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New No-Knock Warrant Requirements in Illinois Police Reform Law

A young couple is watching a movie in their apartment when police officers burst through the door. Thinking that a home invader was breaking in, the boyfriend got his gun and fired what he considered to be a warning shot. The shot hit one of the police officers, injuring him. Police officers then opened fire into the apartment, fatally wounding the woman.

The boyfriend claims that he never heard an announcement that the police were entering his apartment. The raid was an attempted drug raid. The police officers, in this case, obtained a no-knock warrant, allowing them to enter and search the premises without announcing themselves. Whether the police officers were justified in using a no-knock warrant is disputed among legal experts.

When Can Police Use a “No-Knock Warrant?”

This case has brought international attention to no-knock warrants, and the deceased woman’s family is suing the police department. Illinois has responded to recent discussions about the need for police reform by enacting more stringent requirements for no-knock warrants in its new police reform law. No-knock warrants can be particularly dangerous because the homeowner does not know that police are entering his or her home and may understandably think a home invasion is happening.

The reforms made to Illinois no-knock warrant requirements are based on recent Chicago Police Department reforms. These requirements will be state-wide and not limited to Chicago. Under Illinois’ new law, there are additional requirements for getting a no-knock warrant, such as:

Each police officer who participates in a no-knock warrant search must wear a body camera and follow all procedures and policies correctly
The law enforcement officers must take steps to plan the search to make sure it is accurate and account for any children or vulnerable people who may be in the house or apartment
When a police officer learns that the search warrant was executed at a location different from the location on the search warrant, he or she must notify a superior immediately. The superior must begin an internal investigation

Police officers who do not follow these new requirements could be personally charged and face criminal and administrative consequences. Cases involving alleged misconduct are a lightning rod for controversy right now. If you are a police officer facing charges for police misconduct, you need an aggressive criminal defense lawyer who will fight for you in court and in the court of public opinion.

Contact a Schaumburg Criminal Defense Lawyer Today

At Glasgow & Olsson, our award-winning criminal defense lawyers have a proven track record of success in many high-profile state and federal criminal cases. The firm has also been involved in representing persons whose rights have been violated in multimillion dollar civil rights cases. You can see defense attorney Thomas Glasgow on local Chicago news when he fought to get a former police officer’s conviction vacated. Contact Glasgow & Olsson today to schedule your initial consultation to learn how our legal team can fight for your rights.

A Police Officer’s Duty to Intervene in an Unlawful Use of Force Case

The murder trial of the police officer accused of killing George Floyd has concluded. While attempting to subdue George Floyd, who allegedly used a counterfeit $20 bill to purchase cigarettes, the former police officer kneeled on the man’s neck for an extended period of time. George Floyd died during the incident. Once the video was released to the public, massive protests erupted across the country. The former police officer has been convicted of murder.

In the video showing the incident, other police officers stand around watching the defendant kneel on George Floyd's neck. You can hear one of the officers questioned whether the defendant should be kneeling on his neck. Illinois’ new police reform law creates a legal duty for police officers to stop other officers when they are using excessive or unauthorized force.

Police Officers Must Intervene in Unlawful Use of Force Situations

When one police officer sees another police officer using excessive or unauthorized force, it is their duty to intervene and try to stop it. In a case like George Floyd's, the officers who watched another officer kneel on George Floyd’s neck would likely have a legal duty to intervene. Officers must quickly determine whether they consider the contact to be excessive use of force in the heat of the moment. Officers must intervene to stop the excessive use of force, even if the officer engaging in excessive force ranks higher than them.

In addition to preventing the unauthorized use of force during the incident itself, police officers must also complete a police department report within five days of the incident. A police department cannot discipline or retaliate against officers for submitting a departmental report regarding excessive use of force.

Choke Holds are Barred in Illinois Unless Deadly Force is Justified

Illinois police reform law also bars chokeholds of any kind unless a police officer is authorized to use deadly force. Any type of restraint or chokehold above the suspect’s shoulders is now prohibited. The law also makes it more difficult for police officers to justify using deadly force against a suspect. Police officers cannot use deadly force unless all of the following conditions are met:

  • Deadly force is necessary to prevent the arrest from being defeated by resistance or escape, and
  • The police officer reasonably believes that the suspect cannot be apprehended at a later date, and
  • The police officer reasonably believes that the suspect is likely to be arrested and cause great bodily harm to another, and
  • The suspect just committed or attempted a forcible felony involving the infliction or threatened infliction of great bodily harm or is attempting to escape by the use of a deadly weapon, or otherwise indicates that he will endanger human life or inflict great bodily harm unless arrested without delay

Contact a Schaumburg Criminal Defense Lawyer Today

If you are a police officer charged with murder due to using excessive force, you need an experienced criminal defense lawyer. At Glasgow & Olsson, our award-winning criminal defense lawyers have a proven track record of success in many high-profile state and federal criminal cases. You can see defense attorney Thomas Glasgow on local Chicago news when he fought to get a former police officer’s conviction vacated. Contact Glasgow & Olsson today to schedule your initial consultation to learn how our legal team can fight for your rights.

Illinois Drivers Need to be Extra Careful Around School Buses

Illinois lawmakers recently voted to increase fines for drivers who pass stopped school buses. House Bill 1873 recently passed. This legal measure doubles the fines for drivers who illegally pass a school bus from $150 to $300 for first-time offenders. Drivers convicted of subsequent offenses face fines between $500 and $1,000.

The Increased Fines for Passing School Buses Highly Controversial

State lawmakers engaged in a heated debate after the new House Bill before it passed by a 74-16 vote. Supporters of the bill argued that it would help protect school children as they get on and off their school buses. Some supporters of the new regulation argued that the fine should be significantly higher. One lawmaker pointed out that in some states, the fine for passing a stopped school bus is $10,000.

Critics of the proposition argued that increasing the fines will not deter people from passing stopped school buses. Critics also argued that raising the fines would only provide extra hardships for those who already have difficulties paying traffic violation fines. One representative pointed out that defendants who are unable to pay the potential $1,000 fine may lose their license and not be able to go to work and provide for their children.

Passing School Buses is All Too Common in Illinois

According to a survey conducted by ABC 7 in Chicago, Illinois school bus drivers reported more than 20,000 instances in which drivers passed busses with the STOP arm out in 2017. Drivers who pass school buses do put school children at risk. In 2018, a driver struck four siblings who were leaving a school bus in Indiana. Three of the siblings, including 6-year-old twins and their 9-year-old sister died. The other sibling suffered serious injuries.

That year, two adults and five students suffered injuries when a Florida driver hit them at the bus stop. The National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services conducted a survey of school bus passing incidents in 38 states. The study found that approximately 15 million drivers could be illegally passing school buses every day of the 180-day school year.

Other Consequences for Passing a Stopped Bus in Illinois

Only the fine amount has changed as a result of this provision. The other provisions of the current law regarding passing a stopped bus have not changed. Currently, drivers who pass a stopped bus will have their driver’s licenses suspended for three months for first-time offenders. For a second violation, the defendant will face a license suspension for a year. Drivers whose licenses are suspended can apply for a restricted driver’s permit. These permits allow drivers to drive to and from work, but not anywhere else. It remains to be seen whether or not the increased fines fine will act as a deterrent to illegal school bus passing.

We Can Help

If you are facing charges for passing a stopped school bus, our lawyers can help. Contact the criminal defense lawyers at Glasgow & Olsson today to schedule your initial consultation.