70 mph Speed Limit for Tollways Vetoed by Quinn

Illinois Tollway

This last Tuesday Governor Pat Quinn vetoed raising the maximum speed limit on Illinois tollways. As of now, the speed limit for these tollways is at 65 mph.

Quinn’s reasoning for the veto? He stated, “The convenience of increased speeds for drivers on Illinois tollways does not outweigh the safety risks to children, families and our dedicated public servants.” He continued, “Recent evidence shows that drivers already travel at excessive speeds on Illinois toll highways.”

His argument against the raised speed limit included a study done last year regarding Interstate 94 in Lake County. The study showed that 71 percent of the drivers on the tollway exceeded the posted speed limit by 15 mph or more. Another tollway study revealed that 91 percent to 98 percent of drivers on 7 different tollways spots went over the speed limit from anywhere between 11 mph to 15 mph on average during off-peak hours.

Rural Interstate Law Passed Last Year

It was only last year when Quinn had signed into law a separate Oberweis bill that raised the speed limit to 70 mph for rural interstates. He spoke about his reason for the increase last year stating, “This limited 5 miles-per-hour increase will bring Illinois’ rural interstate speed limits in line with our neighbors’ and the majority of states across America, while preventing an increase in excessive speeding.”

The passing of the rural interstate speed limit law was objected by Illinois Department of Transportation, state police and leading roadway safety organizations. Their opposition was primarily focused on the safety of drivers, especially between cars and semi trucks.

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If you or a loved one find yourself in a tough traffic-related situation, please contact The Law Office of J. Samuel worley, LLC. Sam Worley is a compassionate, dedicated Chicago traffic violations attorney who wants to protect your rights. call now for a free, confidential consultation: 312-600-8655

 

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Concealed Carry the Reason for Lower Crime Rates?

Concealed gun

Illinois is the 50th state in the U.S. to allow concealed weapons, and many believe that the new legislation has resulted in a decrease in crime rates. Concealed carry permits were numbered at 83,183 applications as of July 29th, and it’s believed that the number will reach to 100,000 Illinois citizens by the end of this year. Since last year, robberies that have led to arrests in Chicago has declined by 20 percent. Reports of burglary theft is down by 20 percent, and vehicle theft is down by 26 percent. In the first quarter of 2014, the homicide rate was at a 56-year low. With more citizens packing, it appears that there is a correlation between these statistics.

Richard Pearson, executive director of the Illinois State Rifle Association states, “It isn’t any coincidence crime rates started to go down when concealed carry was permitted. Just the idea that the criminals don’t know who’s armed and who isn’t has a deterrence effect.” He continued, “The police department hasn’t changed a single tactic — they haven’t announced a shift in policy or of course — and yet you have these incredible numbers.”

Police Force or Legalization of Concealed Weapons?

While Pearson believes that it’s the legalization of concealed weapons, the Chicago Police Department credits the efforts of the police force for the lowered rates. Garry F. McCarthy, Police Superintendent, noted that the department has confiscated more than 1,300 illegal guns between January and March of this year. He believes that “intelligent policing strategies” and improved training has helped immensely.

No matter the reason, crime rates have decreased. Despite the worries of those who advocate for gun control, the legalization of concealed weapons has, at the very least, not created more crime. President of Crime Prevention Research Center based in Swarthmore Pennsylvania says, “There’s a lot of academic research that’s been done on this, and if you look at the peer-reviewed studies, the bottom line is a large majority find a benefit of concealed carry on crime rates — and, at worst, there’s no cost.” He continues, “You can deter criminals with longer prison sentences and penalties, but arming people with the right to defend themselves with a gun is also a deterrence.”

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If you or a loved one have been accused of a crime you did not commit, contact the Law Offices of J. Samuel Worley, LLC at your earliest convenience. J. Samuel Worley is a confident Chicago criminal defense attorney who works thoughtfully, relentlessly, and intelligently to get you the results you deserve. Call now: 312-600-8655.

 

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New Law Banning Tobacco on Illinois Campuses Signed by Governor

Smoking banned on Illinois Campuses

This last Sunday, Governor Pat Quinn signed a new law that prohibits smoking on state-supported campuses. This law bans students from not only smoking indoors, but also any outdoor spaces on campus. This law goes into effect July 1st, 2015.

Governor Quinn also signed a law that will restrict the display of e-cigarettes — both laws are part of his agenda to improve the overall health of all of Illinois residents. The Smoke Free Campus Act has been sponsored and supported by many, including State Senator Terry Link (D-Waukegan) and State Representative Ann Williams (D-Chicago). The American Lung Association has been working with state legislators to see these laws through. Upper Midwest CEO Lew Bartfield of the American Lung Association is excited for the success, and stated:

“…the new law will provide a healthy learning environment that promotes health and wellness for students, faculty, staff and visitors at all public colleges and universities in Illinois. The law not only minimizes toxic secondhand smoke exposure but also improves the campus environment by reducing smoking related litter. We applaud the Illinois State Legislature and Governor Pat Quinn for passing and signing the Illinois Smoke Free Campus Act.”

Privately owned vehicles driving through the campus are exempt from this law. Likewise, the law won’t incriminate those who are parked on campus in a non-state-owned vehicle.

Smoke-Free Campuses

Currently the colleges in Illinois that are smoke-free are:

  • Aurora University
  • Blessing-Rieman College of Nursing
  • City Colleges of Chicago (7 colleges)
  • College of DuPage
  • Danville Area Community College
  • Greenville College, Hannibal LaGrange University
  • McHenry County College
  • Olivet Nazarene University
  • Rush University
  • University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • University of Illinois at Chicago
  • Waubonsee Community College
  • Wheaton College.

Other campuses that will be mandated to become smoke-free are:

  • Chicago State University
  • Eastern Illinois University
  • Governors State University
  • Western Illinois University
  • Northern Illinois University
  • Northeastern Illinois University, and
  • Any community college subject to the Public Community College Act.

Southern Illinois University and Illinois State University have already taken steps to a making their campuses smoke-free. “A college education can put people ahead in life, but smoking can do just the opposite,” Senator Link stated. “This new law will clear the air on campuses statewide and help produce healthier graduates.”

Chicago Drug Defense Lawyer

As Illinois takes steps to making a safer, healthier state, this law may seem a tad restrictive to some. Studies suggest that cigarette smoking can increase a person’s risk of using harder, illegal drugs.

If you have been convicted of a drug related crime and are unsure of your options, please do not hesitate to contact The Law Offices J. Samuel Worley for a free consultation. Sam Worley is an experienced Chicago Drug Defense Lawyer, and provides those in need with his experience, infinite resources, and the knowledge that will help them gain the confidence they need to protect their rights. Call today: 312-953-LAW1    

 

Emanuel Asks for Help with Fighting Chicago Crime

In our last couple of posts, we have been covering the crime rates of Chicago, as a lot of anger and confusion has derived from their accuracy. While officials have stood behind their numbers, it seems that the public isn’t interested in them. What are they interested in? Feeling safe within their communities. As of recently, Mayor Rahm Emanuel has announced that the city of Chicago will be getting assistance from the state government.

Forty Illinois Police troopers will work with the understaffed, overworked Chicago Police department to try to help make certain communities safer. It’s no surprise to anyone who lives in the city; crime is concentrated in certain pockets of the South and West sides. Many young people have been murdered in these areas (once a day, on average), leaving the communities feeling abandoned, desensitized, and rightfully angry.

Prejudices lead to Negative Attitudes within Law Enforcement

Territorial and cultural prejudices have made law enforcement agencies view each other as rivals, as opposed to allies. Whether it’s for public stature, for budget money, or even for bragging rights, the agencies haven’t really been willing to work with one another in the past. City, state, and federal units are known to not want to cooperate, so when Emanuel “asked” Gov. Pat Quinn (who oversees state troopers) for help — it was considered a bold request.

This unique approach has many people wondering it will be enough of an effort. Fifty CeaseFire interventionists will be added as well, a total of 100 who will use tactics to defuse conflict. It will be interesting to see if this infusion will work, whether the partnership will be worth the effort, and even change how law enforcement views one another. Nonetheless, it is a game changer.

Call Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney Sam Worley Today!

If you or a loved one have been wrongfully accused of a crime you did not commit, please do not hesitate to call The Law Office of J. Samuel Worley, LLC. Chicago Criminal Defense Lawyer, Sam Worley, has been practicing criminal defense for almost a decade, and wants to protect your rights. Call now: 312-953-LAW1

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Chicago Crime Rates Public Hearing – The Aftermath

Chicago Criminal Defense Lawyer

Last week, on Friday August 1st, officials held a public hearing to discuss the latest statistics on Chicago crime. As we wrote in our last blog post, many are questioning the accuracy of these statistics. Crime rates are the lowest they have been for over two decades, but all we every see on the news is a report about another bloody shooting. Chicago police superintendent Garry McCarthy, surrounded by staff, faced city alderman last week and defended reports. Who’s really to blame? McCarthy believes the news organizations.

News Organizations to blame?

McCarthy criticized News organizations for the time they devote to the killings and other crime, believing that this festishism results in the perception that Chicago is the “crime capital of the country.” He stands behind his remarks, believing that Chicago shouldn’t hold that title, and that the crime rates are accurate.

“Through the first seven months of this year, murders are down 55 percent from 20 years ago and tdown 40 percent from 10 years ago, and down seven percent from last year’s record-setting lows,” stated McCarthy. While he is happy with the decrease in rates, some are still not buying it.

Many of the alderman left the hearing feeling as if all of the real, hard hitting questions asked of McCarthy were side-stepped. The alderman feel that the issue is not the statistics, but rather the perception.

Perception vs. Fact

“My son was in Ghana and some kids were getting an opportunity to come here for a program and when they heard that they were going to come to Chicago, they started crying,” stated Ald. Walter Burnett, 27th Ward.

Whether crime rates have decreased or not, it is true that the Chicago population feels unsafe; especially in certain areas where crime is concentrated. Burnett continues, “If you have a minority young man in your family, you are always on pins and needles every time they walk out of the house because you do not know what is going to happen you are always worried.”

More man power seems to be the request of many of the alderman. “Shootings and murders are not isolated here on the South and West side. We need more manpower,” said Ald. Bob Fioretti, 2nd Ward.

McCarthy is invested in the statistics, and states that they accuracy of these numbers is what helps the department understand where resources are needed, and what needs to be done to fight crime.

“We will not rest until every person in the city of Chicago and every community feels the effect of what those statistics are talking about,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

Call a Chicago Criminal Defense Lawyer for Legal Assistance

If you or a loved one are in need of legal advice, please do not hesitate to contact The Law Office of J. Samuel Worley, LCC. Our Chicago criminal defense attorneys pride ourselves in helping those in need. We offer free, confidential consultations. Call us today: 312-953-LAW1

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Chicago Officials Hold Public Hearing on Crime Stats

In our last blog post we discussed how Chicago has statistically seen a decrease in violent crimes and homicides. But these statistics have left many wondering how accurate the numbers are. Weeks after multiple requests, Chicago Officials have agreed to hold a Public Hearing this morning (August 8th, 2014) to help clear up some of the communities concerns.

Chicago Progressive Caucus Makes Second Request for Public Hearing — Finally Heard

One of the requests was from the Chicago Progressive Caucus, who made a call for a public hearing back in early June. Seven members, including Ald. Bob Fioretti (2nd), asked the Public Safety Committee chair, James Balcer (21st), to hold the meeting to address issues they suspect with the statistics. Specifically, the Chicago Progressive Caucus suspects that the Chicago Police Department is actually miscategorizing crimes in an attempt to diminish crime rates.

Decrease in Statistics are Exaggerated

Police Supt. Garry McCarthy states that overall homicide ratings have dropped (the lowest it’s been in decades), despite constant reports about shootings in the city. Fioretti feels like this statement and the decrease in statistics are overwhelming exaggerated. According to a Chicago Tribune Article, the Inspector General found that Chicago police did not report nearly a quarter of the aggravated assault and aggravated battery victims in an audit about crime statistics in 2012. Counting incidents instead of the victims involved (as is procedure) lead to a great deal of underreporting. This same process has been used by the department in city shootings — incident rather than victims.

“Safety is the No. 1 concern”

“We want to find what the public view is of crime classification, and reporting practices of the Chicago Police Department, because there’s a lot of issues dealing with the integrity of what the public is being told,” Fioretti sent at his first request. After that he has sent a second request, stressing that a hearing would happen whether the mayor and police department supported it or not.

“People need to know that what has been counted and what hasn’t, and what the real crime data is,” said Fioretti, who also wants more police resources including 500 new officers. “I hear it everywhere I go: Safety is the No. 1 concern.”

The meeting is being held at 10 am this morning at the City Hall in Chicago City Council’s chambers.

Call a Chicago Criminal Defense Lawyer Today!

If you or a loved one have been convicted of a crime you did not commit, please contact The Law Office of J. Samuel Worley, LLC. to speak with a Chicago criminal defense attorney. We wholeheartedly stand by the phrase, “innocent until proven guilty,” and will work hard to fight for your rights. Call a for a free, confidential consultation today: 312-953-LAW1

Illinois Lawmakers Sign New Bill to Help Ex-Convicts Find Employment After Release

Prison overcrowding has been a problem for many years. To save money and reduce overcrowding , a number of states have pushed inmates out on early release plans, but the question that seems to have no answer — what happens to these convicts afterwards?

If people get drawn back into the real world, get a job and make a living, studies show they’ll be less likely to go to prison,” stated Howard Husock, vice president for policy research for The Manhattan Institute for Policy Research. “With early release now on the menu for so many states, it makes the matter more pressing.”

Besides early release, two of the greatest factors that have affected so many ex-convicts ability to settle back into the real world has been lack of proper help/treatment, and how difficult it can be to find employment with a record. This month, Illinois lawmakers have taken strides to help the latter.

Based on Capability, not Record

Under a new law signed earlier this month, ex-offenders in Illinois will no longer have to disclose their criminal pasts until employers evaluate their qualifications, and abilities. This is great news for the newly released convicts trying to turn their lives around. State Rep. Rita Mayfield, who attended the signing at St. Michael Missionart Baptist Church on Chicago’s West Side, spoke about the new law; “This is the culmination of hope for so many individuals.”
Among those who attended the signing was 34-year old Eddie Parker of Chicago who had served six years in a Correctional Center for drug possession. Though Parker, a certified butcher, was released a decade ago, he explained that securing a job over the years has been extremely difficult due to his record.

Ban the Box

This new law will allow ex-convicts a chance to show who they really are, their abilities, and personality before an employer is turned off by their record. At the signing, Parker mentioned the tiny box on every application that makes you check off if you have a criminal record. Parker said, “”Without [the box], it can change a lot. It gives us a chance to tell you our story. A person can change a lot coming back to society.”

Illinois is the fifth state to approve a law that requires the disclosure of a criminal history and criminal background until it’s determined that the potential employee is qualified for the position. Certain types of jobs — some construction jobs, emergency medical jobs and and security jobs — may be exempt. The law takes affect January first of next year.

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If you or a loved one have found yourself in need of legal support, please do not hesitate to call The Law Office of J. Samuel Worley, LLC. We protect the rights of all our clients, will help aid you with your legal matters, and help you reach a resolution. Contact our Chicago criminal defense lawyers today: 312-953-LAW1

 

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Colorado Recreation Marijuana Industry – Revenue Less than Estimated

While Illinois State lawmakers are looking to legalize medical marijuana for around 10,000 Illinois patients in need, several states have had similar laws in place for years. In fact, Colorado (as well as Washington) not only legalized medical marijuana, but allow marijuana to be used for recreational purposes.

Colorado marijuana state laws have recently made the news when State Officials scaled back prior estimates about the state’s retail marijuana industry. Those estimates were believed to be upwards of $1 billion in sales this coming fiscal year, but as of May, the industry has collected about 4.2 million in sales and excise taxes.

The drug was first legalized the year 2012 in Colorado after an overwhelming vote, but the revenue from sales unfortunately isn’t as much as local Colorado governments were hoping for. The lead economist at Denver-based Colorado Futures Center of Colorado State University spoke on the issue: “I don’t think it’s the savior for state budgets,” she began, “It brings in additional revenue, but it also brings in additional costs for administration of the system and regulation and monitoring. It’s not free money.”

And so it’s becoming extremely evident that it really isn’t free money, and the industry should not be relied on to patch holes of a sinking ship. There are many reasons why the industry hasn’t come close to estimations. Below is a list of possible reasons:

  • Slow licensing and approval

With new markets, at the beginning, licensing can often be slow. Still working out the kinks (similarly to what we are seeing in Illinois) can take time. It also doesn’t help that there is a:

  • Shortage of product 

Not being able to keep up with demands can hurt revenue immensely. This shortage caused early sales to fall short, and making up that for that revenue loss will be difficult.

  • Medical Marijuana over Recreational sales 

More cannabis users are going the medical marijuana route instead of buying recreationally. This is because the tax on medical marijuana is taxed at a lower rate than retail marijuana.

  • Uncertainty 

Because it’s a relevantly new market, it’s hard to know what is going to happen with the Marijuana industry. The Governor first requested $75 million, but scaled back his proposal by $21 million (down to a 54 million request). It’s believed that the market will most likely follow suit of other “sin levies” industries, such as cigarettes and alcohol, which represent a fraction of states general-fund budget.

In years to come, more Colorado cites are looking to expand their marijuana retail stores. As of now, the only businesses that are legally allowed to sell recreational marijuana are businesses that have already been approved to sell marijuana for medical purposes.

Steadman, the vice-chairmen of the Joint-Budget Committee stated, “We’re trying to maintain a strong nexus between the tax that’s collected on legal marijuana sales and the expenditures that are being made, in that they are all related to substance use, abuse, prevention and treatment and law enforcement.”

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“The governor didn’t get everything he wanted,” said Steadman. While this may be true, the marijuana industry is still new. Once hurdles are overcome, the industry may see closer to the revenue state lawmakers desire.

Though positive changes the marijuana prohibition are being made in Colorado and Washington, recreational use in Illinois is still illegal. If you find yourself in a tough situation, and need legal advice, please contact The Office of J. Samuel Worley, LCC’s Chicago drug criminal defense lawyers for the support you need. We offer free, confidential to all those needing more information. Contact us today: 312-953-LAW1

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Illinois is One step Closer to Legalization

In recent news, Illinois State lawmakers have begun to finalize plans to allow medical marijuana to be bought and sold for patients that apply for an ID card this fall. This means that patients may be able to legally purchase as early as next spring. While it seems like things are moving along for the new industry, there are a few major kinks left to straighten out. Below is a list of those hurdles:

  • Who will get a license?

Before patients have the access they need to medical marijuana, State regulators have to figure out which business will get a license.  Before the chosen licensed business can buy or sell pot, they will need to follow laboratory procedures to test that each plant is safe for patient use.

The regulators hope to sketch up a list of criteria that will make the process simple and efficient within the next month. This list will test each business that applies for a license, and will help determine which of them will be allowed to sell medical marijuana. The state will like to approve 21 cultivation centers and up to 60 retail stores for selling and growing. This criterion is based on security, patient education, and expertise on growing the plant. Likewise the Illinois Department of Agriculture has started to convey one of their labs into a testing center. This center will be used to test incoming plants for mold, pesticides, or for anything that may be deemed harmful for a patient to ingest.

  • Where will the Marijuana seedlings come from?

Owner of the Grand Prairie Farms in Frankfort, Bryan Willmer, answers this questions joking: “I guess [the seeds] should fall from the sky.” Willmer is one of many farmers hoping to obtain a license, but are unsure of how they will cultivate seeds legally to start growing. Farmers are eager to see if the state has a plan, and the officials said that they are working on this issue.

  • Who will receive an ID card?

Illinois will have some of the strictest rules on medical marijuana of the 23 states that have approved the buying/selling/and growing of the plant. Because of this, many patients will not be approved for an ID card. In fact, state regulators are requiring patients to have a doctor certify that they have one of three dozen specific conditions like HIV, cancer, and other serious conditions. Patients who are suffering from severe pain most likely will not be approved. Illinois will also require industry owners, and potential ID cardholders to go through a criminal background check – Illinois is the only state that will require fingerprints.

  • High Costs

State officials have placed high entry fees on patients in hopes to stabilize the industry. Business operators need enough capital to maintain. A lot of marijuana advocates feel the initial fee, $100 plus 8 percent sales tax, for clients is extremely steep, as well as the fees required of licensed businesses — $200,00 of the initial license, 500,000 in liquid assets, and dispensaries – 30,000 for a license, 400,000 in liquid assets

Projected to help 10,000 qualified Illinois Patients — Only the beginning

Marijuana has been approved for medical use in several states, such as Colorado, for many years. State regulators have taken great steps towards helping many Illinois patients who will be approved for medical marijuana use. Marijuana has been studied to help relieve pain, tremors and nausea with less side effects than a number of medications. Members of the Marijuana Policy Project estimate Illinois will have about 10,000 qualified patients.

The Law Office of J. Samuel Worley’s Chicago criminal defense lawyers are happy to see good people get the help they deserve. We offer free, confidential consultations to those in need, because we whole-heartily believe that everyone has the right to feel supported. If you find yourself needing legal advice, please do not hesitate to contact our Chicago criminal defense attorneys today: 312-953-LAW1 

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U.S. Supreme Court Stands behind California State Ruling and DUI Machines Reliability

In December of 2007, Terry Vangelder was stopped by a patrolman in San Diego County after driving his pickup truck at the dangerous speed of 125mph. With Vangelder’s consent, the patrolman tested his blood alcohol content. The results suggested that Vangelder was driving with a blood alcohol content of .095 percent. Administering a second test, the results showed Vangelder at .086 percent – just .006 over legal limit.

Cases like these occur all the time, making many question the reliability of DUI machines. One California motorist expressed his concerns for the machines, and at the end of last Month the Supreme Court answered – with rejection.

Backing up the state of California, the Supreme Court refused to hear Vangelder’s trial, inadvertently asserting the State Court ruling correct. The Supreme Court determined that the blood alcohol machines used in California are accurate, and will continue to be used to illustrate a person’s blood alcohol content. As the machines have been studied by legislature and have been certified by the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Supreme Court believes this is enough evidence to support the machines dependability. Because of this conclusion, the defense is unable to present any testimony from a scientist that suggests differently. This ruling is a huge blow to the defense’s argument.

Though the defense was unable to prove that the machine is defective in design, the Supreme Court will allow a defendant to try to show that a particular machine was defective or improperly used when the test was administered.

During Vangelder’s trial, Michael Hlastala, a professor of medicine and physiology at University of Washington, testified in Vangelder’s favor. Through studies, Hlastala stated that breath-testing machines are unpredictable because of the breathing patterns of a person. Blood content machines test the content of exhaled air. If a person has a heavier/lighter breathing pattern, the machine may read their blood alcohol content much differently. These variables make it difficult to accurately test the air that is deep in a person’s lungs and what’s closer to the bloodstream.

Unfortunately for Vangelder, the Supreme Court refused to take up the case. The trial judge believed Hlastala’s testimony to be speculative, and Vangelder was fined close to $2,000.

If you have been in a similar situation, and feel that the machine used to test your blood alcohol content was either defective or used improperly, do not hesitate to seek the legal advice you deserve. Call the Law Offices of J. Samuel Worley for a free consultation: 312-953-LAW1  

 

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