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Articles Tagged with Chicago criminal attorney

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

The third Chicago police officer accused of excessive force over the past week has now been charged with a crime related to his conduct against a teenager. Authorities are accusing the officer of intentionally using his flashlight in an inappropriate manner and jamming it between the teen’s buttocks while he was making an arrest. 

The officer, who is a lieutenant on the force, has been charged with aggravated battery and official misconduct, both of which are felonies. According to investigators, the teen was handcuffed at the time that he was sexually assaulted. After the incident, the officer told him, “That’s what you get for carjacking.” 

The entire incident was caught on a bodycam. The teenager was fully clothed at the time of the incident, but it has raised enough red flags that the lieutenant has surrendered his badge and will now have to defend himself in criminal court. Unfortunately, there is no possible reason that you can give that would make it okay to sexually assault a teenager. 

A Des Plaines police officer who accidentally shot a teenager while pursuing a bank robber will not face charges for the incident, State’s Attorney Kim Foxx recently announced. The investigation led to the conclusion that the officer was justified in using deadly force against the bank robber. Unfortunately, it was not the bank robber he shot. The investigation concluded that the officer acted reasonably.

The Decision

The decision not to pursue charges against the officer was based on a legal concept known as mens rea or “guilty mind.” Figuratively, it refers to evil intent and is a requirement for many types of crimes. Two crimes that certainly require mens rea to be established for a conviction are first- and second-degree murder. The decision not to charge the officer boiled down to whether or not the decision to fire the weapon at the bank robber was justified. The investigation concluded that it was reasonable to discharge the weapon in that situation.

If you remember the hit television show The Shield, it followed the efforts of Vic Mackey and his “strike team” which was used exclusively for highly dangerous raids and anti-gang and drug efforts. Mackey ran the streets like a crime lord, however, making deals with some gangs while squeezing out others. In the process, he broke just about every law on the books, killed several people, and eventually admitted to everything in a plea bargain.

Real-life Victor Mackeys do exist and one of them, Sgt. Ronald Watts operated right here in Chicago. Watts is alleged to have extorted drug dealers, stolen drug cash, and coerced confessions from suspects using torture tactics. In 2012, Watts and another officer were convicted of federal theft of public services and extortion in a housing project. 

Since Watts has been in prison, the States Attorney’s office has agreed to the exonerations of 87 criminal defendants who were facing time on Watts-related allegations. Nonetheless, there are hundreds more who claim that they were convicted on coerced confessions, planted evidence, and more.

Chicago Alderman Carrie Austin and her chief of staff are facing federal criminal charges alleging bribery. According to the charges, Austin brokered a deal for a multi-unit real estate development contract. Federal authorities believe that the developer offered Austin home improvements to grease her wheels. Her chief of staff was also offered home improvements. Between them, they acquired new kitchen cabinets, granite countertops, bathroom tiling, new sump pumps, and a brand new HVAC system.

The federal government looks unkindly on businesses offering free services to elected officials, especially when that business went on to win a major contract that was granted with the help of the gift receiver. Austin is the third Chicago alderman to face indictment and the second charged this year. 

On what basis are these charges filed?

Crystal Lundberg told a federal judge that getting charged with wire fraud had changed her life for the better. She said that she found legitimate employment and was growing as a person. But federal authorities have charged Lundberg in another scheme to defraud. This time, the victim was the federal government that disbursed $150,000 in loans to Lundberg’s business to keep her payroll going. 

Federal prosecutors now say Lundberg took the loans that were earmarked for COVID relief and spent the money on vacations, legal bills, and other personal expenditures while simultaneously delaying her surrender date to the Bureau of Prisons.

Other problems for Lundberg include Facebook posts she made indicating that her plan was to spend the federal relief money until the feds came and arrested her. Obviously, federal authorities believe that Lundberg wanted one last hurrah before serving her prison sentence. 

Two sisters stabbed a security guard 27 times after being asked to wear a mask and use hand sanitizer. The older sister, 21-year-old Jessica Hill, stabbed the 6’5”, 270-pound security guard, while her younger sister, 18-year-old Jayla Hill, held him by his hair. In denying bail, the judge noted that “the complete randomness of the attack” was terrifying. 

What Happened?

This whole thing is a little weird, so let’s see if we can unpack it. 

The latest in police violence occurred just outside of Chicago when a white officer shot a Black security guard outside of a bar. Prosecutors announced that there would be no charges filed against officer Ian Covey. The Cook County state attorney’s office said that the “totality of evidence” was “not enough” to press criminal charges against the officer. 

In apparent anticipation of the potential backlash, State Attorney Kim Foxx told the press that they had interviewed over 100 witnesses and this evidence was examined by her office and the public integrity task force that helps take down bad cops. 

What Happened?

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