The number of shootings in the first three months of 2016 is the highest of the decade in Chicago. At least 775 people have been shot in the city, which is up 80 percent from last year. As of March 28, there were at least 650 separate shootings. The surge in shootings is a major concern heading into the spring and summer months.

Not only are shootings in Chicago on the increase, but homicides in general are as well. So far this year, 1,142 people have been murdered in Chicago. While a majority of the homicides have occurred on the South and West sides, there has been a rise in murders all across the city.

On Easter weekend, an astounding 38 people were shot. Only one of those shootings resulted in a fatality. According to the Chicago Tribune, 40 percent of those shootings occurred in either the Englewood District or the Harrison District.

Kim Foxx will be the democratic candidate for Cook County State’s Attorney, defeating current State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez. Alvarez came under fire after waiting a year to file murder charges against an officer accused of shooting teenager Laquan McDonald 16 times. Charges were pressed only after a judge ordered the squad-car video be released to the public. Many accused Alvarez of a “cover-up.”

Foxx previously worked as chief aide to the Cook County Board President and worked in the juvenile division of the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office for years. In November, Kim Foxx will face-off against Republican nominee Christopher Pfannkuche.

Dorothy Brown, who is serving her 4th term as Cook County Circuit Court Clerk, will be the democratic nominee in the upcoming election despite the federal probe into her office. While Brown did not have a majority of the vote (48 percent), she dominated over the other candidates, Michelle Harris and Jacob Meister had 31 percent and 22 percent, respectively. In October of last year, the Democratic Party announced they would no longer endorse Dorothy Brown, but would instead endorse Harris. Brown will challenge Republican nominee Diane Shapiro, who ran unopposed.

According to jail guards at the Lake County Jail, unsafe jail conditions are causing very dangerous situations. A letter to the Chicago Tribune from Cass Casper, senior staff attorney for the union local, states that there is a “substantial risk of the safety of the officers” due to broken elevators and radio systems. The letter alleges nine instances in which the radios or elevators failed from November to January.

Jail guards allege they have been stuck in elevators without the ability to use their radios due to radio “dead zones.” Wait times up to 25 minutes and rescues by ladders have been reported. An officer reported that the response time to an attack in which another officer was grabbed by the throat and thrown to the floor was “severely delayed due to one of the two elevators being nonoperational.”

According to jail officials, the main elevator has been fixed and the radio system will be replaced. Lake County plans to spend more than $7 million to buy a more advanced radio system that should be up and running by April.

The prosecution of cyberbullying has been a challenge for states looking to protect minors from harassment. A new Illinois bill, introduced by Republican Representative Terry Bryant, provides that those who post videos of fights online with the intent to condone or promote violence could be charged with misdemeanor disorderly conduct. One obstacle of the proposal is proving intent of those who post the videos. Another concern is the unconstitutionality of such a law; mainly, infringement on the right to free speech.

The proposal stems from a video that Representative Bryant saw on Facebook, showing two young boys fighting, with their classmates watching and recording without anyone calling for help.

Social media and the advancement of technology have posed major issues for lawmakers trying to keep up. According to the Cyberbullying Research Center, only half of the anti-bullying laws across the country address cyberbullying. Other than infringement of free speech, there are additional concerns of over-criminalizing teenage behavior.

Effective today, January 1st, 2016, new DUI laws go into effect which benefit revoked and suspended drivers who want to seek driving privileges before the Illinois Secretary of State. One of these significant changes in the law will allow drivers with a lifetime ban on driving the opportunity to apply for driving relief.

Attorney Larry A. Davis, principle of The Davis Law Group, P.C. assisted in the drafting of these new laws and represented the Illinois State Bar Association in securing their passage.

Contact The Davis Law Group, P.C. if you would like a consultation or further information on these important changes in the laws.

Yesterday the Chicago Tribune highlighted a new law effective January 1, 2016, which will expand the number of DUI revoked and suspended drivers who will now be eligible for driving privileges in Illinois. The law will allow the following categories of drivers to obtain driving privileges who previously could not: first offenders needing driving privileges during the first 30-days of the DUI statutory summary suspension; second offenders during the 1-year or 3-year DUI statutory summary suspension; and persons with multiple DUI convictions (who currently cannot obtain privileges during the first year of revocation).

A first offender is an individual without a prior DUI disposition within 5 years prior to the current DUI arrest. A second offender is an individual with a prior DUI disposition within 5 years prior to the current DUI arrest.

The law also expands the groups of persons required to have Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Devices (“BAIID devices”) installed in their vehicles to include DUI involving a fatality or serious bodily injury and individuals who have had a prior DUI statutory summary suspension anytime in their lives.

Comprehensive guidelines for the use of police body cameras are among the several important provisions of Public Act 99-0352, effective January 1, 2016. While the new law will not require body cameras, it creates a policy for their use. The bill aims to also protect privacy by providing for times where officers do not need to use the cameras.

The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) provides that only certain types of recordings can be disclosed when a FOIA request is made. These recordings include but are not limited to when a firearm is discharged by and officer or when someone is seriously injured or killed.

The hope is that the expanded use of body cameras will improve the behavior of police officers and citizens while also increasing transparency. The State will help fund the body cameras through a $5 increase in traffic tickets. It is estimated that the body cameras will cost $5.6 million over two years.

The City of Chicago is rolling out an amnesty program for old parking tickets, red light tickets, back taxes and building code violations. Penalty and collection costs will be waived for eligible tickets. The program begins November 15, 2015 and runs through the end of the year. The program applies to tickets issued prior to January 1, 2012, which are not currently enrolled in a payment plan or part of pending legal activity with the City of Chicago.

To search for outstanding tickets, you may visit www.cityofchicago.org/finance and click “Search for Tickets” or call the City at (312) 744-7275. All eligible tickets must be paid in full by December 31, 2015 to receive the reduction. Any eligible tickets not paid by the deadline will revert to the original amount due.

Chicago amnesty on penalties for old tickets, other debt to start Sunday, www.chicagotribune.com, November 10, 2015

An article in this month’s Illinois Bar Journal highlights the legislative accomplishments of the Traffic Laws Section of the Illinois State Bar Association. The Traffic Laws Section, including attorney Larry A. Davis, assisted in advancing several key pieces of DUI-related legislation this year. The article, written by Ed Finkel, discusses the changes to the lifetime revocation law and removal of ‘hard times’ related to MDDPs/DUI Statutory Summary Suspensions as well as Restricted Driving Permits (RDPs). The article also explains the desired reforms to the marijuana ‘trace’ law related to DUI, which was amendatorily vetoed by Governor Rauner.

A link to the full article is available here: Keeping the Road Safe and the Law Sane

On January 1, 2016, significant changes to Illinois DUI law will become effective. These changes to the lifetime revocation laws, RDP/MDDP laws, and BAIID Requirements have been described as the biggest reforms to DUI law in a decade.

Attorney Samuel Partida, Jr. invited Larry Davis to come onto his podcast to discuss these major changes in DUI law. Full audio of the interview is available at the link below:

Podcast available here!