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Articles Posted in Criminal defense

Now for some good news. Chicago introduced an anti-violence program geared toward inmates who were convicted of violent crimes. While this does not sound like the kind of measure that would produce positive results, the data would indicate otherwise. According to the latest data, those who took part in the READI program were 67% less likely to be involved in a subsequent gun crime and 20% less likely to be the victim of gun violence. 

What does the data say? Well, even as gun violence and crime rates spike throughout the city of Chicago, those who participated in the READI program showed dwindling rates. Those who attended the program had an average of 17 raps on their sheet and many of them had been the victims of gun violence before. Overall, 2500 men were selected for READI Chicago. When compared against a similar group of 2500 men who did not partake in the program, the crime rates were massively lower. The intensive 18-month program was targeted to at-risk males in the Chicago area. The names were drawn algorithmically but focused on those who had violent histories.

Why is This Program Succeeding?

The police have begun to move on a murder that occurred in 1998 after DNA evidence linked two men to the crime scene. The one man agreed to testify against the other and now, the defense team representing the other man has moved to gain access to the witness and co-conspirator’s medical history. The idea is to suggest that the defendant lacked the ability to remember that he committed a murder in 1998 or any of the details concerning that murder. In other words, they want to suggest that the individual is so unreliable, their testimony should not be admissible in court.

The court has agreed to give the defense access to the witness’s medical records. From this, they will be able to build a defense that the witness is either simply saying what the police want to hear in exchange for testimony against the other defendant and his ability to recall details from such a long time ago is compromised by psychiatric illness and intervention.

Is This Tactic Likely to be Successful?

A man told police, among other things, that another man had given him a ride home from a club. The man who offered the ride was later found bludgeoned to death in a pool of his own blood. The suspect, who was covered in blood, initially told police that he fell down the stares, but later revealed that he had bludgeoned the man to death with a hammer after the man had allegedly tried to rape him. Police found the victim’s wallet in the suspect’s possession. The suspect did not have a good reason for possessing the wallet. He has since been charged with first-degree murder.

The man pleaded guilty to a battery charge while out on parole for an unrelated offense. He was sentenced in 2013 for attempted murder. He pleaded self-defense in that case, too.

Analyzing the Defense

In a final push to revisit cases in which former Chicago police officer Ronald Watts was involved, the State Attorney’s office reversed course and agreed to vacate 44 convictions. Almost every case that was tied to the former officer has been reviewed. Many convictions have been vacated on appeal after allegations that torture and coercion led to convictions. Watts was also implicated in planting evidence.

Initially, prosecutors appeared ready to defend these cases due to the fact that other officers who were not involved with Watts also contributed to the conviction. However, the DA reversed course and decided to vacate the convictions on the basis that even his cursory involvement was enough to taint the case. A total of 100 convictions have been vacated against 88 defendants as part of an exoneration review of Watts’ cases. Three convictions not associated with exoneration efforts have also been vacated. According to the State Attorney’s office, 212 convictions have been vacated due to Watts’ criminal police work. Only a handful of convictions now remain before the court. 

The officers, many of whom remain on the force, were accused of running a protection racket from a South Side public housing complex. They forced drug dealers to pay a “tax” and pinned bogus charges on anyone who did not. 

The community of Grand Rapids Michigan is reeling after an officer-involved shooting shows that a suspect was shot in the back of the head while resisting during a routine traffic stop. The events of this shooting are clear as day, but it remains unclear if any officer will be charged with a crime. This comes after police officers involved in the George Floyd murder rejected pleas offered by state prosecutors.

Bodycam footage shows that the officer pulled over a vehicle for having a license plate that did not match the vehicle. The officer pulls over the vehicle and the suspect immediately gets out of the car. The suspect does not have a weapon, looks confused, and tells the officer he has a license, but does not produce one. Later, the suspect can be seen walking away from the officer and then running. The officer pursues, tackles the suspect, and a struggle ensues. The officer draws his taser, the suspect intercepts it with his hands and diverts it. A struggle ensues. The officer is on top of the suspect when he discharges his weapon into the back of the suspect’s head. The suspect dies immediately. An autopsy confirms that the cause of death is a single gunshot wound to the back of the head.

Police reform advocates are saying this is another example of ineffective policing leading to tragedy. Pro-police advocates say that the suspect was still reaching for the officer’s taser when he fired the weapon.

No, the George Floyd situation has not yet been resolved. Three Minneapolis police officers are still facing charges for aiding and abetting the murder of the detainee. Officer Derek Chauvin has been charged and convicted of causing his death. Chauvin was the officer who knelt on Floyd’s neck for nine minutes before he lost consciousness and died. The three others stood by and watched as Floyd was asphyxiated to death.

Chauvin argued at trial that Floyd had a history of heart problems and drug dependency which contributed to his death. However, they could not prove that there was anyone alive who could survive a grown man kneeling on their carotid artery for 9 minutes. Hence, he was convicted of the homicide of George Floyd.

The three men have been convicted of violating Floyd’s civil rights and two of the officers were charged with failing to intervene on Floyd’s behalf. The officers claimed that Chauvin was the lead officer on the scene and so they deferred to him for leadership. They said they were not trained to intervene on a suspect’s behalf against a police officer. However, federal prosecutors reminded them that they were, in fact, duty-bound to do so. 

A young woman was with three male friends when a fourth individual attempted to hit on her. The girl was not having it and eventually, the friends stepped in on her behalf. The man who was hitting on the girl was affronted by this and two of her friends wound up dead with a third suffering severe injuries in a knife attack. Now, the man is on trial facing two first-degree murders and a third attempted murder charge. The defendant is claiming self-defense. The prosecution has rejected an offer for a lesser charge.

Will self-defense work here?

It is hard to say. Both the prosecution and the defense are establishing their own timeline for events. Prosecutors will say that the defendant hit on a girl and that her friends warned the defendant off. The defendant then became irate and stabbed them after further disputes related to the unwanted attention emerged. The defendant claims that the friends organized an assault on him in which he was placed in a chokehold. This led to further altercations that eventually led to the stabbing.

A Chicago area man is facing multiple felonies in Michigan after he showed up at a rural parochial school for unknown reasons. Police were called to the school, but the man had already left. He was found later at a local McDonald’s. Police confronted the man and asked for identification. The man said his ID was in his vehicle, but when he got back inside, he drove his car directly into the police SUV and drove off. Eventually, the vehicle skidded off the road and the driver abandoned it. The suspect took off on foot where he was eventually apprehended. He is now facing multiple felonies related to assault with a vehicle on an officer. He is facing a separate charge of driving with an altered or forged driver’s license.

No one, however, knows why the man was in rural Michigan at the time. The man has no ties to the local community and appears to be entirely out of sorts with his environment. Nonetheless, he did use a motor vehicle to strike a police vehicle with a police officer inside it. So, despite the fact that he may be fighting off an undiagnosed mental illness, he will face consequences for those actions.

What are his chances of pursuing an insanity defense?

It is unlawful to take video footage of someone in a restroom without their consent or knowledge. This is a fact that one Chicago-area music executive has learned the hard way after nude videos surfaced of his former nanny. Now, more allegations are pending as police have confiscated sim cards with more images of nude women. 

As a result of the charges, the executive, who is the son of a billionaire, has lost two jobs as the president of various establishments and his other job as the CEO of Audiotree. The CEO has pleaded not guilty to the charges. Civil suits have also been filed by the women found on the tapes. 

Understanding the Law

A Chicago-area father is facing weapons charges after his 3-year-old son shot and killed his own mother while playing with the weapon in the back seat. The father is now facing a misdemeanor gun charge. The mother was brought to the hospital where she was pronounced dead. The child has been offered trauma counseling services that he will likely need for the rest of his life.

Meanwhile, the father is facing a misdemeanor charge of unlawfully transporting a weapon. The father had a license for the gun, but transporting it in the backseat of your vehicle while your 3-year-old is back there is considered a crime. 

Accidental shootings involving children are now a major problem across the United States. Since 2015, over 2,000 individuals have been accidentally shot by children. 90% of those individuals were other children with about 70% of the shootings happening in the home. The pandemic and quarantine made the situation worse, with accidental shootings rising over that period. 

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