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Hal Garfinkel is retained as the defendant's lawyer in the Chicago high profile murder case of Marlen Ochoa-Lopez. Read more...
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baseball, umpire, blackmail, Chicago criminal defense attorneyLast night, the 2015 World Series got underway as the Kansas City Royals needed 14 innings to fend off the visiting New York Mets. By the time the game got started, however, the sports world and the Internet as a whole was abuzz with chatter about revelations made by a member of the last Mets team to win the Fall Classic. Former Major League Baseball All-Star Lenny Dykstra admitted in an interview this week that he spent more than half a million dollars on a scheme to blackmail umpires into giving him favorable calls during his playing days.

Shocking Information

The startling, yet completely unabashed, admission came during Dykstra’s appearance on The Herd, a weekday Fox radio/TV simulcast hosted by Colin Cowherd. The exchange was prompted by a comment from Cowherd suggesting that Dykstra “kept a book” on umpires, which in the context of the game can mean many things. Completely above board, a pitcher or batter would want to understand the way in which an umpire tends to call a game, and file that information away to be used appropriately. For Dykstra, however, “it was a little more than that.”

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murder, criminal charges, Illinois criminal defense attorneyA homecoming celebration turned tragic this past weekend when a car plowed into a crowd of spectators, killing four and injuring dozens. Three adults and a two-year-old child were killed when the vehicle driven by a 25-year-old woman suddenly crashed into a throng of people watching the Oklahoma State University homecoming parade on Saturday in Stillwater. The driver was arrested on charges of driving under the influence and was held over the weekend on four counts of second-degree murder. She is expected to appear in court this week for arraignment.

Murder Charges in Illinois

As the OSU community seeks to heal following the tragedy, the case may serve to highlight some important facets of criminal law here in Illinois. Charges for murder in Illinois can be brought against a defendant in the first or second degree. First degree murder is committed when a person kills another:

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happy hour, alcohol discounts, Chicago Criminal Defense AttorneyAfter more than 25 years, Illinois residents looking for cheaper drinks after work will be able to legally find them. Illinois lawmakers, earlier this year, passed a measure that repealed the ban on happy hour throughout the state. The new law took effect on July 15, 2015, and while most restaurant and bar owners are excited about the prospect of additional business, some still have concerns over the potential for danger among inebriated customers, including the possibility of drunk driving.

Why Was It Banned?

Throughout the 1980s, public safety campaigns around the country focused heavily on the dangers of alcohol-related accidents. Groups like Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) successfully raised awareness of the problem, which, in turn, led to a demand for more aggressive preventive measures. Some municipalities, including here in Illinois, thought that a solution might be found in limiting discounted drinks to reduce binge drinking and drunk driving accidents. The state, as a whole, followed suit in 1989, albeit with rather inconsistent provisions. Happy hours were banned, but full-day specials were permitted, and many restaurant and bar owners found other, clever ways around the law anyway.

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online security, spear phishing, Illinois Criminal Defense AttorneyWhile families and couples around the country deal with the fallout of the recent data dump of affair-seeking website Ashley Madison subscriber information, cybersecurity experts fear that the door may have been opened for hackers to access more sensitive data maintained by the federal government. By using a technique known as “spear phishing,” hackers may be able to develop information about weaknesses or potential breach points in federal computer systems, possibly leading to future attacks.

Last month’s leak made public the personal information of an estimated 37 million subscribers to the site which openly facilitates adulterous activity. According to reports, some 15,000 military or federal officials created accounts on the site using their government-issued email addresses, including nearly 900 .gov addresses and more than 40 associated with the White House. Hundreds were found to have access their messages and pay membership fees using internet connections in federal offices.

Online security specialists point out that even a single fake message from Ashley Madison opened on a government computer could potentially have infected the entire network with malware. In the world of cybersecurity, attempts to acquire sensitive information via computer network is known as “phishing.” With its more direct approach and specific targets, the generation a false alerts or messages containing harmful pieces of code, or malware, is referred to as spear phishing. Because opening the message is a “voluntary” action, spear phishing often allows malware to go undetected by network security efforts. Malware can potentially offer a hacker access to the government system, which can cause potential economic damage, but creating more serious concerns of espionage.

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emerging adults, criminal justice, Illinois Criminal Defense AttorneyIn 1899, the nation’s first juvenile criminal court was established right here in Cook County, Illinois. The goal of the new system was to prevent the mistakes and poor choices of young people from evolving into a lifetime of bad decisions and criminal prosecution. The juvenile court was—and remains to this day—primarily focused on rehabilitating young offenders rather than severely punishing criminal activity. Once an individual turns 18, however, the situation changes dramatically, as juvenile-type behavior such as shoplifting or an after-school fight suddenly carry much more severe criminal penalties.

New Demographic Group

Perhaps, in past generations, 18 was a reasonable, albeit distinct, threshold between youth and adulthood. The evolution of society, however, seems to indicate that cultural concepts of an adult may be changing, and that the criminal justice system may need to evolve as well. That which was once considered a transitional stage has begun gaining recognition as a unique demographic age group. Developmental experts and scholars are now using the term “emerging adults” to describe people between 18 and 25 years old. Compared to 50 years ago, there is little question that emerging adults are less independent than in the past, and many have yet to settle into what most consider to be “adult roles.”

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