When a Defendant Dies

 Posted on March 30, 2017 in Criminal Defense

Illinois federal crimes attorney, Illinois fraud attorney, Illinois defense lawyer,Unfortunately, we never know what life holds in store. Maybe life is 100 years long, and in other cases, the length of life is not as long as we hope. When life ends prematurely, we are often left to pick up the pieces. What happens if the decedent is part of a criminal trial? Does the case stop? Do prosecutors continue to drag the name through the mud during a trial? Who stands to represent the decedent? Although uncommon, defendants have passed away during a trial before, and it is useful to know what the procedure is in these instances.

With No Verdict

A criminal case needs someone to prosecute; otherwise, there is no case. Therefore, in the event of the death of the defendant during a trial or an investigation, the case drops against the recently deceased, if they are the sole defendant. The person must be alive to argue their side of the case. However, this is not the way anyone would like a case to end.

New Laws as of 2017 for Appeals

There was no set procedure for the pending criminal case in prior years. However, as of 2017, this oversight has been remedied. The new law is HB 4683 and creates a system to clear up confusion if the defendant passes away during the appeals process. If the original verdict was “not guilty” and the state is pursuing the appeal, the issue drops and no further litigation may continue. The defendant will remain innocent. If, however, the decedent initiated the appeal, the case may proceed. It is possible to file a petition to intervene on behalf of the decedent, enabling a representative to follow through with the case as though they were the intended defendant. These three results are possible in this situation:

  • The verdict stands: the case ends, and no further appeals are possible,
  • An error made in the original trial: the decision reverses, and the issue drops, or
  • The sentence alters the sentence changes on record, but the conviction stands and no further action is available.

Reliable Attorneys: Start to Finish

Your case is our case. You never have to be left alone wondering what to expect and what would benefit your case. Should something happen to you if you pass, those left behind will still have questions answered and guidance to complete your journey. If you are interested in discussing the accusations against you with a proven Chicago, IL criminal defense attorney, contact the Law Offices of Hal M. Garfinkel LLC, Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney today by calling 312-629-0669 to schedule your confidential and complimentary initial consultation. With almost 20 years of experience and 24/7 phone availability, our offices will proudly assist you with your criminal case.


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