Illinois resident Brendt Christensen is currently awaiting trial on kidnapping charges, according to an article by The Chicago Tribune. Christensen is charged in connection with the disappearance of Yingying Zhang, a visiting scholar at the University of Illinois. Prosecutors admitted that while Zhang is still missing, she is most likely dead. Prosecutors also claim to have recordings of Christensen describing intimate details of Zhang’s abduction.
Christensen’s criminal defense attorneys question the credibility of this alleged recording. Referencing their client’s constitutional rights, they want to ensure a fair trial as well as a chance to examine all of the evidence.
In light of this news story, it feels like an appropriate time to review the Illinois laws concerning kidnapping.
What does Kidnapping Mean in Illinois?
The Illinois Criminal Code defines kidnapping in 720 ILCS 5/10-1 as a Class 2 felony, providing the guidelines quoted below.
“He or she knowingly:
(1) and secretly confines another against his or her will;
(2) by force or threat of imminent force carries another from one place to another with intent secretly to confine that other person against his or her will; or
(3) by deceit or enticement induces another to go from one place to another with intent secretly to confine that other person against his or her will.”
The first thing to note is the use of “knowingly.” Essentially, this means that a kidnapper must be aware of and understand what he or she is doing. This “knowingly” requirement applies to items (1), (2) and (3), as well.
Next we turn to the item (1) above. Here we learn that kidnapping can be as simple as confining or trapping another person against his or her will.
Switching to item (2) above, we learn how force and the threat of force apply to kidnapping. Using force or threat of force to compel someone to move against his or her will can count as kidnapping, if the perpetrator intends to confine or trap the victim eventually.
Turning to item (3) above, we learn how deceit and enticement apply to kidnapping. Tricking someone to move against his or her will can count as kidnapping if the perpetrator intends to confine or trap the victim eventually.
Now that we have covered the basics of kidnapping, it is also important to note the Illinois Criminal Code has separate rules concerning aggravated kidnapping. As laid out in 720 ILCS 5/10-2, aggravated kidnapping applies when there is a ransom demand, use of a firearm or other dangerous weapons and a number of other situations. As a Class X felony, there are heightened penalties for aggravated kidnapping.
Do You Need Legal Advice?
No matter what the criminal offense, all criminal charges are serious. Without a sound strategy and an aggressive defense, you could miss out on your best chance for a positive outcome. An experienced criminal defense attorney can help you understand the law and navigate toward an effective resolution.
Serving the counties of Dewitt, Ford, Livingston, Logan, McLean, Peoria, Tazewell, and Woodford, The Prior Law Firm is located in Bloomington, Illinois. Our attorneys are dedicated to the practice of Illinois criminal law. If you need legal advice concerning any criminal offense, please do not hesitate to contact us immediately.
You can reach The Prior Law Firm by phone at (309) 827-4300, email at email@example.com or online by completing a simple form.
(image courtesy of Aaron Burden)