Today, Presiding Judge Kenneth Wright entered an Order which calls for the resumption of major Chicago traffic rooms beginning next week. These are the courtrooms that hear Class A misdemeanor traffic matters such as DUI, reckless driving, leaving the scene of an accident and aggravated speeding. Cases that were assigned to courtrooms 402, 404, 405, 406 and 408 will hear cases via Zoom. Only attorneys are required to appear, defendants and officers are excused (unless a defendant wishes to appear, in which case his or her attorney can provide him or her with the Zoom code).
I will not post the order here, because it contains the Zoom sign-in information. If you are an attorney who wants a copy, send me an email at HaroldWallin@gmail.com.
The Chicago City Council’s finance committee approved a measure Monday that would forgive ticket debt for some city motorists, but only those who file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
The move is meant to steer indebted drivers away from Chapter 13 bankruptcies that rarely eliminate their debt. The proposed reform, which comes amid growing calls to overhaul the city’s ticketing and debt collection practices, was drafted by the Law Department and included in the 2019 budget package approved by the finance committee.
The measure would wipe away unpaid tickets, fines and fees issued more than three years before debtors file for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, as long as their bankruptcy plan is successful and they complete a city payment plan for more recent ticket debt. Late penalties and other fines, including boot and impound fees, would also be forgiven.
The measure seeks to address a significant problem uncovered in a ProPublica Illinois report in February: that thousands of mostly black and low-income motorists are filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy to cope with the consequences of unpaid parking and automated-traffic-camera tickets that often lead to license suspensions and vehicle seizures.
Chapter 13 is the only kind of bankruptcy in which municipal debt, such as unpaid tickets, can be forgiven. But it is rarely a good long-term solution for many people, particularly those with ticket debt. That’s because this type of bankruptcy requires debtors to hand over their disposable monthly income for up to five years, which people with limited incomes often find challenging.
If they stop making payments and their bankruptcy cases get dismissed, debt collectors can come calling again, and threaten license suspension and vehicle seizure. Fewer than one in four of these cases end with debtors successfully completing a payment plan and emerging from bankruptcy, ProPublica Illinois found.
Chapter 7 bankruptcies, on the other hand, almost always end with debt relief. But motorists in Chicago don’t often go that route for two reasons: Ticket debt can’t be forgiven using this kind of bankruptcy, and most lawyers require their fees to be paid in full before they file for bankruptcy protection…
Read the rest of the story here: https://www.wbez.org/shows/wbez-news/chicago-considers-wiping-away-old-ticket-debt-for-motorists-who-file-for-chapter-7-bankruptcy/5407d3aa-1e5e-4e27-bc3d-4884c9b86c8f?utm_campaign=Daily_Newsletter_Daily-Rundown_Non-Members_20181106&utm_medium=email&utm_source=Eloqua&mi_ecmp=News_Newsletter_Daily-Rundown-250ok_Custom_20181106%20-%20Batch&mi_u=960554
Expertise.com, the website that “identifies the top service professionals in over 100 business categories across 1000 cities” has released its 2018 list of Chicago’s Top 20 Criminal Defense Lawyers, and for the third year in a row, that list includes Harold L. Wallin.
According to the website, they reviewed 599 attorneys in the Chicago area, and picked their top 20 using the following criteria: reputation, credibility, experience, availability and experience.
The analysts at Expertise.com rated over 250 attorneys to come up with their list of the 20 best criminal defense attorneys in Chicago. Yours truly made the list.
From their site:
Why These Criminal Defense Lawyers?
Our goal is to connect people with the best local experts. To do so, we analyzed and scored criminal defense lawyers on more than 25 variables across six categories to give you a hand-picked list of the best criminal defense lawyers in Chicago, IL.
A history of delighted customers as a signal of outstanding service.
Building customer confidence with licensing, industry accreditations, and awards.
Masters of their craft, based on years of practical experience and education.
Consistently approachable and responsive, so customers never feel ignored.
Providing customers a seamless experience both online and off.
Actively engaged with their customers across a number of platforms.
Thank you, Expertise.com!
Here is a story from the Chicago Tribune detailing the results of their study into the safety benefits (if any) that have been derived from Chicago’s red light camera enforcement. It showed that as a result of the cameras, there has been a 22% increase in rear end collisions, and a 15% decrease in T-bone crashes, essentially a wash. It also found that the City has been overestimating the decrease in T-bone crashes as a way of justifying these cash-cow cameras.