A 20-year-old juror says that he could not sleep after convicting a defendant of being an armed habitual criminal and battery of a police officer. He later called the conviction a “cover-up.” Nonetheless, the defendant was convicted and will go to jail, though he may have grounds for an appeal.
An altercation between the defendant and the police officers occurred after the defendant ran into an apartment complex. The defendant was on probation for a drug-related crime and subject to a curfew. Police followed the defendant into the apartment complex and fired on him. They claimed he had a gun, a fact which the defendant denied. The prosecution failed to present fingerprint evidence tying the defendant to the gun.
It remains unclear why the juror voted to convict the defendant when he clearly believed that he was innocent. However, it gives you a sense of how our jury system works and why, sometimes, defendants are convicted based only on the say-so of the police.
The juror clearly believed that police had planted the gun to justify shooting the defendant three times. One of the police officers was also shot in the hand.
Police Testimony Contradicts the Initial Report
The public defender representing the defendant made several objections over testimony given by police officers. Their stories allegedly contradicted those in the official police report of the incident.
In addition to that anomaly, there was only one Black juror who heard the case. That juror had relatives who were police troopers.
The prosecution presented evidence that the defendant’s DNA was on the gun. The use of touch DNA helped establish that the defendant was in possession of the gun, a fact which he denied. The defense believed that the defendant’s DNA was transferred onto the gun during the altercation that took place between himself and police officers. However, a ballistics report ruled out that the defendant had a gun. This report was kept sealed from the media.
At one point during the trial, the prosecutor told jurors that the defendant was a convicted felon. Entering prior wrongdoing into the record is generally forbidden. The jury was asked to disregard the statement after an objection, but the defense believes that the mistake was intentional to convince jurors that the defendant was an armed habitual criminal. The defense called for a mistrial, but no mistrial was granted. The defense had argued that the jury was tainted by the “mistake” made by the prosecutor.
The defendant will face another charge of attempted first-degree murder. He already faces a possible 30 years in state prison over existing convictions. It remains unclear whether or not the sealed ballistics report will make it into the record. It seems fishy that a ballistics report that potentially exonerated the defendant was sealed from both the media and defense counsel.
Talk to a Chicago Criminal Defense Lawyer Today
Anything can happen in front of a jury. That is why you need a seasoned criminal defense attorney. Call David Freidberg today at (312) 560-7100 to schedule an appointment and learn more about how we can help.