Articles Posted in Armed Robbery

Quite often, unfortunately, defendants facing Chicago drug charges or Chicago violent crimes charges feel the need to boast of the exploits.

As most of us are aware, people confess to many things on Facebook. Secret loves, bad habits, hidden longings; it appears that nowadays, nothing is too private or personal to appear on social media. While some may consider such confessions to be tacky—or at the very least, in poor taste—a Florida man recently went a step further by posting a photograph of the young wife he had just murdered, along with a confession—of sorts. While most Americans are long-past the point of being shocked by the daily news, this latest bid for attention has startled even the most cynical.chain-863724-m

Derek Medina, a South Miami resident, could possibly have benefitted from taking his own website a bit more seriously. That website, called EmotionalWriter.com, markets Medina’s self-help books on effective communication and marriage counseling tips.  A little over a week ago, Medina was apparently engaged in a verbal dispute with his 26-year old wife, Jennifer Alfonso. According to Medina, he pointed a gun at his wife, at which point she walked away, returning minutes later to inform her husband she was leaving. Medina then confronted his wife who reacted by “punching” him. Medina once again pointed his firearm at his wife, who responded by grabbing a kitchen knife. As Medina attempted to take the knife from Alfonso, she once again began hitting him, at which point he fired multiple shots from close range directly into her body.

Medina then took photos of his wife’s dead body and wrote a note which stated “I’m going to prison or death sentence for killing my wife love you guys miss you guys take care Facebook people you will see me in the news my wife was punching me and I am not going to stand anymore with the abuse so I did what I did I hope u understand me.”  The photo and the note were then posted on Medina’s Facebook account. The image was online for approximately five hours before Facebook employees removed the photo and disabled both Medina’s FB page as well as his wife’s. Even more bizarre, the couple’s ten-year old daughter was in the house at the time, although she was reported to be “unharmed.”

If you wonder why on earth anyone would post photos of their murdered wife it is likely you are not alone. Psychologists attribute this need to (over) share with the poster’s need to feel important or powerful. Unfortunately, Medina is not alone in his quest for attention. A 2011 rape of a 15-year-old girl was discovered after the four teens allegedly responsible shared a photo of her online and through text messages. Again in 2011, a Pennsylvania teen pled guilty to raping an inebriated 15-year-old girl then posted a message on Facebook asking for a hit man to kill the girl.  As a result of these types of stories, Facebook has been used to catch those Floridians suspected of illicit behavior with increasing regularity, becoming a tool for identifying criminal behavior and catching those responsible for crimes ranging from theft to poaching.

Of course, criminals have been publicly confessing long before Facebook came into being. Jailhouse confessions and barroom braggarts are rife in the world of criminal defense. Social media has simply given those people a different kind of platform, allowing them to share their misdeeds and brag about being bad. While millions of people use social media in a totally healthy manner every day, for others the ability to communicate with others without seeing or hearing them makes it harder to remember that actions come with consequences. In fact, following his Facebook posting, Derek Medina drove to see his family, telling them what he had done, then turned himself in to the police. Medina is currently being held without bond under preliminary charges of first degree murder. Continue reading

Many of my clients have faced Chicago aggravated robbery charges.  Don’t be fooled into thinking that the element of aggravated or armed robbery consists solely of the use of a functioning firearm.

In early August, two Chicago men attempted to hold up a West Rogers Park restaurant using a black toy water pistol. The “weapon”—a fairly convincing replica of an MAC-10 machine pistol—was partially concealed in one of the men’s t-shirts as he demanded that the restaurant owner give them food, stating “I will kill you, I have a gun.”  The owner reportedly told the men to come back in an hour and he would have a meal for them as he was too busy at the time. The men obligingly left, returning as asked, an hour later. Of course by that time the restaurant owner had called the police and ushered other patrons out of the restaurant for their safety. Both men were arrested and charged with attempted aggravated robbery. The man with the water pistol was additionally charged with possession of a replica firearm.  Both men were slated to appear in court on August 19th.

On a more national level, many will remember that O.J. Simpson was convicted of aggravated robbery and kidnapping thirteen years after he was acquitted of the crime of killing his former wife. Apparently Simpson was the leader in a group of men who used threats and force to take photos, footballs and other sports memorabilia from Bruce Fromong and Al Beardsley in a Las Vegas motel room in 2007. Simpson’s lawyer claimed his client was a target from the beginning and that Simpson was merely tryheavy-machinegun-1329270-ming to reclaim property which had been stolen from him. Simpson also claimed he had no idea the men helping him recover his property were armed at the time. Simpson was eventually sentenced to 33 years in prison although recently he was granted parole on some of the charges; he will likely remain in prison for several additional years unless his request for a new trial is granted.

In light of the above, it is important to consider the following:  robbery consists of taking another person’s property whereas aggravated robbery involves a number of additional dispositive factors. Chicago aggravated robbery charges can vary dramatically from case to case; issues which will determine the extent of the charges generally include the use of force or verbal threats during the act, robbing an elderly person, an injury on the part of the victim, suggesting a weapon is present (even if it was not) or invading the home of another during the robbery act. Aggravated robbery convictions charged as a Class 1 felony are very serious so the crime—even when a water gun is used and nothing is actually taken—can garner the offender 4-15 years in the state prison. The longer sentencing is reserved for robberies which take place in a church or school or when the victim is elderly or handicapped.

The charges of aggravated robbery could have a variety of defenses depending on the circumstances. Your attorney could claim mistaken identity or could defeat the robbery charges by proving nothing was taken.  Consideration will also be given to whether there were injuries involved, if you have ever been involved in gang activity or if you have a prior criminal conviction.  It is especially important that you not talk to anyone prior to retaining an attorney. Although we’ve all see television shows where the police officers advise suspects of their Miranda rights, few people actually follow this practice in real life. Many people attempt to talk their way out of the charges—a practice which almost always ends up making the situation worse. Continue reading

Having been charged with Chicago armed robbery, you are aware that this is one of the most serious types of charges you can face.  In fact, probation is not even an option.

According to the FBI, a man in Park Ridge, Illinois, armed with a hammer, proceeded to rob a bank, getting away with an undisclosed amount of cash. It was noted by those at the scene that the robber appeared extremely nervous and agitated during the crime, luckily however, no one was injured. The man has not yet been apprehended, however when he is caught, he will likely be charged with armed robbery. It is worth noting that, in light of the above story, anyone considering committing the crime of robbery should remember that sometimes others fight back when they perceive a credible threat to their safety.  For instance, a 62-year old Chicago shop owner defended his store and his brother-in-law who was in the shop, by swinging a baseball bat at two robbers as one of them opened fire. The shop owner and one of the gunmen suffered gunshot wounds and the robbers—who fled the shop—were later identified through surveillance video. One suspect was apprehended and is currently being held on charges of armed robbery and attempted murder. The shop owner is expected to make a full recovery. police-line-970702-m

Chicago Armed Robbery is considered a violent crime, involving the use of force or the threat of force. The circumstances surrounding the crime will have considerable bearing on the charges, as well as the eventual sentence. If the robbery was perpetrated on an elderly or disabled person or if serious bodily injury occurred in the commission of the crime, the charges will increase accordingly.  Armed robbery occurs when a deadly weapon is used or when the person being robbed was threatened with the weapon. Prior robbery convictions or even a history of unrelated criminal charges can make the sentencing more severe. If you were on probation or parole when you were arrested for armed robbery, the felony charges may be escalated to a higher class. In some cases your criminal defense attorney might be able to negotiate your charges down to a lesser offense.

Although many people believe robbery is one of the most-often committed crimes, in fact it is down the list at number five, following larceny-theft, burglary, motor vehicle theft and aggravated assault. If you have taken part in an armed robbery, be aware that the charges are very serious and that there is a very narrow window of time between your arrest and the prosecutor’s decision to file charges against you. Those with an experienced criminal defense attorney by their side stand the best chance of avoiding criminal charges. The consequences of an armed robbery conviction can include:

·      A permanent criminal record

·      The necessity of submitting to random drug testing

·      Restitution

·      Steep fines

·      Jail or prison time

·      The inability to obtain a student loan after your prison sentence has ended

·      The inability to obtain a job, work with children, obtain a professional license, run for public office or own a firearm once your prison sentence has ended

·      A negative impact on your ability to obtain employment

Your Chicago criminal defense attorney will assess your individual situation thoroughly then determine the best course of action. Some potential defenses include:

·      Failure to read the Miranda rights to you

·      An illegal search or seizure

·      Your alibi for the time of the robbery

·      A claim of mistaken identity

·      The lack of intent to commit the crime charged

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