unique character and culture.

Every individual charged with a criminal case in Chicago is required to be brought before a judge as soon as possible. This is where the Judge determines if there’s cause to hold a defendant and bond is set at this time. The next stage is a preliminary hearing. Due to the high number of Cook County cases, preliminary hearings in Chicago are not as involved as in less populated areas. At a preliminary hearing, the state only has to prove that it’s more probably true than not true that a crime was committed and that the defendant is the one that committed the crime. In some serious cases, the state bypasses the preliminary hearing and takes the case to a Grand Jury which determines if there’s probable cause to charge the defendant with a crime. After the preliminary hearing the case is transferred to the Chief Judge at 26th and California. The Chief Judge then assigns the case to a regular trial judge. When the defendant appears before their trial judge for the first time, they are arraigned and the state starts turning over its evidence.

Even though Cook County has such a large and diverse court system, personal relationships still matter. The attorneys at Legal Defenders have been careful to build and maintain a reputation in every single case that brings results to their clients. The vast majority of cases in Cook County end in a negotiated plea agreement. That negotiated agreement involves the Judge and the prosecutor. The negotiations almost always happen in the judge’s office, outside the presence of the public. This is where personal relationships matter the most. When the defense attorney knows the judge from past cases, when the prosecutor knows the attorney to be honest, competent and fair, and when the prosecutor knows that the attorney knows how to try a case, clients get the best deals.

While most cases end in a negotiated plea agreement, some do not. The attorneys at Legal Defenders have tried many cases before judges and juries. A trial is where the legal skills of the attorney matter the most. Being able to think on your feet and to be able to connect with a judge or jury and create reasonable doubt and use the law to defend your client is what it’s all about. We don’t fear going to trial, we look forward to it!

We invite you to visit our website at www.thelegaldefenders.com to find out more about our law firm. You can also visit our blog at http://legaldefenders.blogspot.com/ and read some interesting articles about criminal law in, and around Chicago, and about some of the criminal justice issues of concern to the residents of Chicago.