Rockford, IL asked in Criminal Law for Illinois

Q: Is it possible for a member of society to read a criminal indictment against the accused defense? If so how ?

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3 Lawyer Answers
Juan Ooink
Juan Ooink
Answered
  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Bolingbrook, IL
  • Licensed in Illinois

A: Not really sure what you are asking here. Adult criminal matters are all a matter of public law, so anyone can review the file on any adult defendant unless the case has been sealed or expunged.

William Wolf
William Wolf
Answered
  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Chicago, IL
  • Licensed in Illinois

A: Your question is not clear.

An indictment is a formal accusation where the accused is charged formally with a felony by a Grand Jury.

This accusation, also known sometimes as a charging document, must be in writing and set forth what act by the defendant broke the law, and what law the defendant is specifically accused of breaking.

These documents are almost always public records. By going to the Clerk's office for the local jurisdiction where the case started, you can ask to see a copy for yourself. This is because we live in a country where we don't try someone in secrecy.

The indictment is usually limited to what the crime is that is being charged, and doesn't directly discuss the accused's possible defense or defenses. I say directly because, for example, a sexual assault charge refers to sexual contact by the use of force or the threat of force. That force element is something the prosecutors must prove beyond a reasonable doubt. The lack of force, if the defendant is admitting that sexual contact took place, is central to a consent defense.

I hope this helps.

S. Janaan Hashim
S. Janaan Hashim
Answered
  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Chicago, IL
  • Licensed in Illinois

A: They would have to ask the clerk where the charges were filed for the case file. The case file will have the indictment available for review.

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