Articles Tagged with Chicago criminal defense attorney

fabio-bracht-e3oE-l-rtpA-unsplash-copy-300x225In 2018, Alex Cordell Hughs was charged with shooting a victim in a Hobart Walmart. The incident began when Hughs and his girlfriend, Shaqueta Wright, were trying to put their cart back. The victim’s car veered into them prompting some kind of skirmish during which the victim was shot three times, allegedly by Hughs. 

After being charged, Wright pled the Fifth and was given “use immunity” by prosecutors. Afterward, Wright provided the police with some information during a deposition which prosecutors requested be read into the record. Use immunity prevents a defendant’s testimony from being entered against them in a trial. 

Wright’s attorney is also representing Hughs in the case against a false reporting charge.  Naturally, Hugh’s defense attorney (who is also representing Wright) objected to the request on the grounds that the prosecution must give her use immunity while she is on the stand as well, the testimony might be able to open her up to other charges.

jay-wennington-N_Y88TWmGwA-unsplash-copy-300x200Attila Gyulai, the owner of a fine dining establishment in the West Loop, has pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud. Gyulai had returned to Chicago to face four counts of fraud and is scheduled to be sentenced on February 25th of 2020. He and his wife owned and operated Embreya restaurant, a high-end Asian establishment. The restaurant opened in 2012 and received excellent reviews, but shut down only four years later. 

Examining the Plea Agreement

Gyulai’s plea agreement is interesting. Essentially, Gyulai admitted guilt to one allegation of wire fraud but also stated that he did not agree with all the details of the other allegations. The plea agreement essentially states that between 2014 and 2016, Gyulai defrauded minor shareholders in his restaurant and lied about how money generated by the restaurant was used. As part of the scheme, there was a nearly $15,000 money transfer out of the restaurant’s coffers.

david-von-diemar-745969-unsplash-copy-200x300Lowell Houser calmly called the police, identified himself as an off-duty Chicago police officer, and told the dispatcher that he had to shoot the man who just came after him. The man was Jose Nieves, a neighbor who was not found with a weapon, and the two were known to have issues with one another in the past. When prosecutors caught wind of that, they charged Houser with first-degree murder.

Now, another disgraced Chicago police officer will stand trial for abusing the public trust and tarnishing the badge. If convicted, Houser could face life in prison without parole. 

Houser will claim that he was acting in self-defense and that the shooting was justified. He claims that Nieves threatened to shoot him and reached for his waistband. 

matt-popovich-60437-copy-300x162Based on the strength of testimony from other Chicago cops and a Chicago judge, police officers Xavier Elizondo and David Salgado were recently found guilty of stealing cash and drugs and otherwise profiting on the drug trade they were supposed to be eliminating. The federal trial made national headlines because it detailed the type of corruption that goes on every day in Chicago. These police were accused and then convicted of lying on search warrants, using money and drugs from seizures to pay off informants who would provide anonymous information to judges who would then authorize illegal searches.

If you are concerned that this is a civil rights violation, then you are thinking about this the right way. So-called John Doe search warrants that have anonymous informants tattling on suspects were at the heart of the problem these two Chicago police officers caused. Nonetheless, these search warrants will continue to be used long after this trial has concluded.

Officers Remain Free

sam-poullain-435864-unsplash-copy-300x169A 9-year-old stands accused of starting a fire that killed five people, including three other children. He has been charged with five counts of first-degree murder, two counts of arson, and one count of aggravated arson. Cases like this are rare. The youngest child ever to be sentenced to life in prison was Lionel Tate, when he was 13. This child, whose name has been withheld by authorities will be among the youngest ever to stand trial for murder.

More confusing still is that fact that the majority of children who were tried as adults did not commit some other crime that resulted in a death, but murdered someone else with a direct weapon. This child is accused of starting a fire that led to five deaths.

Prosecutors say that they have enough evidence to prove that the child started the fire intentionally and knew that the fire could result in the deaths or injury of other people. However, child psychologists argue that the 9-year-old brain has not fully developed enough to understand the consequences of those actions.

louis-reed-747388-unsplash-copy-300x200A man entered a 43-year-old woman’s apartment through a back door that she had left open to get some air and sexually assaulted her. A year passed with no suspects. Now, DNA links Christopher Nelson to the crime. He has been denied bail.

Decades of CSI-style TV shows have led the American public to believe that DNA evidence is unimpeachable. Indeed, it provides law enforcement with its best means of tracking individuals to certain crimes. DNA links Nelson to the crime and the woman he assaulted also picked him out of a lineup.

Understanding DNA Evidence in Rape Cases

joris-v-541657-unsplash-copy-300x200Javier Garcia, the 22-year-old man who drove an SUV into the Woodfield Mall in Schaumburg, has been charged with terrorism. Illinois State Law defines terrorism as any act that causes more than $100,000 worth of damage to a building with five or more businesses inside of it. Unluckily for Garcia, malls apply. He faces a second count of criminal property damage.

Investigators say that this was a planned attack and that Garcia had searched for the Woodfield Mall, including aerial shots of the mall. He seemed particularly interested in Sears for some reason, but no motive for the act has yet been unearthed. 

Those who were there on the scene when Garcia drove his SUV through the mall recall the vehicle barrelling through kiosks and shoppers running panicked for their lives. Garcia was caught on video browsing in Sears, then he left the building and drove his vehicle into the store. Police said that Garcia narrowly missed a children’s train that had children riding on it. While no one was hit by the car itself, three people had to be taken to the hospital with minor injuries.

brandon-mowinkel-211936-unsplash-copy-300x200One of the most carefully watched criminal trials in recent memory hit a snag when defense attorneys claimed that the prosecution withheld evidence in the Tyshawn Lee murder trial. Two men are charged with murdering the 9-year-old boy in a gang-related killing. The two are accused of targeting the boy because they believed his father had been involved in an attack targeting one of the defendant’s family members.

What Did the Prosecution do?

Essentially, the prosecution failed to provide evidence that police had stopped two young men that fled the scene of a music video being shot. The gun that killed Tyshawn Lee was later recovered from that incident. During the trial, police suddenly remembered that they had made this stop and informed prosecutors. Prosecutors handed this information over to the defense while the trial was underway, and the defense was rightfully upset to be learning about it well into the trial.

quentin-kemmel-445082-copy-300x20025-year-old Dwight Doty told a Chicago judge that since the trial involved him and he knew what was going on better than anyone else, he should be allowed to represent himself at trial. The judge denied his request. Doty is accused of killing a 9-year-old boy execution-style. 

The judge told Doty that he believed his pro se defense motion was just a bid for delay. When a defendant petitions the court to represent themselves, the judge must sign off on the motion before allowing it to proceed. Famous individuals who represented themselves unsuccessfully include Colin Ferguson and Ted Bundy. In both cases, you had defendants with enough presumed intelligence to carry on the task of questioning witnesses. Both proved to be monumental disasters, however.

A judge in a criminal trial has a vested interest in ensuring that the proceedings are carried out fairly. In this case, the judge grilled Doty on his education and asked him why he thought he was qualified to try a case against two skilled defendants. Doty did not seem to have a good answer to that question, but was that good enough for the judge to deny his motion?

fabian-grohs-396734-copy-300x240One of the problems with social media, anonymous interactions, and our current political climate is that people who are mere profiles are “less real” than they are when you are facing them in person. For some reason, people feel emboldened to make threats against institutions that they do not like online much more frequently than they would in person. 

Recently, a 19-year-old man was charged with threatening to slaughter doctors, patients, and visitors of a Chicago abortion clinic. The threats were made over a social media site known as iFunny where users can share humorous or amusing memes with one another. Of course, afterward, Farhan Sheikh claimed the entire thing was a joke. But making a hoax threat is still illegal.  

However, Sheikh basically threatened to slaughter anyone he saw at an abortion clinic that was about four miles away from his house and then warned FBI agents that his account was not satire and that they should take his threats seriously. Obviously, not very funny.