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Cook County Refuses to Press Charges on Man Who Acted in Self-Defense

A man who caused the death of another man during a robbery attempt will not face charges after Cook County determined that they acted in self-defense. The man’s name has not been released since the County is not pursuing charges. The incident occurred during last summer’s civil unrest.

According to the police report, 31-year-old Lorenzo Thomas approached an unidentified man with another man in a robbery attempt. The man grabbed a metal bar and struck Thomas in the abdomen. The man was brought to the hospital but was released several days later. He was readmitted three days later. He died as an apparent result of those injuries. The Cook County medical examiner ruled that the man’s death was a homicide caused by assault. However, the assaulter was deemed to have acted in self-defense. Thus, he will not face charges related to the homicide. 

Why Was the Man Not Charged?

Prosecutors like to protect their records against defense attorneys and this case was a loser. In order to prove that the unnamed man did not act in self-defense, prosecutors would have needed to show that his actions were unreasonable that day. As an example, if the man struck Thomas in the abdomen and then proceeded to bash his brains in, that would have been excessive. However, the man died of complications related to an assault. He was hit in the abdomen, not the head, and there appeared to be only one injury that he sustained.

In a situation like that where a man is being robbed by another man, the man is legally justified in attempting to defend himself. 

Self-Defense Standard in Illinois?

Every state has its own rules when it comes to self-defense. The most permissive are Florida’s, where a prosecuting attorney would need to prove that the defendant did not feel in fear for their life during pretrial. Other states have similar laws while still others require an individual to attempt retreat prior to using deadly force. 

In Illinois, an individual is authorized to use deadly force to protect themselves or their property. However, the use of force must be equal to the threat. In the case of Thomas, who was ostensibly threatening a man, the unnamed individual struck him in the abdomen. That would not necessarily be considered an act likely to cause death. Had he struck him in the head, that would be a different story. In fact, one could argue that the hospital that administered care was more responsible for the man’s death than the individual who struck him in the abdomen. Obviously, they released him before he was ready, he continued to bleed internally, and then died as a result of that bleeding.

Talk to a Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney Today

If you have been charged with a serious crime, but you know that you were only defending yourself, call David Freidberg today at (312) 560-7100 to discuss your options moving forward and resolve the matter with the minimum of consequences to your reputation and future. 

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