Based on the strength of testimony from other Chicago cops and a Chicago judge, police officers Xavier Elizondo and David Salgado were recently found guilty of stealing cash and drugs and otherwise profiting on the drug trade they were supposed to be eliminating. The federal trial made national headlines because it detailed the type of corruption that goes on every day in Chicago. These police were accused and then convicted of lying on search warrants, using money and drugs from seizures to pay off informants who would provide anonymous information to judges who would then authorize illegal searches.
If you are concerned that this is a civil rights violation, then you are thinking about this the right way. So-called John Doe search warrants that have anonymous informants tattling on suspects were at the heart of the problem these two Chicago police officers caused. Nonetheless, these search warrants will continue to be used long after this trial has concluded.
Officers Remain Free
Despite the fact that the two have been convicted of crimes that could include sentences of over 20 years in jail, the officers remain free on bond. Prosecutors will file a motion to jail them while they are awaiting sentencing, which will not happen until January.
Salgado will appeal the decision. His attorney told reporters that he should have been tried separately from Elizondo because Elizondo was his superior officer.
Examining Elizondo’s Defense
In a surprise move, Elizondo took the stand in his own defense. He testified that in order to get confidential informants to trust him, he posed as a dirty cop who was willing to cut them in on any cash or drugs were confiscated from the raids. Elizondo’s defense was a good one. He essentially explained away why the CIs had cause to lie, believing he was exactly what the prosecution painted him as.
However, it did not have the benefit of explaining away any of the physical evidence against him which included evidence gleaned from FBI stings. It remains to be seen whether or not this defense will backfire. The prosecution can turn around and add another charge of perjury to the several other charges of which Elizondo now stands convicted.
Raiding Suspects Not a New Scheme
In the 1990s, a federal probe uncovered a conspiracy by Chicago police officers to illegally raid suspects homes. The mastermind behind the operation, Edward “Pacman” Jackson Jr., was sentenced to 115 years in prison.
In 2003, another Chicago cop was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. He was convicted of racketeering for leading a “double life” as a drug dealer.
The Special Operations Section of the Chicago PD was disbanded after several officers were charged with robbing both suspects and otherwise law abiding citizens.
The latest scandal is yet another black eye for Chicago law enforcement.
Talk to a Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney Today
If you have been charged with a serious crime, David Freidberg, Attorney at Law can help ensure that your rights are protected and you are not railroaded by sloppy police work or a speculative prosecution. Call us today at (312) 560-7100 to set up an appointment