A poorly-adjusted Chicago man approached a Jewish high school and began making threats against students and a rabbi who performed security at the school. The man made several Holocaust-related provocations at students and faculty and, at one point, began goosestepping and doing a Nazi march. When police arrived at the scene, the defendant was still doing the Nazi march. He was then taken into custody.
He has since been charged with a hate crime and is being held on a $100,000 bond. He must post $10,000 before he can be released from custody. If he fails to post the $10,000, he will remain in jail until his case is decided.
Analyzing the Defense
An attorney for this particular defendant, as unlikeable as he is, would draw attention to the fact that the man did not actually physically touch any of the victims and instead merely attempted to provoke them. His attorney would also draw attention to the fact that there is only one witness to corroborate claims that the defendant made incendiary comments.
This falls quite short, however, of saying that your client did not commit the crime, did not issue the threats, or did not provoke the victim. Attorneys can only say what is true, even defense attorneys. So, if we know that our client was provoking others with racial slurs, we cannot say that our client did not. We can, however, say that there is only one witness. That is true.
While true, it is not entirely convincing because police arrived to observe the man goosestepping in front of the school. So, it is probable his primary aim was to provoke students and faculty using racial trauma.
The man has a sordid history of bizarre criminal complaints. He is currently on probation for making a false complaint to the police. He has committed five misdemeanors in the past year. These include two retail thefts, criminal damage to property, public indecency, and aggravated assault.
The judge reviewing the bond hearing found that the defendant was a significant threat to the individuals at the school that day and others in the community. He appears to be in some kind of dark spiral that is causing an uptick in aberrant and threatening behavior. If his attorney could find a medical or psychiatric reason for the uptick in criminality, then the defendant may be able to convince the court he needs treatment as opposed to punishment. At this point, the threat of punishment is not working. While the defendant may not deserve help, the community may be better served by addressing the man’s behavioral changes (if a pattern can be established) than tossing him in jail.
But when you see a rap sheet that includes a lot of blank space and then numerous (and diverse) criminal infractions, a mental health defense should be explored.
Talk to a Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney Today
David Freidberg represents the rights of those who are charged with serious crimes in Illinois. Call today at (312) 560-7100, and we can begin discussing defense strategy immediately.