Legislation On Societies Teens

by DeWayne W.

The next time you take a trip to the mall, corner store or even school (yes school), please know that if you take this trip with your friend, brother, mother or whoever… and a situation arise where your travelling companion gets into a physical altercation – you can and almost always will (emphasis added) be held accountable for your actions!!

Illinois compiled Statutes 720 ILCS 5/51 is legislation enacted by our law makers for the purpose of making you accountable for the actions of another. You may not even know that your friend has guns, drugs or both in their possession. Say your buddy gets in a fight with someone and shoots or causes bodily harm to them. You’re an innocent bystander with nothing whatsoever to do with it. During the fight you decide to be a good person and break it up.

After you intervene, your buddy pulls a weapon he/she had concealed and shoots or injures that person. He/she takes off running and you run off too. Guess what? There was a group of people standing not far away who seen the entire incident from start to finish. They each give statements to police.

Their statements go something like this. “Two guys were walking toward one guy. When the two guys approached the one guy, one of them hit him. The two were fighting and fell to the ground. When they fell the other guy reach down toward them. I couldn’t tell exactly what he was doing. It looked like he was trying to help his friend. Whatever he was doing, the three separated and all I seen was the guy who had threw the first punch, pull a gun and shoot the guy. After that the two guys ran off.”

A short while later, your at the station asking what happened. You’re gonna do one or two things: (1) Keep your mouth shut, or (2) tell them what happened. Whoever said the truth will set you free didn’t understand that “probable cause” is a standard so low that simply saying ”Me and my homeboy was walking to the store when he seen this guy coming in our direction”….is enough to charge you with “accountability.”

Sure, the detectives and district attorney could easily do a reasonable investigation and learn that you had absolutely nothing to do with what transpired. But they need you to testify on your friend. So they lock you up until they need you. Usually by that time (months or years later) you’re ready to go home. So you do and say whatever the public defender tells you to – which often entails you admitting that you and your companion had discussed in some fashion that you were gonna do such and such to the “victim” once you see him.

You cooperated, so you should be going home. This just turns out “not to be your day.” The judge wants to send a message to the youth that jumping people and walking around in groups armed with a gun looking for your own target isn’t gonna be tolerated! So he rejects your plea and sentences you to 25 year (85 percent).

Now your “lost” in the system! You scream and cry that that’s not fair – that you didn’t do nothing! Well, the system isn’t fair! It’s just there! The promise of going home made you forget one important thing. In fact, its so important that it was one of the first things the detective told you…. What you say CAN and WILL (emphasis added) be used against you in a court of law!

This is but one scenario out of thousands that occur to teenagers Monday – Friday in Illinois courtrooms. The purpose of this letter isn’t to convey to you the importance of not simply being mindful of who you hang with and what you do with them, but also to make you aware that the legal system in Illinois isn’t designed to get to the truth of the matter, but to instead prove any-one of the several elements of an Illinois compiled statute that you may be “proven guilty” beyond a reasonable doubt.!

No one plans on needing legal advice – but I strongly suggest that you research exactly what your Miranda rights are and their importance…then share this information with your friends… It could very well be the thing that prevents you from being LOST.