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Articles Tagged with Chicago criminal attorney

While the media may have you believing that ending cash bail means allowing anyone charged with a crime to go free, the matter is not so simple or so haphazardly employed.

Imagine if you are charged with a crime you did not commit based on a witness misidentifying you. You don’t think it can happen to you? Well, it can. Now, if you have money, you just pay your way out of jail and wait for the charges to be dropped because the case is not strong enough. But what if you do not have the money to pay for the bail? You then have a choice. You can either plead guilty to the crime to get the matter settled and be on about your life, or you can fight the charges, stay in jail, and hope the system works the way it is supposed to. Since you have little faith in that happening for you, you end up taking a plea deal to get out of jail. In other words, the poor can be leveraged into plea deals simply to avoid being stuck in jail. 

Is that fair? Of course, not. While some folks want to make the rules fairer, others are convinced that society would fall apart if we did not leverage the poor into false confessions based on the deprivation of their freedom. 

Billionaires and Republican donors are out in full force raising the ire of their constituencies against San Francisco’s elected District Attorney. San Francisco is miles away from Chicago in terms of gun violence, population size, and murders per year, but voters are ready to pull the plug on their District Attorney. Why are progressive prosecutors having such a difficult time even in liberal cities like San Francisco?

For decades, the Americans have been treated to only one position on crime: You are either “tough on crime” or you are not. If you are “tough on crime” then you are one of the good guys. If you are not, then you are aiding and abetting criminals. It is all very simple and appeals to the sort of black and white thinking that people employ when they are fed up with a situation. Do San Francisco residents have due cause to be fed up with their elected prosecutor?

Black and White

The police have begun to move on a murder that occurred in 1998 after DNA evidence linked two men to the crime scene. The one man agreed to testify against the other and now, the defense team representing the other man has moved to gain access to the witness and co-conspirator’s medical history. The idea is to suggest that the defendant lacked the ability to remember that he committed a murder in 1998 or any of the details concerning that murder. In other words, they want to suggest that the individual is so unreliable, their testimony should not be admissible in court.

The court has agreed to give the defense access to the witness’s medical records. From this, they will be able to build a defense that the witness is either simply saying what the police want to hear in exchange for testimony against the other defendant and his ability to recall details from such a long time ago is compromised by psychiatric illness and intervention.

Is This Tactic Likely to be Successful?

Larry Ray is going to prison, perhaps for life, after a New York jury convicted him on 15 counts all related to the exploitation and extortion of his daughter’s friends. Ray managed to convince his daughter to allow him to move into the dorms shortly after he was released from prison on a securities fraud conviction. 

Ray managed to convince one victim that she had poisoned him and owed him reparations. The woman paid between $10,000 and $50,000 per week to make amends, at one point even performing sex work to make payments. Another woman revealed that her life was turned upside down when she met Ray. She was on track to become a medical doctor when she became romantically involved with him. He would often ask her to have sex with other men while he videotaped it. 

The entire scheme appears to have hinged on Ray using a Svengali-like ability to manipulate those around him. Ray was able to convince several students that they had poisoned him after he agreed to let them stay at his apartment. To make amends, they did as Ray asked, including giving him a lot of money, performing yard work, and more.

A Chicago area man is facing multiple felonies in Michigan after he showed up at a rural parochial school for unknown reasons. Police were called to the school, but the man had already left. He was found later at a local McDonald’s. Police confronted the man and asked for identification. The man said his ID was in his vehicle, but when he got back inside, he drove his car directly into the police SUV and drove off. Eventually, the vehicle skidded off the road and the driver abandoned it. The suspect took off on foot where he was eventually apprehended. He is now facing multiple felonies related to assault with a vehicle on an officer. He is facing a separate charge of driving with an altered or forged driver’s license.

No one, however, knows why the man was in rural Michigan at the time. The man has no ties to the local community and appears to be entirely out of sorts with his environment. Nonetheless, he did use a motor vehicle to strike a police vehicle with a police officer inside it. So, despite the fact that he may be fighting off an undiagnosed mental illness, he will face consequences for those actions.

What are his chances of pursuing an insanity defense?

Kyle Rittenhouse has been eating up the headlines, but a recent verdict in favor of the prosecution may salve any lingering misgivings about his acquittal. Three men have been charged with the murder of Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia. The men approached Arbery on the street believing that he was loitering around a home that was under construction so that he could find something to steal. The men detained Arbery under a centuries-old citizen’s arrest law that has since been repealed after furor over the Arbery case.

Travis McMichael was convicted of malice murder, which is similar to first-degree murder in Illinois. It was the strongest conviction the prosecution was able to attain. McMichael’s son was charged with felony murder as was a third man who broke the case wide open by publishing a video of the murder.

But the case almost did not make it to trial. Now, the first prosecutor who was presented with the case is facing charges of prosecutorial misconduct for her role in preventing the case from going to trial. The state’s attorney general has charged the prosecutor with prosecutorial misconduct and corruption. She recused herself from the case when it became known that she and the McMichaels knew one another. She is accused of attempting to influence the prosecution of the case in favor of the defendants.

One thing many folks are not aware of is that double jeopardy, the legal concept by which an individual can only be tried once for the same crime, does not apply across jurisdictions. While it is exceedingly rare for the federal government to pursue a prosecution that was already lost at the state level, it is much more likely in cases when the defendant is acquitted. It is also more likely in cases where the federal government has a valid reason to pursue the charges under federal law, and the cases they do pursue after failed state prosecutions tend to be high-profile high-stakes cases like Rittenhouse’s trial.

The jury was made aware by the judge that if they convicted Rittenhouse on any of the homicide charges, it would reduce the likelihood of a second trial filed by the federal government. On the other hand, it increased the possibility that Rittenhouse would be convicted in this trial. In other words, the jurors were instructed as to the consequences of their decision. 

What Federal Charges Could Rittenhouse Face?

Chicago prosecutors have apparently changed policy and are now no longer prosecuting cases in which one individual is killed by another in a mutual combat situation. This not only applies to fistfights, apparently, but also gunfights. Now, the mayor has weighed in and is accusing the State Attorney’s office of potentially causing Chicago to become the wild west. However, it is unclear that any of the state’s attempts to maintain control of the city have resulted in anything else but failure. 

The latest incident comes after one man was killed in an exchange of bullets that was related to gang violence. Prosecutors dismissed charges against all of the individuals involved in the shooting citing “mutual combat” as the reason for dismissing the charges. 

Could Murder Start Looking More Like Battery?

A Chicago woman is facing federal fraud charges after posing as the relative of young gun violence victims. In one case, she posed as the relative of a 7-year-old boy who was fatally shot in 2015. The 50-year-old woman posed as the boy’s aunt when she attempted to acquire the boy’s death certificate in 2019 and then filed a fraudulent tax return in the dead boy’s name. 

The same defendant was given an 11-year sentence on similar charges of aggravated identity theft and wire fraud. The woman was on supervised release when she was arrested for this crime, according to prosecutors.

Prosecutors described the woman as a career con-artist who used her considerable innate abilities to steal from others as opposed to doing something useful to society. The fraud was discovered by an employee at Cook County Vital Records after he noticed that the same woman put in a request for four death certificates on the same day. The woman claimed to be the sister of each of the deceased, but each deceased individual had a different name. A check of the records showed that the woman had placed requests for 37 death certificates all in 2019 alone. Each of the individuals whose birth certificates she requested were recent homicide victims—mostly children. She was able to recover earned income and child tax credits on the deceased children, earning a passive income from her Southside home. The woman was also able to recover several COVID stimulus checks while those were still being issued. 

Several former defendants who were convicted on charges related to a single officer are now plaintiffs in lawsuits against the city claiming that they were framed. If you think it is hard to prove a defendant did something wrong, then you should consider how difficult it is to prove that a police officer framed a defendant. In this case, four men settled lawsuits for sums between $17 million and $21 million against the City of Chicago for false convictions, cooked evidence, and losing years of their lives to false accusations of a single police officer.

There are still eleven lawsuits pending against the same officer, all of which name the city and not the officer. Ultimately, the City of Chicago and its taxpayers will be responsible for making the victims whole. With 11 pending cases, all settling for $20 million or more apiece, the City of Chicago is looking at a $300 million budget shortfall all related to the activities of one police officer.

Hundreds of “confessions” tossed

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