Picture of attorney David L. Freidberg,

Passing drivers saw a man lying on the side of the road naked from the waist down. They alerted authorities, who tracked the man’s movements to an area bar. From there, they enticed the man into their van, where he was beaten and strangled. His body was dumped on the side of the road, and now both are facing first-degree murder charges.

It is fair to ask whether or not both defendants can be charged with the murder. It may end up being that one of them is charged with first-degree murder for the strangulation and physical assault that led to death while the other is charged with felony murder. This would divide itself along the vector of man and woman. The woman would likely be charged with conspiracy to commit murder, while the husband would be charged with perpetrating the physical death. 

At this point, we know little about the details other than what has been reported in the press. However, it is still possible that a first-degree murder charge against the wife will happen. If it does, the couple is unlikely to ever see one another again in person. They will be separated in prison.

A Chicago man has been charged with using the popular social media platform Snapchat to solicit sexually explicit videos from minors. This is not a unique case, as those charged with sexual predation often use the internet to find victims. It is, however, illegal to attempt to solicit sexual photos and videos from individuals that the perpetrator knows are underage. The key here, however, is what the perpetrator knew at the time.

For that reason, when law enforcement approaches an individual that they believe is using social media platforms to sexually exploit children and teenagers, they have to tell the suspect what their age is. In these cases, they can establish that the individual was targeting someone they knew was a minor. It is not illegal, only unseemly, to ask women over the age of 18 for sexually explicit content. 

Analyzing Sexual Exploitation Prosecutions

A 36-year-old man is facing hate crime charges after writing a racial slur on a public CTA sign. While this may seem like it falls under the banner of free speech, and there are those who want it to fall under the banner of free speech, defacing anything that does not belong to you is considered a property crime in every state in the country. Further, the law makes room to criminalize speech that is used purely for the sake of intimidation and/or falls under the banner of civil rights protections. In this case, defacing a public sign for the purpose of intimidating people of color, people who practice other religions, or gender non-conforming people is a crime in Illinois and under federal law.

Police observed the man using a Sharpie to write something on the sign. According to the allegations, the man wrote “Black line” and then added a racial slur, according to police.

Typically, in a situation like this, the police would report what the racial slur was. In this case, they have not, but we can guess. It then becomes a matter of proving that the individual did indeed use a racial slur or was likely to complete a racial slur if given a chance. However, if police interrupted him in the middle of writing the racial slur, then he may still have a viable defense to the hate crime charges.

A Chicago police officer has been recently charged with a sex crime after he was accused of having a sexual relationship with a child. Police are remaining silent about the child’s age and gender but have charged the officer based on the child’s self-reported allegations. According to police, the attack occurred in a parking lot. The victim knew the attacker and identified him as a 30-year-old police officer in good standing with CPD. 

In a case like this, the child will be interviewed by the Children’s Advocacy Center in conjunction with CPD’s Internal Affairs and the Civilian Office of Police Accountability. The officer has since been charged with a felony count of aggravated criminal sexual abuse against a child as well as aggravated battery in public.

According to authorities, the attack was violent. The officer is accused of groping the victim and then striking them. The defendant has been released on a $10,000 bond and is required to have no contact with the victim or anyone under the age of 18. 

A college football player is facing serious charges of sexual assault after authorities say that he pushed a woman into a stairwell, knocking her unconscious and then raping her. The force of the shove left her with a fractured spine. He is now facing charges of felony sexual assault and misdemeanor domestic violence. 

According to the allegations, the football player accused the woman of cheating on him. The argument grew tenser, and he pushed the woman into a stairwell. The woman was injured enough that she lost mobility, and she began pleading with the football player to call an ambulance. He refused, and instead, he raped her. 

Had he called an ambulance, he would have likely faced charges for misdemeanor domestic violence, been required to take an anger management course, and possibly been able to establish himself at another university. But the event did not unfold that way, and he is now facing criminal sexual assault charges that would include significant prison time. At this point, he has been suspended indefinitely, pending the outcome of the investigation. 

An incident that had the Arab American community up in arms has resulted in criminal charges being filed against an Oak Lawn police officer who allegedly committed official misconduct in the court of arrest. The officer will have to face charges of aggravated battery and official misconduct after a grand jury decided to pursue charges against the officer. The Oak Lawn police department has declined to comment on the incident.

Two other officers involved in the altercation were not charged, much to the disappointment of the family. This appears to be the new normal as far as police violence goes. The law will charge the individual as a scapegoat who committed the most egregious violation, and then those who stood by and watched or partook in a lesser way get off without repercussion.

The officers were filmed during the altercation. Two were holding the victim on the ground while a third continually struck him. The video went viral, and the police department defended the officers stating that they were following their training. This, too, is part of the problem. 

A Chicago man has recently been charged with his father’s murder, according to a recent news report. The suspect allegedly both strangled and stabbed his father to death. The cause is unclear, but prosecutors believe the man was on drugs at the time of the murder. An uncle, who was tasked with being the father’s caretaker, reported that the son appeared to be out of his mind. He continually apologized to his father as he was killing him. A grandmother who also lived in the same building called the police. The suspect was taken into custody and has since been charged with first-degree murder.

Analyzing the Mental Health Defense

Insanity defenses are tricky for a number of reasons and seldom work. The reason they do not work is that “insane” people, or those who are fighting mental health issues, can do things for good or bad reasons. For example, an insane person can believe that their father is blocking them from accessing untold riches that do not really exist. They’re insane, but their motive for committing murder is purely selfish. On the other hand, an insane person can believe that their father is possessed by a demon, already dead and that they are doing a good thing for the world by killing the father. Not only are they insane, but their delusion leaves them believing that they are doing something good when they are actually causing a great deal of unnecessary harm.

It is no secret that landlords conduct background checks and will use evidence of a criminal conviction against you when deciding on your application. For this reason, those with criminal records often find themselves in unsafe neighborhoods in need of personal protection. It is also true that those with criminal records are usually not allowed to own or purchase weapons. In some cases, a weapons charge caused their criminal record in the first place. In these cases, it is often because the individual feels unsafe where they live.

Obviously, this creates a feedback loop of recidivism, and Chicago is starting to catch on to the vicious circles that those in unsafe neighborhoods have to endure. Chicago recently unveiled a housing program that allows those with criminal records to find safe apartments. This reduces the pressure to own weapons.

Entering the Vicious Cycle

Chicago area teens are facing misdemeanor charges following the theft of a car and a crash that left a 6-month-old baby dead. Now, with the news floating about the cultural ether, it is part of the feedback loop of fear and vigilance that has Americans panic-shooting one another just because someone wants to do a U-turn in their driveway. 

While some may believe that the problem is journalism, it actually goes much deeper than that. Reporters are only responding to market signals, and if you do not sell fear, then you run the risk of losing attention. So, you get an endless barrage of fear-journalism that (by design) makes your world unsafe.

What Happened?

Facebook is being sued in almost every country over concerns that its algorithm harnesses the worst emotions that humanity has to offer and then rewards them for it. This is resulting in reports of genocide in Myanmar, deaths of teenagers, families destroyed by fake news, and a general feeling of hatred toward our fellow Americans. It may not be so much that Americans like this information or like feeling this way, as it is a matter of belief that this information makes them part of a special elect few who have their finger on the pulse of the American heartbeat.

How Does Your Local News Cycle Work?

Essentially, everything you need to know about your news cycle can be gleaned from the movie Nightcrawler. In the movie, an unlikeable protagonist fulfills his dream of becoming a vulture by getting a live feed of newsworthy events. By the end of the movie, he is creating events to film and getting rich off of these created events. While this is unlikely to happen in real life, the fictional space that the movie creates allows us to see how that would work.

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