Articles Tagged with Chicago criminal defense attorney

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.

lucas-quintana-K0mIaYnusPA-unsplash-copy-300x200While much of the U.S. mourned the senseless tragedies in El Paso and Dayton, others with a political agenda pointed out the numerous deaths that occurred over the same weekend in Chicago. These deaths were heavily politicized for two reasons — they occurred in black neighborhoods and Chicago has strict laws when it comes to gun ownership. Second Amendment Rights advocates pointed to the futility of gun control measures while those with a racial agenda hoped to even out the death toll by claiming that blacks commit “just as many mass shootings” as whites. While statistically valid, the argument fails to show the motive behind such murders. Mass shootings committed by whites are generally politically motivated by hatred, while black mass shootings often involve gang violence.

Perhaps one of the most stunning reminders that gun violence is a threat no matter who is pulling the trigger or why they are pulling it, is the recent death of a Northwestern student who was standing with his groceries at a bus stop on his way to a condo that he and his fiance recently purchased.

There he met Deonte Speed, who had chased another man and was firing his gun at him. Speed managed to miss his target entirely but hit the young student, killing him. After hitting the Northwestern student accidentally, Speed continued to chase the other man and fire until losing him in a railroad embankment.

fabian-grohs-396734-copy-300x240At the same time that Illinois has eliminated the statute of limitations on sexual assault, an Oak Forest man is accused of predatory sexual assault of a minor, possession of child pornography, and 23 other felony crimes related to those two main counts. The sexual assault is alleged to have been perpetrated against a minor under the age of 13.

Jason Akai was indicted earlier this month and can face between six and 30 years for each felony count of criminal sexual conduct toward a minor. He was also charged with 19 counts of felony possession of child pornography, which would tack on another 15 years.

Alongside Akai, Kimberly Schubert is being charged with predatory criminal sexual assault of a minor under the age of 13 and felony possession of child pornography. Schubert has also pleaded not guilty to the charges.

lefteris-kallergis-j1GiPlvSGWI-unsplash-copy-300x200Prosecutors say that 15-year-old Javon Wilson was shot to death over a pair of Air Jordan sneakers. According to his sister, Khaliyah Wilson, two teenagers brandishing guns came knocking on her door to recover the sneakers. The court has barred prosecutors from mentioning the fact that Javon Wilson is the grandson of 12-term congressman Danny Davis. The alleged gunmen, Tariq Harris and Dijae Banks, were 16 and 17 at the time of the shooting.

According to reports, Jeremy Murphy, another brother of the Wilsons had traded a pair of pants for the sneakers on a temporary basis. Banks had come to reclaim the sneakers but Javon Wilson would not return them without first getting the pants. The whole thing went sideways when Khaliyah Wilson attempted to kick the boys out. The argument turned into a fist fight and eventually, one of the boys pulled a gun and fired at Javon Wilson. The bullet entered into his neck where it struck an artery. The boy died there.

What Will Happen to These Boys?

ross-parmly-rf6ywHVkrlY-unsplash-copy-300x199Friends and family of Andrew Warren reported him missing to authorities. No, he was not the victim. He was one of the co-conspirators who murdered 26-year-old Trenton Cornell-Duranleau. Warren had left his home in England so abruptly, that friends and relatives had no idea what had happened. But the man had allegedly flown across the pond into the U.S. to act out a horrible sex fantasy with Northwestern professor Wyndham Latham. 

Now, Warren has taken a deal to testify against Latham in exchange for a 45-year recommendation from prosecutors as to a sentence. If this sounds like a good deal to you, consider the fact that Warren is 58 years old. 

Understanding the Crime

mihai-surdu-DeI2BMIMDFA-unsplash-copy-300x200To date, there are 87 women who have reported sexual assault or harassment against Harvey Weinstein. Now credited as the progenitor of the #MeToo movement, Weinstein has retained the help of a prominent Chicago attorney, Donna Rotunno, to represent him against the numerous sexual misconduct allegations against him. Weinstein stands accused of five felony sex crimes

Rotunno has a unique specialty. She primarily represents those who are charged with sexual assault. This case has propelled her into the national spotlight as she attempts to defend her most notorious client, a man who is alleged to have gotten away with rape for decades because of his prominence in the film industry and forcibly and coercively leveraged women into performing sex acts on him as pay to play for landing key roles in film. 

Two of those charges stem from an assault that occurred in 2013 involving allegations of forcible rape and a 2006 allegation that alleges predatory sexual assault. 

tertia-van-rensburg-37121-copy-300x224The trial of Brendt Christiansen, the man accused of murdering Chinese exchange student Yingying Zhang, has begun. Amid claims that there is surveillance evidence showing Christiansen admitting Zhang into his car the night she was murdered, the prosecution will introduce evidence gathered by his longtime girlfriend, who wore a wire for federal investigators, against Christiansen at trial. She will claim that Christiansen repeatedly indicated to her that he wanted to be a serial killer and made other inflammatory proclamations.

Defense attorneys, however, are questioning her sanity and her competency to bear witness against her former boyfriend. They are attempting to subpoena psychiatric evaluations of the former girlfriend citing that it is relevant to the quality of her testimony. Additionally, the witness, referred to only as T.B., will provide evidence that she introduced him to the “BDSM lifestyle” which vaguely translates into fetishists who enjoy bondage and domination. 

“Damaged and Unstable”

max-bender-wJx-K1b7ZLI-unsplash-copy-240x300Chicago taxi driver Mustafa Dikbas was accused of holding a woman hostage and sexually assaulting her in his taxi earlier this year. The man was later arrested in Oswego for a 2007 sexual assault that also occurred within a taxi. 

The investigation began in 2007 when a woman told police that she had been sexually assaulted on a trip from Chicago to Oswego by her cab driver. She was able to provide a description of the driver to police but did not know the name of the cab company and could not provide information on the vehicle. DNA evidence was collected and found its way into the DNA index system. 

Dikbas was arrested earlier this year in a similar assault on a 26-year-old woman in his taxi and charged with aggravated criminal sexual assault, aggravated criminal sexual abuse, and kidnapping. Dikbas’s DNA was entered into the system and turned up a match.

simon-migaj-423321-unsplash-copy-300x200Brendt Christiansen told police that he murdered 13 people. Police do not believe him. Police believe that Christiansen did, however, murder Yingying Zhang, a visiting scholar, and that this could have led to other murders had they not caught him. Police were able to turn Christiansen’s girlfriend against him and got her to wear a wire. He described how he murdered Zhang and then went on to tell her that he murdered 12 other people. His girlfriend, Terra Bullis, asked Christiansen if he thought he might be the next successful serial killer and Christiansen told her that he already was and that Zhang was “number 13.”

Police say that Christiansen lured Zhang away from a bus stop and then forced her into his apartment where he raped, beat, and stabbed her. 

Christiansen has pleaded not guilty to the first-degree murder of Yingying Zhang. 

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