People v. Bailey, 2019 IL App (3d) 180396 (May). Episode 631 (Duration 15:01)
Food in your beard is not particularly indicative of anything.[Read more…]
Sometimes when lawyers are trying to make sense of the criminal law two different laws may appear to contradict themselves.
What should happen in those situations?
Then rule of lenity is applied. So what is the rule of lenity?
The rule of lenity is:
Black’s Law Dictionary (11th ed. 2019).
The Illinois Supreme Court has stated, “under the rule of lenity, we adopt the more lenient interpretation of a criminal statute when, after consulting traditional canons of statutory construction, we are left with an ambiguous statute.” People v. Gaytan, 2015 IL 116223, ¶ 39, 32 N.E.3d 641.
Consider the case of People v. Rowell, 2020 IL App (4th) 190231 (April). Episode 766 (Duration 5:32) as an example of where the rule lenity was applied.
Defendant was challenging the state’s attempt to sentence her to 180 days i jail. The state said they were merely section 11-501(c)(3) of the Vehicle Code (625 ILCS 5/11-501(c)(3)) which required her to serve a minimum of 180 days’ imprisonment.
Defendant argued the plain language of the statute is permissive rather than mandatory, noting section 11-501(c)(3) lacks words like “mandatory” or “shall” with regard to the six months of imprisonment, which are included elsewhere in section 11-501.
The court had to determine whether the legislature intended section 11-501(c)(3) to require a trial court to impose a minimum of six months’ imprisonment as part of defendant’s sentence.
At issue in this case was section 11-501(c)(3) of the Vehicle Code (625 ILCS 5/11- 501(c)(3)), which states:
The defense pointed out that the statute did not make use of the words “mandatory” or shall which are the understood terms used to document a required provision.
In different sections of 11-501 the law makers in fact did use the term “mandatory” or “shall” to explicitly say when something is required rather than merely be discreationary.
Finally, the defense could point to more serious DUI charges that don’t require 180 days in jail.
The State noted that defendant already faced the possibility of being sentenced to 364 days in jail, for a Class A misdemeanor conviction.
Thus, the phrase “is subject to 6 months of imprisonment” would be entirely superfluous unless it is interpreted to require 6 months of incarceration.
The court finally pointed to the rule of lenity to rule that the 180 days of jail were not necessarily required.
The court said section 11-501(c)(3) should not be construed to impose a mandatory minimum period of 6 months’ imprisonment. The case was sent back to the trial court for a new sentencing hearing.
People v. Campbell, 2019 IL App (1st) 161640 (April). Episode 630 (Duration 11:07)
Court is not insensitive to claims of “dropsy” testimony and “testilying.”[Read more…]
People v. Brandt, 2019 IL App (4th) 180219 (April). Episode 621 (Duration 17:08)
Police use their own sense of smell to go get a warrant for a house.[Read more…]
A motion to suppress evidence is a formal request that a judge prevent the state from admitting certain evidence. It’s a formal request to exclude evidence.
Typically, suppression of evidence is warranted after a constitutional violation. A judge almost always has to conduct a hearing with witnesses when deciding whether to grant this motion.[Read more…]
People v. Holmes, 2019 IL App (1st) 160987 (March). Episode 601 (Duration 9:33)
An essentially anonymous tip was treated as wholly unreliable resulting in an outright reversal of this gun conviction.[Read more…]