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Vincent CorneliusAt the Fotopoulos Law Office, we want to offer our sincere congratulations to Vincent F. Cornelius, who was recently elected as a judge of the Twelfth Judicial Circuit Court of Will County. We believe that Vince will provide justice and fairness in the cases that enter his courtroom.

For decades, Vince Cornelius has been a shining light in the legal community in Will County and throughout the state of Illinois. He has tried hundreds of civil and criminal cases in Will, DuPage, Kane, Cook, Winnebago, Grundy, Kendall, and DeKalb Counties, providing dedicated, personal advocacy for his clients. He has defended clients charged with a wide variety of criminal offenses, from homicide and white collar crimes to DUI and traffic violations, and he has been involved in the settlement of multi-million dollar personal injury cases.

In addition to his advocacy for clients in the courtroom, Vince is dedicated to serving the legal community. He is the past president of the Illinois State Bar Association and the Illinois Bar Foundation, the past Chancellor of the Illinois Academy of Lawyers, a founding board member of the Black Bar Association of Will County, and a member of the DuPage County Bar Association, the Will County Bar Association, and the National College for DUI Defense. He has served on the Governor’s Commission on Criminal Law Reform and on the Board of Visitors of Northern Illinois University College of Law.

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assault, battery, Orland Park criminal defense attorney, police excessive force,  criminal chargesThis past January, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) completed a formal investigation into the Chicago Police Department (CPD), specifically the misuse and overuse of force in ways that violate the civil rights of Illinois residents. The DOJ found there was “reasonable cause to believe” that CPD officers routinely took part in acts that “unnecessarily endanger themselves and result in unnecessary and avoidable uses of force.” This was not the result of a few bad officers, the DOJ said, but rather a system-wide “failure to train officers in de-escalation and the failure to conduct meaningful investigations of uses of force.”

IL Judges Reverse Battery Conviction of Man Tased Repeatedly by Police

There are many cases where police not only use excessive force, they turn around and charge the victim with a crime, such as assault and battery. Sadly, many of these victims-turned-defendants suffer from mental illness. The DOJ report noted that many law enforcement officers are not properly trained to deal with “complex situations” involving people with mental health problems and, as a result, the situation quickly escalates.

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violent crime, felony charges, unlawful use of a weapon, Orland Park criminal defense attorney, criminal convictionIf you are charged with a violent crime in Illinois, you have the right to a fair trial. On television legal dramas, you often see crusading prosecutors make powerful opening or closing arguments designed to sway a jury's emotions. In real courtrooms, however, prosecutors need to stick to the evidence. They are not ethically or constitutionally permitted to inflame the jury with prejudicial language.

Court Reverses Attempted Murder Convictions Following Prosecution Misconduct

For example, a prosecutor who repeatedly refers to a defendant as a “criminal” during opening arguments may violate that defendant's right to a fair trial. Indeed, an Illinois appeals court recently overturned the convictions of two co-defendants after a prosecutor did just that. The underlying criminal case involved three Chicago police officers who were shot and injured while attempting to execute a search warrant against one of the defendants.

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Orland Park criminal defense lawyer, criminal trial, sexual assault, presumption of innocence, Taking the FifthThe most basic principle of the criminal justice system in Illinois is the presumption of innocence. Whether you are charged with a DUI, sexual assault, or murder, state law provides that “[e]very person is presumed innocent until proved guilty.” In any criminal trial, the burden is therefore on the prosecution to establish the defendant's guilt beyond a “reasonable doubt.”

Can You Be Punished for “Taking the Fifth”?

It is important to understand how the burden of proof works in a criminal trial. If you are accused of a crime, you are not obligated to present any evidence in your defense. Of course, it may benefit you to do so, depending on the circumstances of the case. But at no point can a judge or jury demand that you “prove” you did not commit a crime. Aside from the fact it is difficult to prove a negative, it violates the plain language of Illinois law, which presumes the defendant's innocence.

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felony convictions, own a gun, weapons charges, Orland Park criminal defense attorney, armed habitual criminal lawGun ownership is not an absolute right in Illinois. A resident must obtain a Firearms Ownership Identification card (FOID) from the Illinois State Police in order to legally possess any firearms or ammunition. Anyone who owns or carries a gun without a FOID may face felony weapons charges.

Illinois' Armed Habitual Criminal Law

Certain classes of people are ineligible to receive a FOID. Notably, this includes individuals who have been previously convicted of a felony in Illinois or any other jurisdiction. In fact, if someone previously convicted of multiple felonies is found in possession of a firearm, he or she may face serious sanctions under Illinois law.

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National Rifle Association Illinois State Bar Association Chicago Bar Association Illinois Trial Lawyers Association Cook County Bar Association National Academy of Personal Injury Attorneys The John Marshall Law School Hellenic Bar Association Will County Bar Association National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
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