Articles Tagged with Chicago criminal defense attorney

robert-hickerson-38585-copy-200x30017-year-old Chastinea Reeves pleaded guilty to stabbing her own mother over 60 times. The girl was given a 45-year sentence for the slaying. Her mother, Jamie Garnett was found dead in her home. Reeves was 15 at the time of the murder and she was charged as an adult. The plea avoided the trial and a potential sentence of 65 years in prison had she been convicted of the murder. If she serves the full term, she will be 62 years old when she is released.

The state’s case appeared to the defense to be rock solid. The prosecution had the murder weapon with the victim’s blood on it and what they described as a “perfect” fingerprint. They also had two witnesses who were given plea deals and were willing to testify against Reeves at the trial.

Amber Alert Used to Apprehend Reeves

annie-spratt-1141166-unsplash-copy-200x300As evidence mounts against the parents of AJ Freund, the media frenzy around the case casts a shadow over the possibility that the Freunds will get a fair trial. According to police, the boy’s father Drew Freund told police that he “beat” the boy and administered cold showers as punishment. The police also indicated the father led investigators to the boy’s body in a remote location in Woodstock.

Physical evidence against the father continues to pile up. This includes a shovel, soil samples linking the shovel to the burial site, muddy shoes that could link the father to the burial site, and a search he performed on his phone concerning how to perform CPR on a child.

Police Have Begun Trying This Case in the Press

josh-calabrese-527813-unsplash-copy-300x200In most courtrooms, you will note the image of Lady Justice who carries scales and is blindfolded. This carries the connotation that justice or the criminal justice system should be (but is not) blind to prejudice and other characteristics of the baser intellect. No better (nor ironic) evidence of this fact can be shown in the case of a black teen who was given 76 years on the word of a legally blind witness.

How did this happen? Well, let us take a look.

First, you have a defendant who is wearing an orange jumpsuit. Second, you have a compliant witness who probably could not pick the defendant out of a lineup but nonetheless could pick out an orange jumpsuit. Then, the prosecutor asked the witness if he could identify the man who shot two people, killing one and wounding another. The witness identified the man in the orange jumpsuit.

smn-bcc-601011-unsplash-copy-300x200Adel Daoud will now face sentencing after pleading guilty (sort of) to conspiracy to commit terrorism and attempts to commit terrorism. Daoud was led by the hand to commit acts of terror against the American people by undercover FBI agents. He pushed a button on a detonator that he believed would set off a 1000-pound car bomb that could have killed hundreds of people. Daoud sat in the passenger seat of a car beside a federal agent and prayed that this would be their first operation, not their last.

Daoud had set himself up for the sting after lengthy social media posts alerted the federal government to his attitude. They say that he believed he was on a mission from God to harm infidels. The federal agent coaxed Daoud to commit an act that he believed was terrorism against the American people.

Does That Constitute Entrapment?

ehimetalor-unuabona-270319-unsplash-copy-300x199Insanity pleas are notorious because they are often dramatized in television shows and movies. In the real world, they are very difficult to prove.

There are two things you should understand about an insanity plea, and these things are often confused. Before there is a trial, the judge will need to determine whether or not you are fit to stand trial. That requires that you understand the charges against you and are able to participate in your own defense. If you cannot face your charges, you are remanded to the care of a psychiatric facility until they stabilize you enough so that you can stand trial for the crimes with which you are charged.

That is completely different from an insanity plea. If you plead insanity, the judge has already ruled that you can stand trial for your crime, but as a defense, you are saying you were not in your right mind when you committed the offense and should, therefore, not be held responsible for it. It is very difficult to prove because the criteria for proof is very high. Sometimes, it works.

rawpixel-1055781-unsplash-1-300x201Erick Maya has successfully appealed his conviction by arguing that he suffered from ineffective assistance of counsel. This is despite the fact that he was represented by one of the most highly-regarded criminal defense attorneys in Illinois, George Lenard. Maya was accused and convicted of murdering Romeoville 15-year-old Briana Valle in 2014 in a highly publicized criminal trial. The case brought to light several issues in the age of the internet including Facebook stalking.

According to the prosecution, Valle met the young woman on Facebook when she was 13 years old. The two carried on a romantic relationship of sorts until, at some point, the relationship went downhill. The prosecution accused Maya of threatening to rape Valle and kill her family and then shoot her to death. They say that Maya then hired a taxi driver to bring him to Valle’s home. He got cold feet and left but, later, he went back and carried out his threat. He was charged in the murder of Briana Valle and the attempted murder of her other family members, including her mother whom he shot in the neck.

Attorneys for Maya appealed the verdict, which saw the defendant sentenced to 122 years for the murder and attempted murder. The appeals court has not yet overturned the verdict in the trial nor have they ordered a new trial. They did, however, rule against the circuit court’s decision that Maya received a fair defense.

tertia-van-rensburg-37121-copy-300x224You have to be careful about accepting any kind of a plea. If a deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Just ask Jussie Smollett. He may have gotten off with a slap on the wrist, but now the police department is suing him for money related to the investigation and the federal government still wants to press charges. The original sounded too good to be true, which outraged local politicians and law enforcement.

If you want to hear about an even worse deal, ask Terry Allen who was held behind bars for 32 years without ever being convicted or sentenced of a crime. Allen took was is known as a “civil commitment” plea deal in lieu of facing criminal charges on an alleged sexual assault. He was never sentenced to prison. He was never convicted of a crime. He spent 32 years behind bars.

Again, it sounded like a great deal. Allen was facing several years behind bars when prosecutors offered a plea in lieu of a criminal sentence to voluntarily submit himself to civil commitment. Civil commitment is held aside for those who are deemed a threat to themselves or others but also have serious mental illness. However, civil commitment allows for patients to be detained indefinitely pending the results of a psychiatric evaluation.

rawpixel-1055781-unsplash-1-300x201Prosecutors in the Jussie Smollett case opted to offer the maligned Empire actor an alternative disposition sentence of community service and the forfeiture of his $10,000 bond in lieu of prosecuting Smollett on 16 counts of felony disorderly conduct. Smollett stood accused of faking a hate crime against himself. Chicago police reportedly began investigating the event as an assault, but the two men who stood accused of the crime claimed Smollett hired them to beat him up. Chicago police then turned their attention to Smollett claiming that his motive for staging the attack was that he was unhappy with his salary on Empire.

Smollett, who is black and gay, earned the ire of just about everyone after evidence came pouring in that the hate crime was staged. Those who were victims of hate crimes denounced Smollett as drawing attention away from a legitimate issue and tinging it with a veneer of doubt. Indeed, the conversation concerning race-related assaults and homicides shifted toward how many of those were fake. Social media pundits seemed to latch onto the event as vindication that the entire dialogue concerning hate crimes is flawed.

Then, after the 16 felony counts against Smollett were dropped, the conversation shifted toward the price of justice in America and how those with money can buy their way out of trouble while those without are forced to stand trial for similar crimes. In other words, it was a departure from the narrative that the courts convict black defendants at a higher rate while giving a pass to white defendants for the same crime. The dichotomy shifted to rich versus poor.

mingyue-sun-153025-300x169A man involved in a bizarre love triangle was charged with murder after a shooting in Evanston. Sandoval Cobian, 38 years old, is facing murder charges after allegedly shooting his romantic rival in the north suburb. The Chicago native was charged with two counts of first-degree murder, as reported by Evanston police.

On Friday, March 15, officers found Angel Miranda, 33 years old, suffering from multiple gunshot wounds to the abdomen and chest. He was located behind a residence in the 1800 block of Simpson Street and pronounced dead at the scene, according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office.

Miranda, who was a resident of the Little Village neighborhood of Chicago, was visiting his girlfriend. She found him shot and called authorities. Investigators later learned Cobian and Miranda were romantically involved with the same woman. Police reported that Cobian shot Miranda because of jealousy and a “romantic rivalry.” Cobian was ordered held without bail. His next court date is set for the end of March.

larry-tseng-183721-unsplash-300x225Because domestic violence is a very real and pervasive threat in the U.S., the Illinois legislature has concentrated on making domestic violence laws more stringent. Law enforcement in the state has created dynamic new policies. Prosecutors are now responsible for enforcing new laws in addition to ones that are already on the books.

Many people do not realize that the state files the criminal charges for domestic violence, not the victims. It is important that you have a clear understanding of the laws governing domestic violence and what may be ahead if you are convicted of such a crime. A Chicago domestic violence attorney can help assess your case and guide you through building your defense.

What You May Not Know About Domestic Violence Laws in Illinois