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Articles Tagged with Chicago criminal defense attorney

Call Guinness; it’s a new record! A South Side teen committed nine carjackings in one day. He has since been charged with 11 carjackings with a deadly weapon and two counts of damaging government property. No one was injured or killed during these carjackings. Instead, it appears to be an effort to commit as many carjackings as possible in as short a period of time as possible. While the carjacker is under 18, he is likely to be charged as an adult and face substantial prison time. His age will be considered a factor when sentencing him, but he will go to prison for these crimes.

Aggravated vehicular hijacking comes with a potential sentence of between four and 15 years. So, figuring this precocious teen will be sentenced toward the minimum because of his age, he still faces 44 years behind bars. That’s not good. Getting your name into Guinness isn’t a big enough payoff to spend the next 44 years of your life behind bars. 

Now What?

An off-duty police officer accused a teen of stealing his son’s bike. The teen believes he was profiled only because he was Black. The ensuing altercation was caught on video and the family is calling for the DA to press charges. In the video, the officer can be seen pressing his knee into the teen’s back in a scene eerily reminiscent of the George Floyd incident. 

The teen’s friends intervened on his behalf as the officer accused the teen of stealing his son’s bike. The teen appears to be the only person with brown skin in the area at the time, according to the family. The officer works for Chicago P.D. but the incident happened in another jurisdiction, Park Ridge. The incident is being investigated by both Chicago and Park Ridge P.D. There has yet to be an announcement whether criminal charges against the officer will be pursued. 

It is completely unclear why the officer thought the boy had stolen his son’s bike, if the bike looked like a previously stolen bike, or what was going on in the officer’s mind at the time he chose to detain the boy while off-duty. What is clear is that the officer conducted no investigation, did not ask the boy any questions, and did not have the authority to pursue the matter without more information. 

Now for some good news. Chicago introduced an anti-violence program geared toward inmates who were convicted of violent crimes. While this does not sound like the kind of measure that would produce positive results, the data would indicate otherwise. According to the latest data, those who took part in the READI program were 67% less likely to be involved in a subsequent gun crime and 20% less likely to be the victim of gun violence. 

What does the data say? Well, even as gun violence and crime rates spike throughout the city of Chicago, those who participated in the READI program showed dwindling rates. Those who attended the program had an average of 17 raps on their sheet and many of them had been the victims of gun violence before. Overall, 2500 men were selected for READI Chicago. When compared against a similar group of 2500 men who did not partake in the program, the crime rates were massively lower. The intensive 18-month program was targeted to at-risk males in the Chicago area. The names were drawn algorithmically but focused on those who had violent histories.

Why is This Program Succeeding?

A man told police, among other things, that another man had given him a ride home from a club. The man who offered the ride was later found bludgeoned to death in a pool of his own blood. The suspect, who was covered in blood, initially told police that he fell down the stares, but later revealed that he had bludgeoned the man to death with a hammer after the man had allegedly tried to rape him. Police found the victim’s wallet in the suspect’s possession. The suspect did not have a good reason for possessing the wallet. He has since been charged with first-degree murder.

The man pleaded guilty to a battery charge while out on parole for an unrelated offense. He was sentenced in 2013 for attempted murder. He pleaded self-defense in that case, too.

Analyzing the Defense

The community of Grand Rapids Michigan is reeling after an officer-involved shooting shows that a suspect was shot in the back of the head while resisting during a routine traffic stop. The events of this shooting are clear as day, but it remains unclear if any officer will be charged with a crime. This comes after police officers involved in the George Floyd murder rejected pleas offered by state prosecutors.

Bodycam footage shows that the officer pulled over a vehicle for having a license plate that did not match the vehicle. The officer pulls over the vehicle and the suspect immediately gets out of the car. The suspect does not have a weapon, looks confused, and tells the officer he has a license, but does not produce one. Later, the suspect can be seen walking away from the officer and then running. The officer pursues, tackles the suspect, and a struggle ensues. The officer draws his taser, the suspect intercepts it with his hands and diverts it. A struggle ensues. The officer is on top of the suspect when he discharges his weapon into the back of the suspect’s head. The suspect dies immediately. An autopsy confirms that the cause of death is a single gunshot wound to the back of the head.

Police reform advocates are saying this is another example of ineffective policing leading to tragedy. Pro-police advocates say that the suspect was still reaching for the officer’s taser when he fired the weapon.

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. 

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