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The law has never been exactly funny. Yet today, it is becoming funnier and funnier. Now that live-streaming is being used in courts to deal with the pandemic, several extremely funny things have happened. It is important to understand, however, that these things are not funny for any of the individuals involved.

Among the funniest things to happen in the era of courtroom live streaming, a couple was caught apparently having sex during a hearing, a federal informant divulged that he was an informant over YouTube, and now a judge made inappropriate comments concerning defense counsel after a hearing. 

In the last case, the judge did not realize that his conversation with two district attorneys and a public defender was still being broadcast over YouTube. During this banter, he made comments such as, “Can you imagine waking up next to her every morning?” The judge, apparently, did not like the way the lawyer conducted herself. The attorney interrupted him on multiple occasions and apparently moved her hands and arms in an agitated manner. 

A nurse at a suburban Chicago hospital is in deep trouble after the feds accused her of tampering with patients’ morphine. According to federal prosecutors, the woman removed some of the morphine from the bottle and diluted it with another liquid, essentially ensuring that patients would get significantly less morphine than their doctors had ordered. She is facing two counts of tampering with a consumer product. 

Tampering With a Consumer Product

While this may not sound like a serious offense, it is the type of crime that is punished in accord with domestic terrorism. Why? Because ever since the first Batman movie with Michael Keaton and Jack Nicholson as the Joker, Americans have been unduly concerned that random people will contaminate consumer products in order to create fear and panic in the public. Meanwhile, this almost never happens. In one case, however, a wife killed her own husband with contaminated aspirin and then attempted to hide her crime by contaminating more aspirin. Essentially, she tried to cast blame on a random terrorist poisoning American products.

A mother, her adult child, and a juvenile child are all facing charges related to the murder of the mother’s 6-year-old son. According to police, the mother concocted an odd story about a woman named Monique and another guy named Whacko or Chaos. The mother said that the child left with Whacko/Chaos and was never seen from again. However, police were able to punch a hole in that story, and then the investigation turned on the family. 

The boy was found naked and wrapped in a plastic bag in an alley. The boy’s mother is charged with first-degree murder among other crimes. Her adult son is charged with aggravated abuse of a child and unlawfully disposing of a body. A juvenile will face charges in juvenile court. A recent autopsy revealed that the boy died of hypothermia. However, the autopsy also revealed that burns were on the boy’s body. 

Analyzing the Evidence

According to a recent opinion piece by the Daily Mail, “woke” bail reform is putting murderers back on the streets of Chicago. This is not strictly true. In 2020, when the jails and prisons were overcrowded with suspects awaiting charges, it became more routine to release individuals on ankle monitors. However, it is true that reforms in the way we do bail are impacting how it functions and who qualifies.

To be sure, Illinois is not woke when it comes to bail reform. Some states have moved to do away with the cash bail system, and we will get into their reasons why below. However, Illinois is not one of them so the idea that Chicago is putting murderers out on the streets at a greater rate than say, New York or Los Angeles is false. One of the reasons why Chicago takes it on the chin when it comes to these sorts of accusations is that we have a large Black population, a history of political corruption, and a reputation for organized crime. However, we are no more woke than, say, Birmingham, AL when it comes to our bail system. 

COVID releases, overcrowding, and ankle monitors

Most folks do not understand how our economic system really works. What is a bank? What is a security? What is a corporation? Folks who have general ideas about what the concepts mean tend to be misinformed. As an example, most folks believe that banks use deposits to issue loans. They do not. Banks can fabricate loans ex-nihilo so long as they pay interest on the loans they create. Once the loan has been issued, the bank issues a deposit to the borrower and creates a liability in its own ledger. If all goes well, the bank makes money because the interest paid by the borrower is greater than that charged by the Federal Reserve. 

So, what if I created a bank just to issue worthless loans to my pals? Well, then you end up in prison. The system is actually quite easy to abuse, but the thing you have to understand is that they will catch up with you eventually. In this case, the bank was closed after accruing $66 million in non-performing loans issued to bank insiders. The government, of course, believes that they used the bank apparatus to fabricate money they had no intention of ever repaying. 

The charges

Everyone has heard of insider trading, but what is it really? Essentially, as an “insider,” you are not allowed to make beneficial trades unfairly. To prove insider trading, the federal government must show that the information was embargoed or confidential prior to the execution of the trade.

In this case, a Chicago physician is being accused of purchasing shares of a California-based biotech company that recently announced positive results of a new cancer treatment. The physician is accused of making the trade before the company announced the results publicly. Hence, insider trading. 

According to federal prosecutors, the defendant used his position to acquire confidential information that was embargoed for public disclosure. He then used that information to make a trade prior to the announcement of a major success and is now accused of insider trading. Federal prosecutors accuse the doctor of making $134,000 off the illegal trade, purchasing over 8,000 shares and then selling them shortly after the announcement. 

Two men meet in rehab. Neither is ready to commit to a life of sobriety. The one man sells the other man drugs or arranges for him to get access to drugs, and that man dies. Now, the other man is facing homicide charges. He is convicted of giving the other man a fatal dose of drugs. He pleads guilty and is sentenced to seven years.

Prosecutions such as these are becoming more popular and increasing the risk to drug dealers or even those who procure drugs from a drug dealer to deliver to a friend who is going to share the drugs with them. In this case, the victim’s parents pushed police to investigate the overdose as a homicide. Police were able to recover cell phone exchanges between the two men. Importantly, one exchange involved the victim complaining that he believed he overpaid for his drugs. The defendant responded by telling him he had given him the correct amount and the correct change. 

The Controversy Surrounding This Law

A jury found that a defendant who spent more than 20 years behind bars for a double murder was intentionally framed for the incident by police. The defendant was awarded a new trial after he successfully argued that his criminal defense attorney failed to call witnesses to the stand that would have corroborated his alibi. These witnesses claimed that the defendant was inside of a restaurant playing Pac Man at the time of the double shooting. The only witness that the prosecution offered was a man who was allegedly shot by the defendant during the double murder and the brother of one of the victims. It was the defendant who called police to the scene of the crime to report the shooting. Let that be a lesson on the perils of involving police in any matter at all.

After vacating his conviction, the defendant filed a lawsuit against Chicago police and the city. The complaint alleged that the arresting officer called the suspect a racial epithet and said that no one cares about Black people, which is why the officers would get away with it. A federal jury returned an award of $25.2 million to the plaintiff. 

The lineup

It is hard to imagine a guy faking a hate crime attack just so he could get up on stage and call himself “the Gay Tupac,” but that is exactly what Jussie Smollett is accused of doing. Police believe that Smollett paid two African bodybuilders to stage an assault that made national headlines, infuriated activists, and mined the hatred and outrage surrounding recent police murders. However, investigators came to believe that Smollett had staged the attack leading to an investigation that cost the city at least $130,000. Further, he stoked the fires of racial outrage and when it turned out that the police had evidence the hate crime was staged, it made it more difficult for others facing similar assaults to report their crimes.

It is among the most frustrating and infuriating news stories all year. As of the writing of this article, Smollett has been convicted of the charges. Smollett still maintains his innocence. But the matter remains polarizing as several high-profile celebrities continue to support Smollett on the basis that the Chicago police department has a long history of wrongdoing. 

Understanding Double Jeopardy

The Wicked Town street gang is facing a federal RICO prosecution that has ensnared 80 of its members. The Wicked Town gang is reputed to have orchestrated at least 19 killings. In one of these killings, an innocent bystander was gunned down at a pickup basketball game. 

Here’s the problem. The narco traffickers in places like Honduras have control of the government. They are not interested in boosting their reps on the streets. They simply want to move their drugs from one place to another. Meanwhile, they are supplying these drugs to street-level dealers who are more interested in boosting their own reps than they are doing business. These gangs and their leaders will often provoke worthless squabbles with other gangs simply to be harder on the street. While the Cartels kill their fair share of snitches and traitors to their business, the gangs are responsible for creating havoc on the streets for no other reason than to look as mean and strong as they possibly can. 

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