Articles Posted in Criminal defense

jaron-nix-1451678-unsplash-copy-225x300Michael Bailey was about to retire when prosecutors say that Antwon Carter attempted to steal the Buick he had bought himself as an early retirement present. Police say that Bailey attempted to defend himself, but Carter fired back. After Bailey’s wife, Pamela, heard the shots, she ran down the stairs and found her husband lying with his eyes open on the ground. He later died at the hospital.

While Bailey was off duty, he had just finished his shift and was still wearing his uniform when the altercation took place. The crime went unsolved for a year until inmates claim that Carter bragged about the shooting. The case is now a decade old.

Carter is being charged with felony murder, among other things.

samara-doole-259144-unsplash-copy-200x300The body of 2-year-old Kirien Knox was found dismembered in Garfield Park Lagoon. The shocking details of the slaying moved those who witnessed the photos to tears. The man charged with the murder, Kamel Harris, has pleaded not guilty.

According to the prosecution, the boy’s mother, Lanisha Knox, left her son with Harris and five others at an apartment while Knox headed out to set up a new life in Iowa, get jobs, and find an apartment. At some point, Harris stopped responding to calls or texts made by Knox.

Police and the prosecution believe that, at some point, Harris “snapped” and murdered the boy and then tried to dispose of the body. However, they did not list a cause of death. They did, however, indicate that Harris snapped because the boy cried incessantly after a “painful reaction to milk.”

robert-hickerson-38585-copy-200x30017-year-old Chastinea Reeves pleaded guilty to stabbing her own mother over 60 times. The girl was given a 45-year sentence for the slaying. Her mother, Jamie Garnett was found dead in her home. Reeves was 15 at the time of the murder and she was charged as an adult. The plea avoided the trial and a potential sentence of 65 years in prison had she been convicted of the murder. If she serves the full term, she will be 62 years old when she is released.

The state’s case appeared to the defense to be rock solid. The prosecution had the murder weapon with the victim’s blood on it and what they described as a “perfect” fingerprint. They also had two witnesses who were given plea deals and were willing to testify against Reeves at the trial.

Amber Alert Used to Apprehend Reeves

annie-spratt-1141166-unsplash-copy-200x300As evidence mounts against the parents of AJ Freund, the media frenzy around the case casts a shadow over the possibility that the Freunds will get a fair trial. According to police, the boy’s father Drew Freund told police that he “beat” the boy and administered cold showers as punishment. The police also indicated the father led investigators to the boy’s body in a remote location in Woodstock.

Physical evidence against the father continues to pile up. This includes a shovel, soil samples linking the shovel to the burial site, muddy shoes that could link the father to the burial site, and a search he performed on his phone concerning how to perform CPR on a child.

Police Have Begun Trying This Case in the Press

josh-calabrese-527813-unsplash-copy-300x200In most courtrooms, you will note the image of Lady Justice who carries scales and is blindfolded. This carries the connotation that justice or the criminal justice system should be (but is not) blind to prejudice and other characteristics of the baser intellect. No better (nor ironic) evidence of this fact can be shown in the case of a black teen who was given 76 years on the word of a legally blind witness.

How did this happen? Well, let us take a look.

First, you have a defendant who is wearing an orange jumpsuit. Second, you have a compliant witness who probably could not pick the defendant out of a lineup but nonetheless could pick out an orange jumpsuit. Then, the prosecutor asked the witness if he could identify the man who shot two people, killing one and wounding another. The witness identified the man in the orange jumpsuit.

smn-bcc-601011-unsplash-copy-300x200Adel Daoud will now face sentencing after pleading guilty (sort of) to conspiracy to commit terrorism and attempts to commit terrorism. Daoud was led by the hand to commit acts of terror against the American people by undercover FBI agents. He pushed a button on a detonator that he believed would set off a 1000-pound car bomb that could have killed hundreds of people. Daoud sat in the passenger seat of a car beside a federal agent and prayed that this would be their first operation, not their last.

Daoud had set himself up for the sting after lengthy social media posts alerted the federal government to his attitude. They say that he believed he was on a mission from God to harm infidels. The federal agent coaxed Daoud to commit an act that he believed was terrorism against the American people.

Does That Constitute Entrapment?

ehimetalor-unuabona-270319-unsplash-copy-300x199Insanity pleas are notorious because they are often dramatized in television shows and movies. In the real world, they are very difficult to prove.

There are two things you should understand about an insanity plea, and these things are often confused. Before there is a trial, the judge will need to determine whether or not you are fit to stand trial. That requires that you understand the charges against you and are able to participate in your own defense. If you cannot face your charges, you are remanded to the care of a psychiatric facility until they stabilize you enough so that you can stand trial for the crimes with which you are charged.

That is completely different from an insanity plea. If you plead insanity, the judge has already ruled that you can stand trial for your crime, but as a defense, you are saying you were not in your right mind when you committed the offense and should, therefore, not be held responsible for it. It is very difficult to prove because the criteria for proof is very high. Sometimes, it works.

emiliano-bar-1266993-unsplash-copy-300x199James Gibson, the man who was sentenced to life in prison after being convicted of a double homicide, is finally a free man. After an appellate court tossed a conviction against him, the district attorney’s office dropped the charges. It was unclear if they were going to retry Gibson for the case, but it did not appear likely. Gibson was convicted on a confession made under duress during which he claimed he was tortured over the course of two days into admitting to the slayings. Gibson later recanted the confession and pleaded not guilty at trial. The prosecution leaned heavily on that confession in order to make their case against Gibson.

In addition to the confession, the prosecution had two witnesses that later recanted their testimony. The appellate court vacated the conviction and James Gibson waited to find out what the prosecution would do. Had they wanted, they could have tried Gibson again for the same charge. However, lacking sufficient evidence, they decided to let Gibson go which seems like the right thing to do.

How an Innocent Man Goes to Prison for 28 Years

filios-sazeides-540219-unsplash-copy-200x300Did Governor Pritzker remove toilets from an unoccupied mansion next door to his own personal residence in order to defraud taxpayers of over $300,000? Federal authorities sure seem to think so. Pritzker has been under federal investigation since October for the toilet-removal scheme, but did not initially appear to be implicated in the scandal. Adding to the intrigue is the question of whether or not the report was leaked to weaken Pritzker’s position during a critical time in his office. Here, we will discuss the actual crime of which Pritzker is being accused.

Was Pritzker Involved in the Toilet Removal?

The IRS does not necessarily care if you went out of your way to commit a crime. Indeed, many folks who never committed a crime in their lives are held accountable for text debts that are owed to the IRS. How? The IRS is not going to look for what you did or did not do. The IRS is going to look at whether or not you benefited from what was done.

rawpixel-1055781-unsplash-1-300x201Erick Maya has successfully appealed his conviction by arguing that he suffered from ineffective assistance of counsel. This is despite the fact that he was represented by one of the most highly-regarded criminal defense attorneys in Illinois, George Lenard. Maya was accused and convicted of murdering Romeoville 15-year-old Briana Valle in 2014 in a highly publicized criminal trial. The case brought to light several issues in the age of the internet including Facebook stalking.

According to the prosecution, Valle met the young woman on Facebook when she was 13 years old. The two carried on a romantic relationship of sorts until, at some point, the relationship went downhill. The prosecution accused Maya of threatening to rape Valle and kill her family and then shoot her to death. They say that Maya then hired a taxi driver to bring him to Valle’s home. He got cold feet and left but, later, he went back and carried out his threat. He was charged in the murder of Briana Valle and the attempted murder of her other family members, including her mother whom he shot in the neck.

Attorneys for Maya appealed the verdict, which saw the defendant sentenced to 122 years for the murder and attempted murder. The appeals court has not yet overturned the verdict in the trial nor have they ordered a new trial. They did, however, rule against the circuit court’s decision that Maya received a fair defense.