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Articles Posted in Criminal defense

A Chicago-area father is facing charges after his son shot himself in the hand with a household gun. Bernard Shields, 36, of Chicago is facing a felony charge of being a habitual criminal in possession of a weapon with a filed-off serial number. He is also facing a felony count of possession of a controlled substance and several misdemeanor counts related to the discharge of the weapon and child endangerment. 

What Happened?

The parents were asleep when the boy found the gun in one of his father’s pants. Anyone who owns a gun should know better than to keep it in their pants when there are children around. He took the gun to the bathroom, ostensibly to play with it, and the gun discharged, injuring his hand. The child was taken to Children’s Hospital where he was treated for his injuries and then sent home. His father fled the scene knowing that police would be arriving shortly, but was later found and arrested. 

There has been a great deal of discussion recently over the role bail plays in American society. Political pundits who are rallying against bail reform cite instances of re-offense while the suspect is awaiting charges for another crime. Political pundits in favor of bail reform argue that the system is patently unfair and individuals charged with nonviolent crimes rot in jail for a year while the wheels of justice slowly turn.

Now, one charity is being scrutinized by the media after providing bail to inmates who then turned around and offended again.

Habitual Criminal Activity

Those who are in prison awaiting trial for crimes for which they have been accused are considered innocent until proven guilty. Yet the law has a vested interest in holding some detainees until trial—especially if they are considered either flight risks or a danger to the community. 

Despite that, one Chicago criminal defense attorney was able to get over a dozen Chicago inmates released amid the COVID-19 epidemic.

Prisons and Jails are Responsible for Inmate Safety

fabio-bracht-e3oE-l-rtpA-unsplash-copy-300x225You do not need to have a law degree to know that shooting someone while on parole is a parole violation. Nonetheless, Kyle S. Carter was accused of this crime after a drug deal went sour at an Aldi grocery store on Chicago’s west side. 

Carter has now been charged with first-degree murder, possession of more than 15 grams of cocaine, and armed robbery. If convicted, he will most likely spend the rest of his life behind bars. 

What Happened?

marco-chilese-2sMbKyQvom4-unsplash-copy-200x300Both Harvey Weinstein and R. Kelly have filed motions with the court for temporary release during the coronavirus outbreak citing health hazards. Weinstein and Kelly are both older with Weinstein being the more vulnerable of the two due to a recent surgery and more advanced age. Both were denied bail by the courts. 

But can others be expected to get their bail denied during the COVID-19 outbreak? 

The Virus is a Problem for Prisons

jaanus-jagomagi-377699-unsplash-copy-200x300Treja Kelley was asked to take the stand against the man who had killed her cousin. After she helped the state secure a guilty verdict, a $5,000 bounty was placed on her head. A few months after she testified, Kelley was shot and killed. She was 18 years old, and she was pregnant.

The man who is accused of killing her, Kevarian Rogers, allegedly bragged about “nailing the girl” who testified against somebody. Rogers is now facing first-degree murder charges for the death of the young woman. 

Social Media Posts Will be Used to Convict Him

marco-chilese-2sMbKyQvom4-unsplash-copy-200x300R. Kelly has been denied a request to seek release from jail during the coronavirus outbreak. The disgraced singer’s attorneys filed a request for bond with the U.S. District Court in Chicago. Attorneys for Kelly claimed that because of his advanced age (53) he was at high risk of contracting and suffering severe symptoms of the coronavirus. Kelly’s attorneys also stated that hand sanitizer and soap are difficult to find at the present moment and that inmates are kept in small cells and are not practicing social distancing.

Nonetheless, the court rejected Kelly’s request and the embattled pop star is not elderly enough to be considered in the high-risk group. Kelly had also undergone a recent surgery for a hernia, but the court ruled that it did not place him in a substantially higher risk group than others. Lastly, federal authorities reported that the prison has enough soap and hand sanitizer for everyone. The final nail in the coffin was that there were no reports of the virus among inmates.

Prosecutors Cite Kelly as a Flight Risk

mark-condy-ju2i2Ajqq_8-unsplash-copy-300x225Each state has its own laws when dealing with quarantine orders. There are also federal laws that lay out penalties for violating a quarantine order. These laws vary widely from one state to another. In some places, like Florida, you can be charged with a misdemeanor and face six months in county jail. 

The City of Chicago and the State of Illinois have their own measures in place for meting out punishment for those who violate a quarantine order. In this article, we will take a look at what the law says about staying indoors during this difficult period.

All Sick People: Shelter in Place

fabio-bracht-e3oE-l-rtpA-unsplash-copy-300x225In the age of the coronavirus, crime still exists even as the courts are mostly shut down across the United States and especially here in Illinois. In fact, throughout much of the U.S., the criminal justice system is on pause. However, in Missouri, one man has been charged with making terrorist threats after he videoed himself licking deodorant in a Missouri Walmart. 

Cody Lee Pfister was arrested by the Warrenton police department after posting the video to social media on March 11. The Warren County Prosecutor’s Office has charged him with making terrorist threats in the second degree. The allegations read something like: Pfister knowingly caused a false belief or fear that a condition or danger was present that involved a danger to life. He did this with reckless disregard of the risk of stirring panic, evacuation, quarantine, or closure.

Making a Terrorist Threat in the Second-Degree

tim-graf-202490-copy-300x200A Chicago jury has convicted Shomari Legghette of the first-degree murder of Chicago police officer Paul Bauer. Legghette attempted to say that the shooting was in self-defense, but the jury listened to evidence that Bauer had pursued Legghette after other officers called in suspicious activity around the Thompson Center. Bauer was in uniform at the time of the shooting but was wearing a jacket over his uniform, bolstering the defense’s argument that Legghette had no reason to believe that Bauer was a police officer. 

Bauer pursued Legghette on foot and a fight broke out. The two ended up tumbling down the stairs. The prosecution asked jurors to focus on the 25 seconds between when the fall happened and the sound of gunfire. Much of the incident was caught on video. Prosecutors said that Legghette should have figured the situation out when he saw Bauer with handcuffs and noticed his police radio on full volume. 

Legghette Fails to Testify

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