After 2 years of arguing, litigating, trials and playing a legal “game of chicken”, my client’s final case was dismissed this week. When I met him, he was in the Illinois Department of Corrections on a violation of probation for a drug case. The cause for the violation? He was arrested and charged with possession of a weapon by a felon 720 ILCS 5/24-1.1. He was at a party with a dozen others and when the police busted in and took everyone outside, they produced a firearm from inside and charged my client with it. Before being found guilty on the gun case, the court found a violation of probation because of the arrest and re-sentenced the young man to two and a half years in IDOC. This is when his mother came to me and we discussed his cases. This was the most serious of his cases with charges that included attempted murder 720 ILCS 5/8-4, aggravated kidnapping 720 ILCS 5/9-3.5, and aggravated battery 720 ILCS 5/12-3.05.
In Illinois a defendant has the right, after being charged by the police and state’s attorney to have a trial in a speedy fashion. Under 725 ILCS 5/103-5
Every person in custody in this State for an alleged offense shall be tried by the court having jurisdiction
within 120 days from the date he or she was taken into custody unless delay is occasioned by the defendant…
Every person on bail or recognizance shall be tried by the court having jurisdiction within 160 days from
the date defendant demands trial unless delay is occasioned by the defendant
There are inherent risks in demanding trial. Do you have all the evidence needed to proceed to trial? Have you completed your own investigation of the case? Are witnesses available? Does your client need more time to get his affairs in order? All of these questions have to be answered before demanding trial in a criminal case.
In my client’s case we pushed the state to produce their witnesses against my client and after repeated failed attempts to produce the necessary witnesses against my client, the state had no choice but to dismiss the charges against him.
After three years, three felony cases, a trial and an almost trial my client had no other charges against him and he was released from bond and was free to go.