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Articles Tagged with Chicago criminal defense attorney

marco-chilese-2sMbKyQvom4-unsplash-copy-200x300R. Kelly has been denied a request to seek release from jail during the coronavirus outbreak. The disgraced singer’s attorneys filed a request for bond with the U.S. District Court in Chicago. Attorneys for Kelly claimed that because of his advanced age (53) he was at high risk of contracting and suffering severe symptoms of the coronavirus. Kelly’s attorneys also stated that hand sanitizer and soap are difficult to find at the present moment and that inmates are kept in small cells and are not practicing social distancing.

Nonetheless, the court rejected Kelly’s request and the embattled pop star is not elderly enough to be considered in the high-risk group. Kelly had also undergone a recent surgery for a hernia, but the court ruled that it did not place him in a substantially higher risk group than others. Lastly, federal authorities reported that the prison has enough soap and hand sanitizer for everyone. The final nail in the coffin was that there were no reports of the virus among inmates.

Prosecutors Cite Kelly as a Flight Risk

tim-graf-202490-copy-300x200A Chicago jury has convicted Shomari Legghette of the first-degree murder of Chicago police officer Paul Bauer. Legghette attempted to say that the shooting was in self-defense, but the jury listened to evidence that Bauer had pursued Legghette after other officers called in suspicious activity around the Thompson Center. Bauer was in uniform at the time of the shooting but was wearing a jacket over his uniform, bolstering the defense’s argument that Legghette had no reason to believe that Bauer was a police officer. 

Bauer pursued Legghette on foot and a fight broke out. The two ended up tumbling down the stairs. The prosecution asked jurors to focus on the 25 seconds between when the fall happened and the sound of gunfire. Much of the incident was caught on video. Prosecutors said that Legghette should have figured the situation out when he saw Bauer with handcuffs and noticed his police radio on full volume. 

Legghette Fails to Testify

joshua-coleman-ZVkDLrXGMdw-unsplash-copy-300x208Federal agents have seized 100 electronic devices after executing a search warrant of R. Kelly’s property. The seizure has resulted in a postponement of R. Kelly’s trial while investigators and prosecutors determine whether or not there is any new information that can potentially be used to charge Kelly with more crimes. 

The information came out during a routine arraignment during which Kelly was being charged with abusing a minor victim over the course of four years beginning in 1997. 

The trial had been set for April 27 but is now likely to be postponed while investigators determine whether or not there is anything actionable on the iPads, cell phones, and other electronic devices found in the raid. 

rawpixel-1055781-unsplash-1-300x201The former Empire star who allegedly got himself beat up to provoke racial tensions could still face the same charges again. Typically, double jeopardy would prevent such a trial from ever occurring, but a little-known precedent established right here in Cook County may allow prosecutors to file charges again after charges against Smollett were dropped by lead prosecutor Kim Foxx.

Prosecutors will use the long-decided case of mafia enforcer Harry “The Hook” Aleman as precedent for bringing new charges against Smollett. In Aleman’s case, Cook County judge Michael Toomin ruled that because the judge in the original case had been bribed, the failed conviction and consequent acquittal did not count and allowed Aleman to be charged again with the same crimes

Toomin is the same judge who will hear prosecution arguments as to why Smollett should be tried again. The argument appears to be that Foxx should have recused herself from the case and since she did not, the entire episode was invalid from start to finish.

mihai-surdu-DeI2BMIMDFA-unsplash-copy-300x200Both sides finished their closing arguments and the jury began deliberating on the fate of Harvey Weinstein, the once-powerful movie producer who has been implicated in hundreds of accusations of predatory sexual abuse. The judge delivered instructions to jurors to “use their common sense” which is generally good for prosecutors and bad for defendants, as common sense has a way of siding with authority in these matters. However, in this case, the judge’s directives may have echoed the closing arguments of Weinstein’s lawyer Donna Rotunno, who specializes in sexual assault criminal defense.

Nonetheless, jurors sent a note asking for the legal definition of consent and forcible compulsion and questioned why Weinstein was not charged in connection with the alleged rape of actress Annabella Sciorra.

Further instructions stipulated that jurors who found Weinstein not guilty of one count must find him not guilty of other counts, as well. The judge defined forcible sexual intercourse and predatory sexual assault, among other terms, for the jurors.

sawyer-bengtson-279792-copy-200x300Critics can be difficult for fledgling artists to take, but most criticism is constructive and nonviolent. This was not the case for a Chicago busker who ran into the wrong woman at the wrong time. 38-year-old Barbara Johnson stabbed 28-year-old street performer, Michael Malinowski, at the Jackson El Stop because she claimed that his music was “giving her a headache.”

Malinowski, who is better known as Machete Mike, had his guitar plugged into an amplifier. Johnson allegedly unplugged the guitar from the amplifier and threw it onto the tracks before stabbing Malinowski. Prosecutors allege that she also attempted to push Malinowski onto the tracks, but failed to do so. It was then that she settled for his guitar and took out a knife and stabbed him.

Johnson was arrested at the scene and has been charged with aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, aggravated battery in a public place, and criminal damage to property.

david-von-diemar-745969-unsplash-copy-200x300A former Chicago police officer, Lowell Houser, was given a 10-year sentence for second-degree murder just recently. Houser has already spent three years under house arrest with an ankle monitor and he will have that time credited toward his sentence. Since those convicted of second-degree murder are only required to serve half of their sentence, Houser will only be required to serve two more years after a jury found him guilty in the slaying of Jose Nieves. 

Prosecutors wanted to charge Houser with first-degree murder, but a judge nixed the idea when he ruled that Houser truly believed that he was under a direct threat when he fired the gun. The same judge, however, ruled that the shooting was not justified regardless of Houser’s subjective belief that he was in danger. 

The Sentencing Phase

ross-parmly-rf6ywHVkrlY-unsplash-copy-300x199Rufus Carson chose to reject a plea deal that would have lifted the burden of a trial for his victim, a Polish teenager who must now return to the U.S. to testify against him. Carson faces felony charges of aggravated criminal sexual assault, aggravated kidnapping, and attempted first-degree murder. Carson rejected a plea that offered him a 30-year prison sentence. As it stands, he may face life imprisonment for the litany of crimes he committed against this one victim. He will go to trial in March.

The victim and her family had hoped that Carson would take the plea deal because this would have prevented her from having to come back to the place where she was assaulted and face the man accused of assaulting her. It is more than likely that the prosecution will ask her details concerning the assault, forcing her to relive the event.

Carson Stalls for Time

maique-madeira-256088-copy-300x200Chicago PD will begin using Clearview, a controversial facial recognition software used by the FBI to identify suspects. The controversy surrounding the software is similar to the controversy surrounding law enforcement in general. In other words, it is racist. It also involves another well-established controversy: It is a violation of privacy.

You see, the FBI and law enforcement have access to a database of three billion photos lifted from sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media megaliths. 

How Does it Work?

kristina-flour-185592-copy-300x192A self-proclaimed madam is on trial for prostitution charges and may be in more trouble still after posting an ad online at sexyjobs.com. The ad promised an extraordinary opportunity to work at a Chicago-based “members only” club. In the ad, she describes the “Premier Playhouse” as a kink-friendly place that has been providing “legal fun” for “over ten years.” Now, federal prosecutors want her jailed while she is awaiting trial on charges that she set up a bawdy house right here in Chicago.

No-fun prosecutors allege that 31-year-old Jessica Nesbitt (aka: Madame Priscilla Belle) set up a house of prostitution, conspired to commit prostitution, and illegally structured bank withdrawals to evade reporting requirements. 

Madame Priscilla has pleaded not guilty to all charges and has since been released on a $250,000 bond. As part of the bond release, she was restricted from doing any business through her company, Kink Extraordinaire. Nor is she allowed to have any contact with her former employees. Prosecutors have asked the federal judge to revoke Madame Priscilla’s bond.