Articles Posted in Criminal defense

louis-reed-747388-unsplash-copy-300x200Bruce Lindahl has been linked to the 1976 murder of a Woodridge teenager and is a suspect in 12 murders and nine rapes. The one thing that Lindahl has going in his favor, however, is that he is already dead. Lindahl died in 1981 before DNA technology would be combined with databases to help route out serial murderers and rapists. To date, several tips have been phoned in concerning Lindahl, and more are expected. 

Investigators believe that Lindahl committed at least nine murders and there is a high chance that he may be linked to three others. Of the rapes, several of his victims have died, but there are also some who are still alive. 

The case of 16-year-old Pamela Maurer was cold for over 40 years before police used a “new kind of DNA analysis” to link Lindahl to the murder. This same method was used to identify the “Golden State Killer” who authorities believe is responsible for several murders and rapes in California. 

kristina-flour-185592-copy-300x192A self-proclaimed madam is on trial for prostitution charges and may be in more trouble still after posting an ad online at sexyjobs.com. The ad promised an extraordinary opportunity to work at a Chicago-based “members only” club. In the ad, she describes the “Premier Playhouse” as a kink-friendly place that has been providing “legal fun” for “over ten years.” Now, federal prosecutors want her jailed while she is awaiting trial on charges that she set up a bawdy house right here in Chicago.

No-fun prosecutors allege that 31-year-old Jessica Nesbitt (aka: Madame Priscilla Belle) set up a house of prostitution, conspired to commit prostitution, and illegally structured bank withdrawals to evade reporting requirements. 

Madame Priscilla has pleaded not guilty to all charges and has since been released on a $250,000 bond. As part of the bond release, she was restricted from doing any business through her company, Kink Extraordinaire. Nor is she allowed to have any contact with her former employees. Prosecutors have asked the federal judge to revoke Madame Priscilla’s bond. 

mihai-surdu-DeI2BMIMDFA-unsplash-copy-300x200The man whose conduct lit the fire that set off the #MeToo movement will stand trial in Manhattan facing five charges relating to sex crimes. Harvey Weinstein has been accused by over 80 women of sexual misconduct and the trial promises to be a historic indictment of Hollywood culture and even American culture. 

Weinstein will face a litany of witnesses who will testify before the court and recount sexual misconduct before a jury. Some of these women will be recounting experiences from uncharged sex crimes while others will act as witnesses for crimes that have been charged. In this respect, it is similar to the strategy used by prosecutors to convict Bill Cosby of multiple counts of rape and sexual assault. 

Weinstein has maintained his innocence.

raban-haaijk-118657-copy-225x300Uber driver, Ahmed Tawfeeq, was recently sentenced to five years for sexually assaulting one of his passengers. Now, he will face additional charges alleging that he attempted to hire someone to hurt, silence, or threaten her

The charges against Tawfeeq included criminal sexual abuse, promoting prostitution, attempted sexual assault, aggravated battery, and unlawful restraint. 

Now, Tawfeeq will appear as a defendant in a second trial alleging that he posted bond for a fellow inmate and offered him another $6,000 to “kidnap” the complainant in an apparent attempt to silence or intimidate her. 

javier-villaraco-235574-copy-300x225Rule 26 went into effect on January 1st, but some counties are implementing a 30-day “trial period” to comply with the state’s new rule. Other counties have already implemented the new rule, and have seen benefits. The rule, which passed in the last legislative session, will impact how bail and pretrial release works in the State of Illinois. It is the result of two separate initiatives on the best practices for criminal justice

The pilot program began as early as 2016 with 11 counties volunteering to adopt the measures. The initiative, which had its fair share of detractors, changes the way the bail system works and does away with money bail. Instead, the judge conducts a pretrial risk assessment when deciding if or when a suspect will be released and what kind of supervision they require. The ultimate goal of Rule 26 is to decrease jail populations.

In other words, instead of paying your way out of a jail cell, judges, in concert with other law enforcement officials, will be able to conduct risk assessments on suspects to determine whether or not they should be released on their own recognizance. However, ultimately, it is the judge’s decision alone that will impact if a suspect is released and the conditions of that release. 

larry-tseng-183721-unsplash-300x225Cook County judge, William Gamboney, found former Chicago police officer, Lowell Houser guilty of second-degree murder recently. Houser requested a bench trial as some police officers are wont to do when facing serious charges.  

The trial stemmed from a 2017 off-duty shooting of Jose Nieves. Houser has been under house arrest since being charged with first-degree murder.

The judge ruled that Nieves may have been aggressive toward Houser, but the man was unarmed at the time of the shooting. He therefore decided that Houser’s actions were unreasonable and that the shooting was unjustified. 

sawyer-bengtson-279792-copy-200x300A Chicago mobster convicted a decade ago in an operation known as “Family Secrets” is now in front of a judge again having been charged with stealing more than $40,000 over the course of two years from social security. 

Mickey Marcello is the half-brother of boss James Marcello who ran the Melrose Park Crew. Marcello has pleaded not guilty to one count of theft. He has been charged with one other man, Walter Paredes, in a separate indictment. Paredes is accused of stealing over $160,000 from social security over the course of four years. 

Who is Mickey Marcello?

robert-hickerson-38585-copy-200x300Anton Carter yawned and smirked after the judge told him he would be spending the rest of his life in prison for the murder of off-duty Chicago police officer Michael Bailey. The prosecution argued that Carter knew Bailey was a cop, which made the life sentence mandatory according to Illinois statutes. The judge in the case, Stanley Sacks, delivered a scathing rebuke of Carter, who at times looked bored at his sentencing hearing. The outcome of the sentencing was already predetermined by statute. Those convicted of murdering a police officer knowingly must face a mandatory life sentence. The judge noted that in some cases, mandatory sentencing parameters are unfair. In the case of Carter, Sacks made no such allowance.

Meanwhile, Bailey’s family spoke of forgiveness and appeared to make allowances for Carter who, they said, “never had a chance” in life. The family did say that the sentence helped them gain closure and that they can now move on with their lives.

Understanding the Law

didier-weemaels-36055-copy-300x251State Senator Tom Cullerton is now facing federal charges that embezzled funds from the Teamsters. Federal authorities are accusing Cullerton of collecting a nearly $190,000 salary plus bonuses for vehicle and cellphone usage. He is also said to have taken $64,000 in health and pension contributions while doing apparently nothing for the Teamsters union. 

Cullerton faced a grand jury indictment in August on one count of conspiracy to embezzle from a labor union, one count of lying about a public health matter, and 39 counts of embezzlement from a labor union. 

Cullerton is one of three elected officials to face federal charges amid a federal probe into corruption in Chicago and Illinois. Cullerton has pleaded not guilty to all charges and expressed eagerness to clear his good name. 

mak-uNx7p3R1MEA-unsplash-copy-200x300Jose Vilchis is facing charges that he sexually abused one of his students at I&M Gymnastics Academy. In addition, the U.S. Department of Justice is suing to revoke his citizenship. Vilchis is a naturalized U.S. citizen, meaning that he came to this country on a green card and then applied to become a full citizen of the United States. Even though the crimes for which Vilchis are charged are heinous, the government does not have the authority to revoke citizenship unless they can prove that a naturalized citizen committed some subversive act, joined an enemy of the state, or committed fraud in order to get citizenship. So even though Vilchis is charged with a sex crime, that alone is not enough to strip a naturalized citizen of citizenship.

Did Vilchis Lie on His Application for Citizenship?

The U.S. Department of Justice is claiming that he did. They say that Vilchis unlawfully concealed three other instances of sexual abuse of minor girls beginning in 1985 when he was a green card holder. However, Vilchis was never arrested or convicted of these crimes. Nonetheless, U.S. immigration asks those who are petitioning to become full citizens if they ever committed a crime for which they were not convicted. Vilchis, apparently answered ‘no.’