Tag Archives: Chicago

PODCAST: Fox Valley Law Center Update: Immigration Update with Mary Helen Reyna

ICE is self-directed to use prosecutorial discretion in focusing on public safety and threats to society

ICE is self-directed to use prosecutorial discretion in focusing on public safety and threats to society

The Fox Valley Law Center Update is an Internet radio podcast focused on sharing news, tips and trends in complex legal issues facing our friends and neighbors in Chicago area. This series features attorneys and guests of The Fox Valley Law Center, the general practice law firm conveniently located at the Westfield Fox Valley Law Center in Aurora, Illinois. Today’s guest is Mary Helen Reyna offers updates in immigration law including the new Illinois temporary visitor’s driver’s license.

CLICK/TAP HERE TO LISTEN

Interview questions and topics covered on this show:

1) Immigration reform is frequently in the news and is the topic of political debate. What is the latest?

2) The issuance of Illinois Temporary Visitor Drivers Licenses allows undocumented residents to drive.

3) With news of Justin Bieber’s arrest, people have been talking about criminal law and deportation.

4) ICE is self-directed to use prosecutorial discretion in focusing on public safety and threats to society.

Mary Helen Reyna

Mary Helen Reyna

Mary Helen Reyna graduated from The Ohio State University in Columbus, OH with a degree in criminal justice and a minor in Spanish.  She graduated from DePaul University College of Law in 2006 and was admitted to the Illinois State Bar during the same year. Mary Helen focuses her practice on immigration law and assisting immigrant clients in a variety of issues affecting the immigrant community of the south and west suburbs. Mary Helen regularly volunteers her legal services.

Visit Fox Valley Law Center online for more about the firm.

Illinois Concealed Firearms Act: Do You Qualify?

"IN DROVES: Thousands of gun owners have spent their own time and money to sign-up for concealed carry." Imagae and article with statistics by Illinois Watchdog, "In Illinois, shoot first, enroll in Obamacare later," by Ben Yount, Jan. 15, 2014.

“IN DROVES: Thousands of gun owners have spent their own time and money to sign-up for concealed carry.” Image and article with statistics by Illinois Watchdog, “In Illinois, shoot first, enroll in Obamacare later,” by Ben Yount, Jan. 15, 2014.

In their recent news article, “In Illinois, shoot first, enroll in Obamacare later,” the Illinois Watchdog (formerly Illinois Statehouse News) reported that more people are applying for concealed carry permits than for Obamacare. “The Illinois State Police expect as many as 400,000 people to apply for gun permits. If the pace continues, Illinois will see 240,000 applications in just three months.” The article also suggests, “The only way Obamacare can get close to those kind of numbers is factoring in the state’s massive explosion in Illinois’ Medicaid population.”[i]

The Fox Valley Law Center can answer your questions about concealed carry eligibility.

The Illinois Concealed Firearms Act authorizes the issuance of licenses for the concealed carry of handguns and other firearms.  If you are at least 21 years old, have a currently valid Illinois Firearm Owners Identification (FOID) Card, and have completed an approved firearms training course, you may qualify for a license if you answer “no” to the following questions:

1. Are you disqualified from owning or possessing a firearm under state or federal law?  Or do you have a pending case that could lead to the disqualification from owning or possessing a firearm?

Common reasons for being disqualified from owning or possessing a handgun under Illinois or federal law include: (a) a conviction for a felony offense; (b) conviction for domestic battery; or, (c) convictions for certain drug and narcotics offenses.

2. Within the past 5 years (from the date of your concealed carry application), have you been convicted or found guilty of:

a. A misdemeanor offense involving use or threat of physical violence?

This could include misdemeanor offenses for assault, battery or domestic battery.  If you have been placed on court supervision for one of these offenses, you may not qualify.

b.  2 or more violations related to driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol, drugs, or intoxicating compounds?

3. Have you been in residential or court-ordered treatment for alcoholism, alcohol detoxification, or drug treatment within the past 5 years?

If you answered “yes” to any of the above questions, you may not qualify for a concealed firearm license.  Once issued, a concealed firearm license is valid for 5 years.  If a person is issued a license and then changes addresses or names, the person must notify the proper authorities within 30 days of the change.

The Fox Valley Law Center is conveniently located in the Westfield Valley Shopping Mall.  To schedule a consultation, call us at (630) 236-2222.


[i] Illinois Watchdog: In Illinois, shoot first, enroll in Obamacare later, by Ben Yount, Jan. 15, 2014.

Excessive force: A cost of doing business or a problem in local jails?

Outrageous conduct? The video below[i] shows four LaSalle County Sheriffs officers stripped the accused, Dana Holmes, naked and left her like that in the cell following a DUI arrest. Holmes’ attorney says the elements required to perform a legal strip search were not present in this instance.  Woman Sues LaSalle County After Strip Search in DUI Arrest Source.

Woman Sues LaSalle County After Strip Search in DUI Arrest

Woman Sues LaSalle County After Strip Search in DUI Arrest

In response to a civil lawsuit Holmes filed against La Salle County, officials commented and clearly stand behind the conduct of their jail guards, and that, “did nothing wrong in the video-recorded May incident.[ii]” The attorney representing Holmes comments on the suit: “This wasn’t a search. They just stripped her,” Holmes’ lawyer, Terry Ekl, said. “To do a strip search you need to have reasonable grounds to believe she either has a weapon on her or she’s secreting drugs. That didn’t exist here.”

Another recent incident was caught by video camera in Skokie, and in this case the injured woman who says she needed reconstructive surgery, sued for injuries after her head was shoved into a wall.

Woman sues Skokie Police, alleges cop threw her into concrete bench

Woman sues Skokie Police, alleges cop threw her into concrete bench

Was there a reason for the Skokie Police needed to shove Cassandra Feuerstein head first into a jail cell? The blood on the cell floor and medical attention response is telling. Feuerstein, arrested for DUI, appears, in the video, to cooperate despite her being shoved to her fall in the holding cell. Click/Tap here for a link to the video embedded in the Chicago Trib Local article.

Police officers and staff are trusted public servants and departments of internal affairs frequently investigate claims of excessive force and abuse of custodians of local jails. The Chicago Tribune article reports the police stated, “Feuerstein ‘knowingly resisted…in that she pulled away from (the officer) and placed both her hands on the sides of the cell door all in an attempt to not be placed in the holding cell.’[iii]” Do you think the male officer’s response was appropriate, if the above statement by the police is true?

Even closer to home, the City of Naperville settled an excessive force lawsuit for $435,000[iv]. Municipalities often consider settlements of excessive force cases a “business decision.” Such was the statement by Jill Pelka-Wilger, Naperville’s assistant legal director. The incident took place in Cook County which Pelka-Wilger stated, are “notorious for unpredictable jury awards.” A similar incident resulted in a $2 million award, and the settlement and reduced exposure may be more affordable to municipal police departments.

Cameras taking pictures and video of police conduct are increasingly common and knowing the eyes are upon you may have an effect on short-fused officers.

Nicole Sartori, principal of the Fox Valley Law Center, Ltd. offered the following comments in response to recent news involving cameras and police conduct: “As a criminal defense attorney, I love videos in DUI cases. It does not matter if they are from the squad car or the booking room. The video represents the most unbiased piece of evidence in a case. Although they are not required, they certainly are helpful. Police officers tend to only highlight the negative aspects of the client’s behavior in their reports. Clients tend to focus on the positive aspects in their interview with you or their testimony at hearing or trial. Plus, you may have difficulty believing their account due to the consumption of alcohol they admit to consuming. But, the video speaks for itself. This is true whether it is used as evidence of intoxication or impairment of the client or civil rights violations by police brutality or excessive force. Both articles here illustrate that when the cameras are rolling everyone must be held accountable for their actions. It does not matter whether you are in a smaller, rural county such as LaSalle or more wealthy suburban district like Skokie. If you believe you were mistreated or abused during your arrest, you need to let your defense attorney know right away. They should file motions to preserve the video so that the evidence is not erased, deleted or mysteriously gone by the first court date.”

“Jurisdictions such as Kendall County and Kane County have been focused on collecting the DUI technology fee in sentencing orders from defendants that are sentenced for DUI. If those fees mean more videos, I am all for them.” Nicole Sartori.

To learn more about legal issues that affect Chicago area families in the west suburbs, you can “Like” the Fox Valley Law Center Ltd., on Facebook and “Follow” us on Twitter. For more information please visit www.FoxValleyLawCenter.com.


[i] NBC5 Chicago: Woman Sues La Salle County After Strip Search in DUI Arrest. By Staff, Oct. 1, 2013.

[ii] Chicago Tribune: La Salle County stands behind jail guards sued for stripping woman. By David Heinzmann, Oct. 10, 2013.

[iii] Chicago Trib Local Evanston & Skokie: Woman sues Skokie and officer, citing injury after DUI arrest. By Juan Perez Jr., Oct. 10, 2013.

[iv] Daily Herald. Naperville settles excessive force lawsuit for $435,000. By Jake Griffin, Sept. 16, 2013.

Julie’s Law in Illinois Means No Supervision for More Than 25 Over

“Julie’s Law” went into effect on Monday, July 1, 2013. Last summer, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn, at Lincoln-Way High school, signed Julie’s law which increases penalties for speeders. On June 10, 2011, Julie Gorczynski, a 17-year-old Lincoln-Way student was killed in a car accident when she was hit by a  driver going 76 miles per hour in a 40 mile per hour residential area, that’s  speeding 36 miles per hour over the limit. The driver who killed Julie had multiple court supervisions for speeding. Julie’s family contacted law makers and worked hard to help create this new law.

Julie's Law went into effect July 1, 2013. No more supervision if you speed more than 25 miles over the limit.

Julie’s Law went into effect July 1, 2013. No more supervision if you speed more than 25 miles over the limit in a residential district or 30 miles over in a rural area. Even if you do not think you are eligible for court supervision, you should have your case reviewed by an attorney and have your counsel present to represent you in court.

Supervision allowed speeders to avoid suspension but the new law changes the rules.

“What you do with what happens can make a positive difference in the world,” says Julie’s mother, Pam Gorczynski. “I would not want another mother, or a father, brother, or sister, to go through this.”[i]

Supervision eligibility is different under “Julie’s Law” for adult drivers over 21 years old. In Illinois, a driver’s license will be suspended for three moving violation convictions within 12 months. For under 21 year-old drivers, two convictions within 24 months causes license suspension. Court supervision is not considered a conviction; therefore, under the old law a person receiving supervision would avoid a drivers license suspension. You are eligible for two court supervisions in a 12 month period.

The new law states that speeders exceeding the limit by more than 25 miles in a residential (urban) district, or by more than 30 miles otherwise (rural), are not eligible for court supervision: “(q) The provisions of paragraph (c) shall not apply to a defendant charged with violating subsection (b) of Section 11-601 of the Illinois Vehicle Code when the defendant was operating a vehicle, in an urban district, at a speed in excess of 25 miles per hour over the posted speed limit.” 730 ILCS 5/5-6-1 (a)(1)(q)[ii]

Court supervision is a an option a Judge can use when a driver in Illinois is issued a speeding ticket and they plead guilty or agree to the facts underlying the speeding citation and agree to the terms of court supervision. If the driver avoids any further tickets during the supervision period, that driver is free to go about their business, without a moving violation conviction on their Illinois driver record.

Attorney Nicole Sartori, principal attorney at the Fox Valley Law Center Ltd., is a former Assistant State’s Attorney who worked in Will County and knows the Illinois Vehicle Code and how the courts enforce the law. Nicole and the attorneys at the Fox Valley Law Center work with clients who have a variety of traffic violations, DUIs and criminal charges. The prosecuting agency must prove their case against you and if you think the ticket you were issued was improper, stop by to see a Fox Valley Law Center attorney. Located on the second floor of the Westfield Fox Valley Mall in Aurora, attorneys are available seven days a week to work around your schedules. You can call to make an appointment by dialing (630) 236-2222. Se habla español.

To learn more about Illinois traffic laws and the other legal areas that affect Chicago area families in the west suburbs, you can “Like” the Fox Valley Law Center Ltd., on Facebook and “Follow” us on Twitter. For more information please visit www.FoxValleyLawCenter.com.