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Articles Tagged with Chicago criminal defense attorney

A Bloomington man was awarded a stiff 13-year prison sentence after he drove his motorcycle into protesters. One woman suffered abdominal injuries while another man sustained a swollen arm. The defendant, Marshall Blanchard, was given seven years for failing to give information following a traffic accident, and another six years on the hate crime charge. The sentences will run concurrently, however, meaning he will only have to serve, at most, seven years. He will also be given credit for time served. Several charges were dismissed as a part of the plea bargain, which on its face, makes little sense. Below, we will discuss why.

Failing to Give Information After an Accident

Failing to give information after an accident is generally charged as a class-A misdemeanor with a maximum sentence of one year in jail. He was given six years, probably due to his negotiated plea to run concurrently (at the same time) with a more severe hate crime charge. The maximum penalty for the most serious types of hate crimes is seven years.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office recently issued an update on its PSN program (Project Safe Neighborhoods). PSN is, according to the government, an evidence-based program that has been proven effective against violent crime. 

PSN is a collection of strategies that brings together state, local, and federal law enforcement to target the worst criminals and violent crime. While this language is fairly opaque, the undertone is gangs. The initiative seeks to hold organized crime accountable for the numerous deaths it causes each year. 

While authorities say that there has been progress, they also admit that the “number of violent crimes in Chicago remains stubbornly high.” Chicago remains a major target for federal authorities whose focus remains on weapons trafficking and drug trafficking. Several federal agencies are partnering with Cook County law enforcement to help better bring violent criminals to justice.

The officer is okay. He was shot in the vest. The woman who fired the bullets, however, was critically injured in the exchange of gunfire. She was charged with attempted murder, weapons crimes, and aggravated battery. On Monday, she accepted a plea for aggravated battery and was sentenced to 10 years in prison. Good behavior credits plus time served mean that she could be out in as little as four years. Had the defendant been convicted of attempted murder, she would have faced a minimum sentence of 26 years. 

What Happened?

Two plainclothes officers witnessed the defendant during a suspected drug deal. One officer called the defendant over for questioning. She immediately ran. The officer gave chase. When he was about to catch up with her, she turned around and shot him. The bullet penetrated a flashlight on his vest and then also penetrated the vest leaving a scar on his body near his heart. The officers returned fire but critically wounded the defendant who survived her injuries to stand trial. She was expected to plead innocent and then defend herself at trial, but a last-minute plea deal subverted the effort.

Chicago prosecutors have dropped charges against Charles Thomas after he successfully completed a court diversion program. Police accused Thomas of aggravated assault of a police officer and criminal damage to property. The campus police officer who apprehended Thomas also shot him. Thomas, a fourth-year political science major, was allegedly smashing car windows and damaging apartment windows.

Bodycam footage shows Thomas approaching the officer with a crowbar. The officers identified Thomas as a mental health case. Thomas’s mother says that he has never had any symptoms of mental illness, but college age is when a number of disorders such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder begin to emerge. His mother said his family had a history of bipolar disorder.

The student was shot, albeit non-fatally, and likely required to get mental health counseling for his problems. The charges against him were dropped in lieu of the pretrial diversion program. It is unclear if he had to make restitution to the university or the individuals whose property he damaged as part of the pleading.

Authorities say that 22-year-old Kiar Evans shot into one vehicle, then carjacked another all over the course of a single week. The carjacking charge is punishable by up to a 15-year sentence. He is being held without bond after his initial appearance. 

Evans was caught after someone phoned in a reckless driver. A police helicopter was able to catch up with Evans and follow his stolen vehicle off of the Eisenhower Expressway. After Evans exited the vehicle, he walked up to another vehicle, knocked on the window, and attempted to pull open the door, but the door was locked and the window was up. Evans then pulled a handgun with an extended magazine and fired two shots into the passenger-side window. The driver sped off before Evans could hijack the vehicle.

Evans then approached another vehicle with his gun out and ordered the driver to exit the car. The driver complied, and Evans had another vehicle. Meanwhile, the police helicopter stayed on Evans before the stolen vehicle was found in a multi-vehicle crash about two miles from the scene of the carjacking. Evans was arrested there.

A police officer was cleared during a bench trial of all wrongdoing after the daughter of a former girlfriend accused him of inappropriately touching her. A Cook County judge found the officer not guilty. After the charges surfaced, the officer was “de-deputized” and placed on administrative leave without pay. A case to have the officer fired is still pending. 

What is a Bench Trial?

A bench trial is a trial that is heard by a professional jurist as opposed to a jury of your peers. Most criminal defendants choose to avoid bench trials preferring to instead roll the dice with the public. However, police officers tend to choose bench trials, especially nowadays, when public sentiment toward police is at an all-time low. Choosing to have your case heard by a judge is an option when you think a professional jurist would be more likely to rule in your favor than a jury of your peers.

File this one under Crime in the 21st Century. A teen live-streamed himself smoking pot with a gun in his lap after eluding police during a traffic stop. Antonio Butler has been charged with five counts of aggravated vehicular hijacking, armed robbery with a firearm, possession of a stolen vehicle, and more. Prosecutors also hinted that the crime spree was still under investigation, and that the teen may face additional charges. Since Butler is 18 years of age, he will be tried as an adult. 

The Spree

The Audi was stolen on March 25. It was then reported in an armed robbery, but Butler was able to get away. Later that day, the Audi was reported in two gas station robberies, a carjacking, and another armed robbery. Police eventually caught up with the vehicle and found Butler asleep inside. They tapped on the window to wake him up and then broke through the window to get him out. Butler hit the gas and drove the Audi into police vehicles, before successfully fleeing the scene. He then posted a video to Instagram showing him smoking marijuana with a gun in his lap while bragging about losing the police.

A man who caused the death of another man during a robbery attempt will not face charges after Cook County determined that they acted in self-defense. The man’s name has not been released since the County is not pursuing charges. The incident occurred during last summer’s civil unrest.

According to the police report, 31-year-old Lorenzo Thomas approached an unidentified man with another man in a robbery attempt. The man grabbed a metal bar and struck Thomas in the abdomen. The man was brought to the hospital but was released several days later. He was readmitted three days later. He died as an apparent result of those injuries. The Cook County medical examiner ruled that the man’s death was a homicide caused by assault. However, the assaulter was deemed to have acted in self-defense. Thus, he will not face charges related to the homicide. 

Why Was the Man Not Charged?

An 18-year-old who ordered a ride from Lyft is now facing carjacking charges after police say he hailed the ride with the sole intention of stealing the car. Cornelius Carr has been charged with vehicular hijacking and armed robbery

According to the driver, he was on his way to pick up a fare when two teens approached his vehicle wearing masks and surgical gloves. They got into the back seat, and one of the teens demanded the driver’s keys and money. The driver complied, and the two teens drove off with the stolen car. The vehicle was recovered later with the plates removed. Police were able to track the account used to hail the Lyft driver back to Cornelius Carr. The Lyft driver then identified him in a lineup, according to police. The police did not say how this was accomplished when the teens were wearing masks.

The Case Against Carr

Two Chicago teens have been charged with carjacking and threatening to shoot the woman whose vehicle they stole. The incident occurred on the Southwest side of Chicago. The teens are accused of pulling a 58-year-old woman from her vehicle, threatening to shoot her, and then driving away with her car. Police were able to track down the vehicle less than two hours later. They arrested one of the teens at that time. 

While both assailants are under the age of 18, the older of the two, a 17-year-old, is facing charges for vehicular hijacking and aggravated robbery. The 15-year-old is facing one count of criminal trespass to a vehicle. Both teens will make their first appearance in juvenile court, but the 17-year-old is likely to be charged as an adult for violently depriving someone else of their property.

What is Vehicular Hijacking?

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