Articles Tagged with Chicago criminal attorney

nicolas-barbier-garreau-256433-copy-300x240In 1963, the Supreme Court ruled on a case known as Brady v. Maryland. The criminal case involved a defendant, Brady, who was accused along with another defendant of murdering a third man. Brady told police that he was involved in the murder, but he had no intention of killing the man and his partner had been solely responsible for the murder. The two men were tried separately and both were convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to death.

Brady appealed his conviction on the grounds that the prosecution withheld evidence that the other defendant confessed to being solely responsible for the murder. His case went all the way to the Supreme Court where the justices decided in favor of Brady, saying the conviction should be vacated on the grounds that the prosecution did not turn over exculpatory evidence that would have resulted in a not guilty verdict. 

The legacy of Brady v. Maryland is that it forces prosecutors to turn over any evidence that may help the defense at trial. Does this always happen? Of course, not. More disturbingly, according to one USA Today investigation, many police officers who have been sanctioned for on-the-job problems are still called to testify in cases in which their testimony is relied upon to convict defendants.

aidan-bartos-313782-copy-300x200JPMorgan executives tasked with managing the bank’s precious metal investing are now the target of an extremely aggressive investigation in which some of these executives are being charged under RICO. Federal prosecutors agreed that the move was aggressive and rarely used in banking conspiracy cases, but also noted that the alleged price-fixing and racketeering occurred over eight years. JPMorgan pleaded guilty to price-fixing and the major players, at least the ones who were caught, now face serious criminal charges.

Prosecutors also allege that Michael Nowak, the main player in the federal investigation, ripped off market participants and clients in order to control the prices of gold, platinum, silver, and palladium. Two other traders were charged, as well.

Spoofing

The FBI filed federal charges against a 34-year-old Morton Grove man who they claimed made threats to kill FBI agents over the phone. However, Matthew Berger was acquitted of all five charges of sending threatening communications to a federal officer. 

Berger has an interesting rap sheet. He has been in federal custody since his arraignment in December and will now be transferred to a Cook County facility for allegedly pulling a fire alarm in a police station. 

The ‘Guy is Annoying but Didn’t Commit a Crime’ Defense

sam-mcghee-KieCLNzKoBo-unsplash-copy-300x169John Coli Sr., a former Teamsters union boss, has been charged with extortion. Coli Sr. has an interesting reputation. Known for his brash and uncompromising language, he once told an attorney in a deposition to go “fudge” themselves. For years, controversy surrounded many of his decisions. He was accused of nepotism, cronyism, and having ties to criminal organizations

According to the FBI, Coli was recorded urging a West Side film studio to dump one of its executives after the exec refused to pay him extortion money. Coli used gay slurs to describe the man as a rat and a whistleblower. Interestingly, however, Coli then pleaded guilty to the corruption charge and offered his own testimony in exchange for a lenient sentence. 

Coli was accused of extorting over $300,000 from the aforementioned film studio by threatening labor strikes. Major television shows such as Empire and Chicago Fire are filmed at the studio as well as major films. 

matt-popovich-60437-copy-300x162Video footage showed a 6’6” officer pushing and punching a mentally-ill patient in the face. Yet this officer has had all charges against him dismissed. A department beleaguered by numerous complaints of police brutality and violent criminal activity now faces another scandal in which their reputation hangs in the balance.

Rayshon Gartley was involuntarily committed to Jackson Park Hospital. He was escorted there by police officer Clauzell Gause. Gartley was handcuffed when he was being pushed, and at one point, held down on the bed while punched. 

Gause was initially charged by Cook County prosecutors, but those charges have since been dismissed. Here, we will take a closer look at why.

emiliano-bar-1266993-unsplash-copy-300x199James Gibson, the man who was sentenced to life in prison after being convicted of a double homicide, is finally a free man. After an appellate court tossed a conviction against him, the district attorney’s office dropped the charges. It was unclear if they were going to retry Gibson for the case, but it did not appear likely. Gibson was convicted on a confession made under duress during which he claimed he was tortured over the course of two days into admitting to the slayings. Gibson later recanted the confession and pleaded not guilty at trial. The prosecution leaned heavily on that confession in order to make their case against Gibson.

In addition to the confession, the prosecution had two witnesses that later recanted their testimony. The appellate court vacated the conviction and James Gibson waited to find out what the prosecution would do. Had they wanted, they could have tried Gibson again for the same charge. However, lacking sufficient evidence, they decided to let Gibson go which seems like the right thing to do.

How an Innocent Man Goes to Prison for 28 Years

For the past 28 years, James Gibson has maintained his own innocence. For 28 years he has remained behind bars. This is despite the fact that Gibson ostensibly confessed to the murders of an insurance agent and his friend. Gibson has always said that, over the course of two days, he was beaten by former Chicago police officer Jon Burge and the confession elicited during interrogation was coerced. Burge was accused of torturing confessions out of at least 200 suspects during his 19 years on the force. While the statute of limitations had elapsed on many of Burge’s crimes, he was eventually convicted in 2008 of obstruction of justice and perjury. He was sentenced to four and a half years, but released in 2014 after serving less than three.

As Burge’s crimes became public, Governor George Ryan pardoned four of those who had been convicted of crimes with confessions obtained by torture. Still, there are many behind bars who were convicted on phony confessions. James Gibson is among them. After 28 years, an appellate court threw out his conviction and ordered a new trial. Nonetheless, Gibson will likely remain behind bars until his friends and family raise the $20,000 necessary to release him on bail and will require electronic monitoring for the duration of the trial. 

Gibson Has Always Maintained His Innocence

joanna-kosinska-61432-unsplash-copy-300x200Is it ever worth it to take a plea? Not if you are Robert Kraft, the owner of the Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots. The prosecution offered Kraft a sweetheart deal on two misdemeanor solicitation charges. If Kraft agreed to state that “he would have been proven guilty had the case gone to trial” then the prosecution would drop all the charges. But Kraft and his attorney, smelling blood in the water, wants to force the prosecution to actually prove their case in court or dismiss the charges outright. Why?

Everyone knows that Kraft did exactly what he is being accused of, but the problem is not that he did it, it is how the prosecution came by the evidence that he did it. Essentially, police officers have Robert Kraft on video receiving sexual favors from working girls at the Orchids of Asia Day Spa. So, why is he not dead to rights, and why is the prosecution extending him such a great deal?

In order to understand that, we have to delve a little deeper into how they came by that information.

jordan-andrews-401745-copy-300x200The Chicago Tribune recently published a report on the new Illinois laws that went into effect starting January 1, 2019. In all, more than 250 pieces of legislation are now on the books, ranging from gun control to sexual harassment to synthetic marijuana. One particular law will affect anyone with a driver’s license and a smartphone: There are now stricter penalties for anyone caught texting while driving, though many of the same prohibitions remain the same. An Illinois criminal defense attorney can explain how the new sanctions may affect your rights if you are cited for texting while driving, but an overview of the law may help you avoid a ticket.

Illinois Current Prohibition on Cell Phone Use While Driving

Before getting to how the new law changes the penalties for texting while driving, it is important to understand what types of conduct are unlawful. Currently, any driver under the age of 18 years is barred from any cell phone use while behind the wheel. Drivers 19 and older can use a phone while driving, but only via voice-activated and hands-free functions.

drew-patrick-miller-4560-unsplash-copy-300x111In the state of Illinois, it is illegal to exchange a sex act for anything that has value. The charges brought against the defendants in prostitution cases are determined by their role as promoter, seller, or buyer.

For example, on November 1st, a man from Bellwood was accused of forcing a woman into prostitution in 2016 and 2017.

The crime of prostitution is only applicable to a seller who agrees to perform or knowingly offers sex acts for anything of value, which is cash in most cases. For the buyer, the criminal charges of solicitation and meaningfully patronizing a prostitute are applied.