Tag Archives: United States

Get ready for new Illinois laws to take effect at midnight January 1, 2014

Call the Fox Valley Law Center at 630-236-2222 if you have any questions about the new laws.

Call the Fox Valley Law Center at 630-236-2222 if you have any questions about the new laws.

More than 200 plus new laws take effect at midnight on January 1 in Illinois. Some of the new laws as reported in this video by WGN news include a ban on incandescent light bulbs, the legalization medical marijuana, the concealed carry law for firearms. Several of the news laws are somewhat complex, and for example, the new handgun law identifies several places where people in Illinois may not carry a concealed handgun at playgrounds, forest preserves and restaurants. It is important to do your research if you are one of the Illinois residents who will apply for the new handgun permit so you do not inadvertently carry a gun in a prohibited location. Those who violate the new law may be subject to criminal penalties. Here is a link to a table listing all the new laws courtesy of WGN TV.

The medical marijuana law is rather complex for both patients and medical providers.

While the new medical marijuana law goes into effect on January 1, it will take some time for patience to gain access to their medicine. By April 2014 the state agencies regulating the licensing of dispensaries and cultivators. The new law allows a patient with a prescription to legally purchase no more than 2.5 ounces of marijuana over any two-week period. Unlike medical marijuana laws in other states, the new Illinois law requires that the prescribing doctor have a prior medical relationship with the patient who must have a serious or chronic condition for which the marijuana is prescribed. This new law is a pilot program and Illinois lawmakers are already proposing revisions to the law. The marijuana cultivators and dispensaries are highly regulated under the new law by the Illinois Department of Financial and Regulation. Here is a link to the Illinois Medical Cannabis Act Reference Sheet provided by the Marijuana Policy Project organization. If you have any questions please, give the Fox Valley Law Center a call and one of the lawyers can explain this and the many other laws that take effect January 1.

New laws allow Illinois drivers to speed up to 70 and some of the youngest drivers can register to vote at age 17.

Driving in Illinois will change somewhat in 2014 as several speed limits in non-urban areas increase to 70 miles per hour. While driving you will need to use hands free electronic devices if you want to communicate with the world outside your vehicle, so you may need to take the plunge and learn how to connect your device to the vehicle’s blue tooth system if you are so equipped.

As you drop your kids off at school, you may be pleased to know a new federal law regarding food allergies provides that Epi pens should be on hand for the aid of children with food allergies. If your children are seniors in high school, they may become politically active and start voting at age 17! If you are divorced you will be surprised to learn that a new family law requires parents with joint-custody to offer the other parent the option of temporary care before taking a child to a third party care giver like daycare.

If you are an employer, you may also want to spend some time on New Year’s Day reviewing new laws.

Business owners will enjoy reviewing several of the new laws. Professionals licensed to practice their craft by the Illinois Department of Professional and Financial Regulation will be glad to know their home addresses may no longer be printed on the licenses that are required to be displayed to customers. An employer may also access an employee’s social networking website such as Facebook for professionally used accounts for which the employer has liability for the employee under certain laws. This is another example of why in 2014 if you are unsure of how a new law works you should make a call to a lawyer who can explain how new laws may affect you.

To talk to an attorney about the new laws in Illinois, please call and make an appointment at the Fox Valley Law Center by dialing 630-236-2222 or simply stop in and see us at our office conveniently located at the second floor of the Westfield Fox Valley Mall in Aurora. We are here during mall hours. You can also learn more about our firm when you “Like” us on Facebook and “Follow” us on Twitter!

About Section 1983 and lawsuits involving police brutality

"Skokie Police Officer Michael Hart outside the Leighton Criminal Courts building after being released in lieu of $75,000 bail on Wednesday. (WGN-TV)"

“Skokie Police Officer Michael Hart outside the Leighton Criminal Courts building after being released in lieu of $75,000 bail on Wednesday. (WGN-TV)”

Skokie police officer, Michael Hart, was charged with aggravated battery and official misconduct after he was caught on video shoving a woman into a cell bench. According to the Chicago Tribune article, “Hart pushed Cassandra Feuerstein so hard that it broke her eye socket, cut her cheek and loosened her teeth.[i]” The article further notes that Feuerstein needed reconstructive surgery to place a titanium plate in her cheek. She also has facial numbness and vision troubles after the incident. Whether Officer Hart used excessive force is a matter for the court that may, under the circumstances, find that Hart’s force was unreasonable. If Feuerstein is proved a victim of excessive force by officer Hart, she could recover damages under “Section 1983,” the law designed to protect the rights of all Americans by the 14th Amendment, which allows a victim to file a lawsuit in federal court for police brutality.

Section 1983 of Title 42 of the U.S. Code is part of the civil rights act of 1871. Section 1983, provides that: “Every person who, under color of any statute, ordinance, regulation, custom, or usage, of any State or Territory or the District of Columbia, subjects, or causes to be subjected, any citizen of the United States or other person within the jurisdiction thereof to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws, shall be liable to the party injured in an action at law, suit in equity, or other proper proceeding for redress, except that in any action brought against a judicial officer for an act or omission taken in such officer’s judicial capacity, injunctive relief shall not be granted unless a declaratory decree was violated or declaratory relief was unavailable. For the purposes of this section, any Act of Congress applicable exclusively to the District of Columbia shall be considered to be a statute of the District of Columbia.[ii]

Consider a few highlights and key elements of a Section 1983 case where money damages are the available relief for civil rights violations against persons by the state[iii].

The common types of police brutality include excessive force, racial slurs and lethal force. In a case involving malicious police actions, any person within the United States can sue a government official when they’ve been deprived their constitutional rights. The Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable seizures applies to an officer touching you with hands, bullets or tasers. The Fifth Amendment applies to interrogations and Miranda rights. The 14th Amendment applies to race based slurs and verbal abuse.

Plaintiffs who sue for money damages under Section 1983 file complaints for police brutality, depending on the circumstances, against law enforcement officers individually, the city and county departments who employed the police, and even the mayor of the city where the incident occurred. These cases are complicated and there are a variety of legal defenses and challenges to the complaints filed by plaintiffs who claim they are victims of police brutality and their constitutional rights were violated in the incidents underlying their claims.

If you are a victim of police brutality or you want to learn more about your rights and the law, the attorneys at the Fox Valley Law Center Ltd. are here to answer y your questions. Feel free to stop by the office, conveniently located on the second floor of the Westfield Fox Valley Mall in Aurora. You can also call ahead to make an appointment to talk to a family law attorney by dialing 630-236-2222. Don’t forget to “Like” us on Facebook and “Follow” us on Twitter for up to date news in the law and issues that matter. For a list of legal practice areas please visit our website.


[i] Chicago Tribune: Charges filed against Skokie officer in videotaped jail cell incident. By Rosemary Regina Sobol and Robert McCoppin. Oct. 31, 2013.

[ii] “Section 1983” 42 U.S.C. § 1983

[iii] FindLaw: Police Brutality Lawsuits and Section 1983. By Brett Snider, May 14, 2013.