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Articles Tagged with Chicago criminal defense attorney

The law has never been exactly funny. Yet today, it is becoming funnier and funnier. Now that live-streaming is being used in courts to deal with the pandemic, several extremely funny things have happened. It is important to understand, however, that these things are not funny for any of the individuals involved.

Among the funniest things to happen in the era of courtroom live streaming, a couple was caught apparently having sex during a hearing, a federal informant divulged that he was an informant over YouTube, and now a judge made inappropriate comments concerning defense counsel after a hearing. 

In the last case, the judge did not realize that his conversation with two district attorneys and a public defender was still being broadcast over YouTube. During this banter, he made comments such as, “Can you imagine waking up next to her every morning?” The judge, apparently, did not like the way the lawyer conducted herself. The attorney interrupted him on multiple occasions and apparently moved her hands and arms in an agitated manner. 

According to a recent opinion piece by the Daily Mail, “woke” bail reform is putting murderers back on the streets of Chicago. This is not strictly true. In 2020, when the jails and prisons were overcrowded with suspects awaiting charges, it became more routine to release individuals on ankle monitors. However, it is true that reforms in the way we do bail are impacting how it functions and who qualifies.

To be sure, Illinois is not woke when it comes to bail reform. Some states have moved to do away with the cash bail system, and we will get into their reasons why below. However, Illinois is not one of them so the idea that Chicago is putting murderers out on the streets at a greater rate than say, New York or Los Angeles is false. One of the reasons why Chicago takes it on the chin when it comes to these sorts of accusations is that we have a large Black population, a history of political corruption, and a reputation for organized crime. However, we are no more woke than, say, Birmingham, AL when it comes to our bail system. 

COVID releases, overcrowding, and ankle monitors

Elizabeth Holmes is accused of lying to investors and committing fraud. The state believes that she told investors that her company’s medical device would be able to replace complex labs that perform bloodwork. However, the device did not work as advertised, cost investors millions, and tanked the company for which she was CEO. The state accuses her of knowingly providing investors with false or overstated information and omitting information concerning the results of her company’s product. 

Analyzing her defense strategy

The biggest problem Holmes faces right now is that the prosecution has produced a cavalcade of witnesses who will testify that Holmes made specific statements concerning the quality of the device for the purpose of getting more money for her company. The witnesses will testify that Holmes overstated the efficacy of the device to get more capital for her company. However, the device never worked. 

The Kyle Rittenhouse murder trial took an interesting turn this week. When a judge excludes a certain line of questioning from a criminal case, neither side can ask questions that would put a witness in the position of answering that question. In this case, the judge excluded evidence that Rittenhouse was going to the protest to defend property. The prosecution had Rittenhouse on the ropes when they broached that line of questioning. Before Rittenhouse could answer through tearful sobs, the judge shut down the proceedings, rebuked the prosecutor, and sent the jury out of the room. 

The defense’s objection raised the point that the trial was not going well for the prosecution. By asking questions that had been specifically prohibited by the judge, the prosecution (the defense claimed) was attempting to cause a mistrial that would have allowed the prosecution to start all over again, perhaps with a better theory of what happened and stronger supporting evidence that could be made. The defense then also moved for a mistrial with prejudice. That would have meant that the trial could not have ever been retried by the prosecution and Rittenhouse would be presumed innocent of the charges for the remainder of his life. 

Understanding What is Happening

Five Chicago gangsters are facing RICO charges related to a criminal enterprise, the O-Block street gang, that murdered a Chicago rapper and committed other crimes on Chicago’s South Side. Since the gang members are charged with orchestrating a murder, they will face a minimum sentence of life imprisonment and a maximum sentence of the death penalty. 

RICO Charges and Investigations

The purpose of RICO is to help prosecutors use the full extent of the law to pursue criminal charges. Prior to RICO, a prosecutor had to know which member of a criminal enterprise committed the offense. That left defense attorneys with the option of pointing the finger at other vested parties within the same organization. That vested party could point the finger at another vested party, and so on. It became impossible to get the men at the top of the conspiracy because they always worked through intermediaries. So unless you had them saying, “Hey Joe, can you please kill a rapper?” There were no legitimate means of prosecuting the shot caller. 

It is becoming more and more of a newsworthy topic to discuss why specific suspects are not being charged with crimes related to specific incidents. In the most recent example, a man who was stabbed is now demanding answers after the suspect charged with his stabbing was released. 

According to reports, the man was out with his brothers when a group of other men approached him and began beating him. The victim identified one of the men who stabbed him but was later released. Now, he is demanding answers. 

Police were able to confirm that a person of interest was interviewed at the scene, but no one was charged. The Cook County State’s Attorneys released a statement saying that the totality of the evidence was insufficient to pursue charges. They also said that Chicago P.D. agreed with this decision, which may or may not be true. 

Over the last year and a half (during the COVID pandemic) there has been a 30% increase in the use of ankle monitors to keep track of criminal defendants. The issue was related to the COVID pandemic and the ability of the prisons to keep prisoners safe from the infection. Prisons and jails tend to be rife with infections, and keeping infections at bay can be costly and difficult. Meanwhile, counties and prisons are responsible for inmates and can be held liable for failing to ensure their health and safety. 

During the pandemic, Cook County opted to place more individuals on ankle bracelets than keep them in holding centers. Many have been on ankle monitors for over a year while awaiting something to happen. Part of the problem is that those released on ankle monitors have already paid hefty bail prices meaning that they will be taxed doubly for the same crime. It is not surprising that the majority of those facing this problem are Black. However, a growing number of defendants on ankle monitors are also accused of violent crimes, occasionally murder. This ensures that no matter what side of the aisle you fall on, you can recognize the inherent shortcomings in this process.

Ankle Monitors, House Arrest, and County Jails

Necromancy is the act of wielding the dead against the living. Necromancers have the power to manipulate souls or bodies and use them at their will. While necromancy is not real and is more the stuff of fantasy novels, there are some who actually perform necromancy for personal gain. For example, using the social security numbers of dead Americans to file fraudulent tax returns and gain access to stimulus payments that you’re not entitled to is using the dead to for personal gain and profit. 

Now, a 50-year-old Chicago woman is facing 10 counts of wire fraud, six counts of aggravated identity theft, three counts of making false statements to the SBA, and one other count of possessing forged documents with the intent to defraud. However, she is facing zero counts of tax necromancy.

Tax Necromancy

Illinois prosecutors have charged six individuals in conjunction with a luxury vehicle theft ring. Authorities say that the culprits targeted luxury dealerships around the state using stolen or fraudulent identities and fraudulent bank information. Two ringleaders are believed to have recruited four others in the scheme. 

Officials have said that the theft of luxury vehicles using identity theft is becoming a bigger problem for luxury car dealerships. This high-profile bust will help Chicago police reassure car dealerships that the matter is being taken seriously. 

The bust was part of Operation Free Ride, which is a multi-state investigation into seemingly unrelated car thefts. While each of these cases appear on the surface to be an individual event, authorities believe that the same culprits are targeting multiple dealerships and then selling the vehicles on the black market, or shipping them overseas where they can charge thousands more. 

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.

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