Illinois Strikes Time Limits to Criminally Prosecute Sexual Abuse of Minors

In August 2017, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner signed into the law SB 189, an amendment to the criminal code regarding sexual abuse of minors. The new law allows for prosecution of sexual abuse of children at any time, basically completely eradicating the statute of limitations for criminal cases. Previously, the victim had 20 years after attaining the age of majority at 18 to come forward for a criminal prosecution to take place. This law is hailed as progress and an achievement for individuals who have been childhood victims of sexual abuse. Some of these people harmed as minors do not understand what happened to them as young children, or they have repressed the memories. This new law allows police and prosecutors to pursue criminal perpetrators of sexual abuse without time limitations, and reads as follows:

(j)(1) When the victim is under 18 years of age at the time of the offense, a prosecution for criminal sexual assault, aggravated criminal sexual assault, predatory criminal sexual assault of a child, aggravated criminal sexual abuse, or felony criminal sexual abuse may be commenced at any time.

Note that this new law affects criminal prosecutions of sexual abuse of minors in Illinois, not civil actions. However, Illinois does have an extended time period to file a civil lawsuit for personal injury for childhood sexual abuse victims. Ill. Rev. Stat. ch. 735, § 13-202.2(b) allows a victim 10 years after discovering the injury and that the injury was caused by child sexual abuse:

§ 13-202.2(b): An action for damages for personal injury based on childhood sexual abuse must be commenced within 10 years of the date the victim discovers that the act of childhood sexual abuse occurred and that the injury was caused by the childhood sexual abuse.

Anyone thinking about disclosing their childhood abuse in criminal and civil court should have a personal injury attorney evaluating the situation and offering legal advice and options. Individuals who speak out against these horrific crimes need support to shine a bright light on these criminal behaviors.

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Illinois Revamps Child Support Calculations

New child support regulations will be implemented on July 1, 2017. Prior to this overhaul of the calculations, child support was generally determined based upon the payor’s income and number of children. For example, a person who was obligated to pay child support (generally the non-custodial parent) had to pay 20% of his or her net income for one child, and higher percentages for more children.

This model of child support calculations seems to be dated, however, as most states now use the dual income model, where both parents’ income is used together to determine what the correct amount should be. Further, non-custodial parents can get credit if they have custody of the child for over 146 days per year. Although this is generally seen as fair to parents, others worry that parents might further fight over custody if one parent is trying to reach the 146 day threshold to lower the child support payments.

Another issue that arises is whether many parents are going to try to modify their child support payments if the new calculation results in a lower payment. However, the modification of child support is still generally going to be based on whether there has been a substantial change of circumstances that would justify the court reviewing the child support calculation. This could be 10% or more difference in payment either up or down.

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How is a Plane Crash Investigated?

Whenever there is a plane crash, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is called in to investigate. The NTSB investigates “all civil aviation accidents in the United States and major accidents in the other modes of transportation.”

In any investigation, the NTSB pulls together as much information as it can before determining probable cause of an accident.

The NTSB sends out a “Go Team” to all aviation accidents to begin the investigative process. Team members on “duty” are on call at all times. They must be ready to respond to a crash site as soon as possible.

Depending on the size and scope of a crash site, the Go Team has four to more than a dozen specialists on the team. While at the site, specialists focus on the aspects of the investigation that concern their expertise.

An onsite investigation can last anywhere from a few days to several weeks. Twelve to 18 months after an incident, all of the information and analysis is sent to the Safety Board, which issues safety recommendations and its final analysis of the cause of an accident.

Latherow Law OfficeChicago injury attorneys

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Are Concussions The Only Way Football Players Can Damage Their Brains?

According to a recent study, a concussion is not the only way a football player can alter their brain functions; being hit in the head is enough to change how the brain works. HealthDay News reported that a recent study found that “the more total hits a player had received to the head, the more changes that were measured in the white matter of his brain.”

The conduction part of the brain, or white matter, showed irregularities when compared to the number of hits to the head a player received while playing football. Interestingly, of the 45 high school football players that participated in this study, none of them received a concussion during the 2012 season.

HealthDay stated that the brain activity of the players involved in the study was monitored through many methods. Accelerometers were installed in each player’s helmet so they could record the number and severity of hits a player received during the season. Additionally, each player had two MRIs done, once before the football season and another after the season.

Sponsored by the Latherow Law Office, located in Chicago, Illinois.

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Is Distracted Driving A Serious Issue?

Distracted driving is a dangerous act of negligence. Recent statistics published by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) shows that distracted driving is increasing among drivers.

According to the NHTSA, distracted driving has caused a sizable chunk of accidents resulting in fatalities and injuries. In 2012, over 3,300 people were killed in an accident involving distracted driving, which is 10 percent of all fatal accidents.

According to the NHTSA, the 15 to 19-year-old age group “has the largest proportion of drivers who were distracted (in a fatal accident).” Of all of the fatalities that were caused by distracted driving, 16 percent or 540 fatalities were pedestrians or “nonoccupants,” as the NHTSA categorizes them.

Sponsored by the Latherow Law Office, located in Chicago, Illinois.

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Will Cell Phone Bans While Driving Be Effective At Making Our Roads Safer?

The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) conducted a study last November to create a measuring stick state authorities could use to device whether a new law that went into effect on January 1 of this year reduced the number of people who use cell phones while driving. The new and more stringent law would make it easier for law enforcement to identify people in violation because it now states that a person driving may not hold any electronic device in their hand.

The study, which was conducted on 33,000 Illinoisans across the state, showed that Chicago was the worst offender, with 18 percent of all drivers (21 percent female and 15 percent male) using and holding some sort of electronic device. On average, 12 percent of drivers in Illinois were using electronic devices while driving.

With 6,000 wrecks in Illinois caused by distracted driving while using a cell phone between 2008 and 2012, authorities hope that this new law will cause the numbers seen in this baseline study to decrease dramatically by the time IDOT conducts its follow up study to this legislation.

If you or a loved one were involved in a wreck with a distracted driver, please contact our firm to set up a free consultation to discuss your case options.

Latherow Law OfficeChicago injury attorneys

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Illinois Officials Record Over a Dozen Deaths at Care Home for Disabled Children

Alden Village North is a nursing home facility that serves as a care home for physically and developmentally disabled children. According to Illinois state officials, multiple serious violations and at least 14 child deaths were recorded in connection to the nursing home between 2000 and 2010. The Chicago Tribune recently revealed five more cases of child death at the nursing home; even so, state officials with the Illinois Department of Public Health say the violations and citations stacking up at the care facility do not require it to be shut down. An attempt to revoke the facility’s state operating license in 2011 failed because Alden Village North argued the deaths of two boys were settled in a previous agreement.

When families are forced to trust a nursing home with a medically-fragile loved one, they trust the facility will not neglect and abandon its patients. If you are worried about the care your loved one received at a nursing home, speak with our attorneys today. We also invite you to visit our Facebook page for more information.

Latherow Law OfficeChicago injury attorneys

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Can you get a “DUI” if you are sleeping off the effects of alcohol in your car?

If you have had too much to drink and do not want to drive your car, do not sleep off the effects of the alcohol in your car. The Illinois Supreme Court has found that a man who was sleeping in his car with the car running and a blood-alcohol level of 0.18 was guilty of driving under the influence. At trial, the defendant was sentenced to one year of court supervision and a $250 fine.
The defendant argued that he had no intention of driving but was using his car only as a stationary shelter where he could sleep it off, so he was not in actual physical control of the vehicle under the drunk-driving law. Even though the issue of actual physical control of the vehicle is decided on a case-by-case basis, the courts apply such criteria as: (1) whether the drunk person was in the driver’s seat; (2) whether the person had the key to the car in his or her possession (presumably, if one does not have the key, actual physical control cannot be found); and (3) whether the person had the physical ability to start the engine and drive the car. The courts believe that a person who is behind the wheel of a parked vehicle can easily move into a position to operate the vehicle and endanger other people, property, or vehicles.
Critics may disagree with the court’s reasoning because drunk persons who would opt for sleeping off the effects of the alcohol in their cars will now have the incentive to drive home drunk, taking their chances that they will not endanger themselves or others, or that they will not get caught. On the other hand, the “sleeping it off” rule encourages people to make travel and lodging plans before they drink, rather than when their judgment is impaired.

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Can you be held liable for a motor vehicle loan that you co-signed as a buyer, even if you are not the spouse or parent of the actual owner?

Before January 1, 1997, only mothers and fathers or husbands and wives who co-signed on an installment loan for a motor vehicle were primarily liable along with the actual owner of the vehicle.
In a recent decision, the Illinois Supreme Court held that persons (other than parents or spouses) who co-signed as buyers on a motor vehicle loan contract, but did not take actual possession of the vehicle, could not be held primarily liable for the debt. This case arose when an automobile dealership attempted to recover the purchase price of the vehicle from the co-signor without instituting any direct proceedings against the owner of the vehicle who was in actual possession of it. In this case, the co-signor was not primarily liable on the debt even though his name was listed on the Certificate of Title as an owner. The court distinguished between the actual receipt of the vehicle as opposed to legal receipt evidenced by the title.
However, under an amendment to the Illinois Motor Vehicle Retail Installment Sales Act that became effective on January 1, 1997, a spouse, parent, or any person listed as an owner of the motor vehicle on the Certificate of Title is primarily responsible for paying the debt on the vehicle if they co-signed as a buyer on the loan.
The effect of this recent amendment, notwithstanding the recent court decision, is that a person who is not a spouse, parent, or in actual possession of the vehicle but signs as a buyer on a motor vehicle retail installment sales contract will be held primarily liable on the debt if their name is placed on the Certificate of Title. It is unlikely that any dealership or lender would omit any c-signor’s name from the title to the vehicle.
Anyone who does not fit the Act’s criteria as a spouse, parent, or owner (actual or legal) would be put in the capacity of a guarantor on the loan. This means that when you co-sign on a motor vehicle installment loan you become secondarily responsible for paying the debt. Your obligation to the seller as a guarantor arises only after the seller has diligently taken all legal means to collect the debt from the primary obligor, i.e., the owner, or parent or spouse co-signor. If the seller is not able to collect all of the debt, or the primary obligor is insolvent or bankrupt, or it otherwise becomes apparent that it is useless to proceed against them, the seller may look to you to pay the remainder of the debt on the vehicle.

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Can real estate or business brokers be legally denied fees?

Illinois law distinguishes between real estate brokers and business brokers and has different requirements for each. A real estate broker must be licensed by the state, while a business broker must register with the Illinois Secretary of State. A typical business, however, may include both business assets and real estate, potentially triggering both statutory requirements.
Two Illinois business brokers who were neither licensed as real estate brokers nor registered as business brokers tried unsuccessfully to collect a finder’s fee in connection with the $3.3 million sale of a landfill. The brokers claimed a 6% fee from the seller of the landfill for their efforts in locating a purchaser. The business acquisition was structured as a stock purchase and included the ongoing business, operating permits, and equipment, as well as 180 acres of land.
The court dismissed the brokers’ lawsuit because it refused to believe that the real estate was simply incidental to the landfill deal. In the court’s words, “without land, there can be no landfill.” Because the land was of principal importance to the transaction, the brokers needed an Illinois real estate broker’s license in order to collect their finder’s fee.
The brokers also failed in their attempt to collect the finder’s fee as business brokers, rather than as real estate brokers, because they did not satisfy two of the requirements under the Illinois Business Brokers Act. The brokers were not registered as business brokers with the Illinois Secretary of State and their broker’s contract was not in writing.
Before you become involved in the sale of a business as a finder or broker, determine whether real estate is a substantial component of the transaction. Without a real estate license, you may forfeit a finder’s fee or commission. Even if the business does not involve real estate, you must be a registered business broker with a written contract in order to collect your fee.

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