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  • 08 Sep 2021 8:56 PM | Anonymous

    Nearly everyone who works within the criminal court system has the power to affect people’s lives. Whether a victim, a defendant, a witness or a family member of one of those players, our actions can determine whether someone goes on to live a responsible, productive life, develops faith or cynicism in the criminal court system, or loses their liberty. It is a tremendous responsibility that demands our full attention, our best effort and judgment, and a willingness to tackle each case singularly.

    In addition to this responsibility, we see the horrific details that accompany many criminal cases. We see the injuries to a victim through photos. We hear screaming and pleading for help on 911 calls. We read police reports detailing the devastation that led to the criminal charge. We witness the collateral damage to children and other family members. We have all of this while dealing with exorbitant caseloads and working through a worldwide pandemic, neither of which yet has an expiration date.

    This, of course, equates to a great deal of stress, which will take a significant mental toll if not properly managed.  Now is the time to proactively address the stresses of this job so that we support our employees and keep caring people in the jobs they love. That is why I asked Sugar Grove-based therapist Jada Hudson to write about prosecutor emotional well-being. Dr. Hudson, M.S., LCPC, CADC, is a clinically trained therapist with more than 20 years of experience. She specializes in counseling first responders who have experienced occupational stress and trauma.

    I encourage lawyers and administrative staff alike to read this article, and to understand that the stress and trauma that goes with working in a prosecutor’s office is to be expected. Hopefully, this will begin a long overdue discussion on how to help those who have made helping others their career choice. I hope you will find this information to be helpful in managing stress and trauma.

    – Jamie L. Mosser, Kane County State’s Attorney

    Emotional Wellness for Prosecutors
    By: Jada Hudson

    -Article available for download here.

  • 28 Mar 2019 11:24 AM | Anonymous

    We strongly encourage our members to review the National District Attorneys Associations statement on prosecutorial best practices in high profile cases.

  • 27 Jan 2019 2:57 PM | Anonymous

    Carpenter v. United States, 138 S. Ct. 2206 (2018) 

    Police officers must obtain a search warrant before accessing historical cell phone records that chronicle an individual’s prior movements

    Federal prosecutors obtained a court order for the defendant’s cell phone records, which included cell-site location information. This information led to the defendant’s conviction on multiple robbery and firearms charges. Reversing the decision below, the United States Supreme Court held that an individual has a reasonable expectation of privacy “in the whole of his physical movements.” When the government accesses cell-site location information, it invades that expectation of privacy. The fact that the individual’s movements are shared with a third party, i.e., wireless carriers, is of no consequence due to the deeply revealing nature of cell-site location information; its depth, breadth, and comprehensive reach; and the inescapable and automatic nature of its collection. Therefore, in the absence of an exception, law enforcement must obtain a warrant supported by probable cause before acquiring such information.

    People v. Gocmen, 2018 IL 122388

    A police officer need not be qualified as an expert in order to testify to his opinion that an individual is under the influence of drugs

    A police officer responded to a report of an unconscious person in a vehicle, possibly having a seizure. When he arrived at the scene, the officer observed the defendant in the driver’s seat of a vehicle that was partially off the road. Inside the vehicle, the officer saw an uncapped syringe, a small plastic bag containing a brown granular substance, and a cut or torn Red Bull can with burn marks and brown residue. A “NARK swipe” of the brown residue showed the presence of opiates. There was also a fresh “track mark” on the defendant’s arm. Based on these observations, the officer testified to his opinion that the defendant was under the influence of drugs. The Illinois Supreme Court held that the officer properly gave his opinion without being qualified as an expert. The court explained that the officer’s testimony was admissible because it was based on his experience and personal familiarity with drugs rather than scientific, technical, or specialized knowledge. Had the officer based his opinion on field sobriety tests, which require experience and expertise in conducting such tests and interpreting their results, the court signaled that it would have reached a different result.

    People v. King, 2018 IL App (2d) 151112

    A prosecutor may not tell jurors that it is acceptable to convict the defendant even if they have questions about the evidence

    During closing arguments at the defendant’s trial for first degree murder, the prosecutor argued that it was “okay” for the jurors to have “questions” about the evidence and “still convict the defendant.” The prosecutor gave an example of a permissible question dealing with the manner in which the defendant moved the victim’s body onto a set of railroad tracks. The prosecutor then reiterated that the jurors could have questions, “as long as those questions don’t amount to reasonable doubt.” Noting the well-established rule that “reasonable doubt” needs no definition, the Illinois Appellate Court found that the prosecutor’s argument was an improper attempt to define and dilute the State’s burden of proof. Although the defendant’s conviction was reversed for other reasons, the court cautioned that “nothing close” to such an argument would be permitted on retrial.

    People v. Long, 2018 IL App (4th) 150919

    A prosecutor violates the rule against prior consistent statements by asking a witness if his prior statements to police matched his testimony at trial

    At a trial for conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine, the prosecutor questioned a witness about his prior statements to police. The witness testified that he told police “the truth.” The witness also acknowledged that he had an obligation to tell the truth “then and now,” meaning during his police interview and at trial. On appeal, the Illinois Appellate Court held that the prosecutor violated the rule against prior consistent statements by asking the witness if his statements to police matched his trial testimony. The court explained that evidence of a prior consistent statement is admissible only when it has been suggested that the witness recently fabricated testimony or has a motive to testify falsely and the prior statement was made before the motive arose. Neither situation applied to this case. Nevertheless, given the strength of the evidence, the court found that the prosecutor’s misstep did not amount to plain error.

    Download the January 2019 PBA Law Update here.

    If you would like to submit a case for distribution in the next Law Update please email ASA Steven Lupa at slupa2@gmail.com.   

  • 31 Aug 2018 11:45 AM | Jacqueline Lacy

    Vermilion County

    Assistant State's Attorney Position - Juvenile Division


    Under general direction, performs legal work in the State’s Attorney’s Office as prescribed by law.


    Exercises primary responsibility for the preparation, plea negotiation and trial of all types of traffic/misdemeanor cases of normal complexity.

    Exercises primary responsibility for the preparation, plea negotiation and trial of all types of felony cases of normal complexity.

    Exercises primary responsibility for the preparation and presentation of written briefs and oral judgments in all types of felony cases of normal complexity.

    Exercises primary responsibility for the preparation and presentation of juvenile cases involving delinquency and minors in need of supervision at the trial and appellate level.

    Handles all Department of Children and Family Service cases.

    Exercises primary responsibility in the preparation and presentation of mental health act and related proceedings as well as criminal non-support.

    Prepares and presents complaints for search warrants in extradition proceedings.

    Conducts investigations with local law enforcement officials in criminal cases of normal complexity.

    Other duties may be assigned.


    To perform this job successfully, an individual must be able to perform each essential duty satisfactorily. The requirements listed below are representative of the knowledge, skill, and/or ability required. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.


    Requires license to practice law before Illinois Courts and a minimum of two to five years litigation experience, and/or minimum two years combined legal experience.

    Application can be found on the Vermilion County Website at https://www.vercounty.org/Jobs/G400178.pdf and can be mailed along with a Resume to the Address below:

    Vermilion County - Human Resources Department

    County Board Office

    201 N. Vermilion - 2nd Floor

    Danville, IL 61832

  • 23 Feb 2018 8:45 PM | Anonymous

    Please keep these law enforcement benevolent forganizations in mind:



    The 100 Club of Chicago provides for the families of first responders who have lost their lives in the line of duty. This membership based organization offers several forms of financial assistance, access to resources and moral support.  All sworn federal, state, county and local first responders stationed in Cook and Lake Counties are included.


    The Chicago Police Memorial Foundation is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to honoring the lives of our fallen heroes. The Foundation provides support and assistance to the families of Chicago police officers who are killed or catastrophically injured in the line of duty.  

  • 23 Feb 2018 8:39 PM | Anonymous

    Position Posting

    Assistant State’s Attorney’s

    Criminal Bureau


    Position description:  Under general supervision, performs professional legal work within the Winnebago County State’s Attorney’s Office in various units including Misdemeanor, DUI, Traffic, Juvenile, Civil, Domestic Violence, Drug Unit and Felony. All other duties as assigned.

    Position hours:  Our current office hours of operation are Monday – Friday from 8:00-5:00.  Please note, Assistant State’s Attorneys are exempt employees which require working the number of hours necessary to fulfill the responsibilities of the position.  If there are any modifications to these hours advance notice will be provided. 


    Individuals interested in applying for an Assistant State’s Attorney position in our Criminal Bureau should provide a cover letter, resume, references (with email addresses), a writing sample and salary requirements.  These documents will be accepted until end of day on Friday, March 16, 2018.

    Please submit to required documents to:

    Stephanie Bahling

    Chief of Operations

    400 W. State St Suite 619

    Rockford, Il 61101



    Upon receipt resumes will be reviewed by our interview committee and interviews will set up accordingly.

  • 15 Aug 2017 1:11 PM | Anonymous

    The IPBA's Fall Seminar is set for Friday, November 3rd at the Hyatt Regency in Lisle, IL. 

    Click here to register for the seminar.

  • 21 Jul 2017 9:19 AM | Anonymous

    Attorney General Sessions Announces Creation of National Public Safety Partnership to Combat Violent Crime

    As the Department of Justice continues its efforts to fulfill President Trump’s commitment to reducing violent crime in America, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced today that 12 cities are joining the Department’s newly organized National Public Safety Partnership (PSP). The announcement came during the opening session of a national summit organized by the Attorney General’s Task Force on Crime Reduction and Public Safety. The summit convened federal, state and local law enforcement to discuss how to support and replicate successful local violent crime reduction efforts.

    A list of the cities is posted at www.nationalpublicsafetypartnership.org .

    “Turning back the recent troubling increase in violent crime in our country is a top priority of the Department of Justice and the Trump Administration, as we work to fulfill the President’s promise to make America safe again,” said Attorney General Sessions. “The Department of Justice will work with American cities suffering from serious violent crime problems. There is no doubt that there are many strategies that are proven to reduce crime. Our new National Public Safety Partnership program will help these communities build up their own capacity to fight crime, by making use of data-driven, evidence-based strategies tailored to specific local concerns, and by drawing upon the expertise and resources of our Department.”

    The Justice Department created PSP and the task force in response to President Trump’s February 9, 2017, Executive Order charging the agency with leading a national effort to combat violent crime. The partnership provides a framework for enhancing federal support of state, local and tribal law enforcement officials and prosecutors as they aggressively investigate and pursue violent criminals, specifically those involved in gun crime, drug trafficking and gang violence.

    Twelve sites have been selected to receive this significant assistance: Birmingham, Alabama Indianapolis, Indiana Memphis, Tennessee Toledo, Ohio Baton Rouge, Louisiana Buffalo, New York Cincinnati, Ohio Houston, Texas Jackson, Tennessee Kansas City, Missouri Lansing, Michigan Springfield, Illinois

    We anticipate announcing additional sites this calendar year.

    The Justice Department agencies involved in PSP are the United States Attorneys’ Offices, Office of Justice Programs; the FBI; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; the U.S. Marshals Service; the Drug Enforcement Administration; the Office on Violence Against Women; and the Office of Community Oriented Policing.

    For more information about the Department of Justice’s work to reduce violent crime and enhance public safety: Attorney General Announces Crime Reduction and Public Safety Task Force Attorney General Sessions Directs Federal Prosecutors to Target Most Significant Violent Offenders Attorney General Jeff Sessions Announces New Initiatives to Advance Forensic Science and Help Counter the Rise in Violent Crime Attorney General Jeff Sessions Announces New Actions to Support Law Enforcement and Maintain Public Safety in Indian Country Department of Justice Releases Report Detailing the Prosecutions of Transnational Criminal Organizations and their Subsidiaries Attorney General Sessions Issues Charging and Sentencing Guidelines to Federal Prosecutors

    Attachment(s): Download PSP Backgrounder Topic(s): Violent Crime Component(s): Office of the Attorney General

  • 30 Jun 2017 11:08 PM | Anonymous

    THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS v. IDA WAY. Docket No. 120023 Opinion filed April 20, 2017.

    The circuit court barred defendant from introducing evidence that a medical condition possibly caused her to lose consciousness prior to hitting another vehicle, which resulted in serious injury to two people. A sole proximate cause defense was not appropriate in this case unless there was evidence that the sole proximate cause, not a proximate cause, of the collision was defendant’s sudden unforeseeable medical condition. Holton, 176 Ill. 2d at 134. Dr. McDermott, however, could not testify that defendant’s low blood pressure was the cause of her falling asleep or losing consciousness prior to the accident, only that it was a possibility. Based upon the offer of proof, defendant was unable to show that her theory as to why she lost control of her vehicle was the sole proximate cause of the resulting collision to the exclusion of the presumed impairment. Consequently, we find defendant failed to adequately support her claim that the trial court improperly barred her affirmative defense from proceeding.

    People ex rel. Alvarez v. Howard, 2016 IL 120729 Filed December 1, 2016

    Respondent did not err in transferring defendant’s case from criminal court to juvenile court. Under the previous version of section 5-130, defendant’s case was automatically transferred to criminal court because he was 15 years old when the crimes occurred. The legislature changed the automatic transfer age from 15 to 16, and this amendment was retroactive under section 4 of the Statute on Statutes. Accordingly, defendant’s case belongs in juvenile court, unless and until it is transferred to criminal court pursuant to a discretionary transfer hearing. Because the circuit court’s transfer of the case was not even erroneous, let alone outside the court’s jurisdiction or its legitimate authority, there is no basis for this court to issue a writ of mandamus or prohibition.

    People ex rel. Glasgow v. Carlson, 2016 IL 120544  Filed December 1, 2016

    Petitioner asks this court to compel respondent to (1) vacate its January 6, 2016, sentencing order, (2) classify as a Class 2 felony Mitchell Harper’s third violation of Illinois’s driving while under the influence (DUI) statute of the Illinois Vehicle Code (625 ILCS 5/11-501 et seq. (West 2014)), and (3) resentence defendant as a Class X offender pursuant to section 5-4.5-95(b) of the Unified Code of Corrections (730 ILCS 5/5-4.5-95(b) (West 2014)). The circuit court also relied on excerpts from various editions of an Illinois judicial benchbook that suggested or implied a potential inconsistency in the section 11-501 sentencing provisions. “We conclude that defendant’s third DUI conviction constitutes aggravated DUI and must be treated as a Class 2 felony under the plain language of subsection (d)(2)(B) of section 11-501. Because the record shows that defendant has at least two prior Class 2 felony or higher convictions, he must be sentenced as a Class X offender on his aggravated DUI conviction in this case. 730 ILCS 5/5-4.5-95(b) (West 2014); see also Morris, 2014 IL App (1st) 130152, ¶ 54 (affirming a Class X sentence on a defendant who was convicted of Class 2 felony aggravated DUI).”

    People ex rel. Alvarez v. Gaughan, 2016 IL 120110 Filed December 1, 2016

    The petitioner, seeks a writ of mandamus to compel respondent to sentence defendant, Steven Castleberry, with a mandatory 15-year firearm enhancement imposed on each of his two convictions for aggravated criminal sexual assault. Because “two convictions based on two separate acts of sexual penetration while armed with a firearm warrant the imposition of two separate sentence enhancements, one for each offense, we issue a writ of mandamus, ordering the respondent judge to vacate his sentencing order and resentence Castleberry, imposing the mandatory firearm enhancement on both of Castleberry’s convictions”

    In re M.M., 2016 IL 119932 Filed December 1, 2016

    At the close of a dispositional hearing on a juvenile petition based on neglect, the circuit court of Peoria County found that respondent, Heather M., was a fit parent to her children, J.M. and M.M. However, the court awarded temporary custody and guardianship to the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS). We hold that section 2-27(1) of the Act does not authorize placing a ward of the court with a third party absent a finding of parental unfitness, inability, or unwillingness to care for the minor.

    PEOPLE v.  BLACKIE VEACH (Docket No. 120649) Opinion filed May 18, 2017.

    In this appeal, we examine the propriety of a growing practice in the appellate court of declining to consider ineffective assistance of counsel claims on direct review. A Coles County jury found defendant, Blackie Veach, guilty of two counts of attempted murder and rejected defendant’s theory that someone else committed the crimes. On direct review, defendant argued that his trial counsel was ineffective for stipulating to the admission of recorded statements of the State’s witnesses. A majority of the appellate court affirmed, holding that the record was inadequate to resolve the issue. The majority encouraged defendant to raise the issue in a postconviction petition. 2016 IL App (4th) 130888. We allowed defendant’s petition for leave to appeal pursuant to Illinois Supreme Court Rule 315. We hold that the record in this case was sufficient for the appellate court to consider defendant’s ineffective assistance of counsel claim on direct review and, therefore, the appellate court erred in declining to consider the claim. We reverse the judgment of the appellate court and remand the cause to the appellate court for further review.

    PEOPLE v.  MONTANA SEBBY. (Docket No. 119445) Opinion filed June 2, 2017.

    Defendant was convicted by a jury of resisting a peace officer, a Class 4 felony (720 ILCS 5/31-1(a-7), and sentenced by the trial court to two years’ imprisonment. On appeal, the defendant argued that the trial court committed error in admonishing prospective jurors pursuant to Illinois Supreme Court Rule 431(b)  and that, despite his failure to object to that error, he was entitled to a new trial because the evidence was closely balanced. The trial court erred in asking potential jurors whether they had any “problems” with the Zehr principles. Under Rule 431(b), the trial court should have asked whether jurors understood and accepted those principles. Because the evidence was so closely balanced, the trial court’s clear instructional error alone may have tipped the scales in favor of the  State. We choose to err on the side of fairness and remand for a new trial. (DISSENTS FILED)

    PEOPLE v.  MIESHA NELSON (Docket No. 120198) Opinion filed June 15, 2017

    Defendant contended that she was denied her sixth amendment right to conflict-free counsel where attorneys from the same law firm represented defendant and codefendant Hall and defendant’s attorneys, in making their choice of defenses, decided to forgo asserting an innocence defense in favor of pursuing a joint defense of self-defense. (Defendant was represented by Richard Kling and Susana Ortiz, both from the Law Offices of Chicago-Kent College of Law. Hall was represented by Daniel Coyne, also from the Law Offices of Chicago-Kent.) Regarding establishing conflicts, the Echols rule does not afford courts the opportunity to assess whether the interests of the codefendants actually are at odds with each other in a particular case and, therefore, whether a conflict of interest exists. The Echols rule is therefore in conflict with the Sullivan standard for establishing an actual conflict and must be overruled. “We find defendant has failed to show that an innocence defense based on a lack of accountability was a plausible alternative defense. Accordingly, defendant has not shown an actual conflict of interest.”

    PEOPLE v.  CARA M. RINGLAND (Docket No. 119484) Opinion filed June 29, 2017

    A controlled substance was discovered during a traffic stop. These traffic stops were conducted by a special investigator appointed by Brian Towne, then State’s Attorney of La Salle County, pursuant to section 3-9005(b) of the Counties Code (55 ILCS 5/3-9005(b) (West 2012)). The circuit court granted each defendant’s motion to quash arrest and suppress evidence. The appellate court affirmed, holding that the conduct of the special investigator exceeded the scope of section 3-9005(b). “We hold that the State’s Attorney’s common-law duty to investigate suspected illegal activity did not apply to Towne because he made no showing that law enforcement agencies inadequately dealt with such investigation or that any law enforcement agency asked him for assistance. Absent this duty, the conduct of the SAFE unit fell outside of the scope of section 3-9005(b).” (DISSENT FILED)

  • 30 Jun 2017 9:49 PM | Anonymous

    Nelson v. Colorado, No. 15-1256 [Arg: 1.9.2017; Decided 4.19.2017]

    Holding: The scheme under Colorado's Exoneration Act -- which permits the state to retain conviction-related assessments unless and until the prevailing defendant institutes a discrete civil proceeding and proves her innocence by clear and convincing evidence -- does not comport with the 14th Amendment's guarantee of due process.

    County of Los Angeles v. Mendez, No. 16-369 [Arg: 3.22.2017; Decided 5.30.2017]

    Holding: The Fourth Amendment provides no basis for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit's "provocation rule," which makes an officer's otherwise reasonable use of force unreasonable if (1) the officer "intentionally or recklessly provokes a violent confrontation" and (2) "the provocation is an independent Fourth Amendment violation."

    Honeycutt v. U.S., No. 16-142 [Arg: 3.29.2017; Decided 6.5.2017]

    Holding: Because forfeiture pursuant to Section 853(a)(1) of the Comprehensive Forfeiture Act of 1984 is limited to property the defendant himself actually acquired as the result of the crime, that provision does not permit forfeiture with regard to Terry Honeycutt, who had no ownership interest in his brother's store and did not personally benefit from the illegal sales.

    Virginia v. LeBlanc, No. 16-1177 [ Decided 6.12.2017]

    Holding: The Virginia trial court's ruling denying Dennis LeBlanc's motion to vacate his sentence in light of the Supreme Court's requirement in Graham v. Florida that a state give juvenile offenders convicted of a nonhomicide crime "some meaningful opportunity to obtain release based on demonstrated maturity and rehabilitation" -- a ruling which rested on the Virginia Supreme Court's earlier ruling in Angel v. Commonwealth that the state's geriatric release program satisfies this requirement -- was not objectively unreasonable in light of the U.S. Supreme Court's current case law.

    Packingham v. North Carolina, No. 15-1194 [Arg: 2.27.2017; Decided 6.19.2017]

    Holding: The North Carolina statute, which makes it a felony for a registered sex offender "to access a commercial social networking Web site where the sex offender knows that the site permits minor children to become members or to create or maintain personal Web pages," impermissibly restricts lawful speech in violation of the First Amendment.

    Weaver v. Massachusetts, No. 16-240 [Arg: 4.19.2017; Decided 6.22.2017]

    Holding: (1) In the context of a public-trial violation during jury selection, when the error is neither preserved nor raised on direct review but is raised later via an ineffective-assistance-of-counsel claim, the defendant must demonstrate prejudice to secure a new trial; (2) Because Kentel Weaver has not shown a reasonable probability of a different outcome but for counsel's failure to object or that counsel's shortcomings led to a fundamentally unfair trial, he is not entitled to a new trial.

    Turner v. U.S., No. 15-1503 [Arg: 3.29.2017; Decided 6.22.2017]

    Holding: The withheld evidence is not material under Brady v. Maryland. Considering the withheld evidence “in the context of the entire record,” Agurs, supra, at 112, that evidence is too little, too weak, or too distant from the main evidentiary points to meet Brady’s standards


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Illinois Prosecutors Bar Association  |  P.O. Box 114  |  Wheaton, IL 60187  |  illinoispba@gmail.com

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