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Articles Tagged with Chicago criminal defense attorney

matt-popovich-60437-copy-300x162Based on the strength of testimony from other Chicago cops and a Chicago judge, police officers Xavier Elizondo and David Salgado were recently found guilty of stealing cash and drugs and otherwise profiting on the drug trade they were supposed to be eliminating. The federal trial made national headlines because it detailed the type of corruption that goes on every day in Chicago. These police were accused and then convicted of lying on search warrants, using money and drugs from seizures to pay off informants who would provide anonymous information to judges who would then authorize illegal searches.

If you are concerned that this is a civil rights violation, then you are thinking about this the right way. So-called John Doe search warrants that have anonymous informants tattling on suspects were at the heart of the problem these two Chicago police officers caused. Nonetheless, these search warrants will continue to be used long after this trial has concluded.

Officers Remain Free

sam-poullain-435864-unsplash-copy-300x169A 9-year-old stands accused of starting a fire that killed five people, including three other children. He has been charged with five counts of first-degree murder, two counts of arson, and one count of aggravated arson. Cases like this are rare. The youngest child ever to be sentenced to life in prison was Lionel Tate, when he was 13. This child, whose name has been withheld by authorities will be among the youngest ever to stand trial for murder.

More confusing still is that fact that the majority of children who were tried as adults did not commit some other crime that resulted in a death, but murdered someone else with a direct weapon. This child is accused of starting a fire that led to five deaths.

Prosecutors say that they have enough evidence to prove that the child started the fire intentionally and knew that the fire could result in the deaths or injury of other people. However, child psychologists argue that the 9-year-old brain has not fully developed enough to understand the consequences of those actions.

louis-reed-747388-unsplash-copy-300x200A man entered a 43-year-old woman’s apartment through a back door that she had left open to get some air and sexually assaulted her. A year passed with no suspects. Now, DNA links Christopher Nelson to the crime. He has been denied bail.

Decades of CSI-style TV shows have led the American public to believe that DNA evidence is unimpeachable. Indeed, it provides law enforcement with its best means of tracking individuals to certain crimes. DNA links Nelson to the crime and the woman he assaulted also picked him out of a lineup.

Understanding DNA Evidence in Rape Cases

joris-v-541657-unsplash-copy-300x200Javier Garcia, the 22-year-old man who drove an SUV into the Woodfield Mall in Schaumburg, has been charged with terrorism. Illinois State Law defines terrorism as any act that causes more than $100,000 worth of damage to a building with five or more businesses inside of it. Unluckily for Garcia, malls apply. He faces a second count of criminal property damage.

Investigators say that this was a planned attack and that Garcia had searched for the Woodfield Mall, including aerial shots of the mall. He seemed particularly interested in Sears for some reason, but no motive for the act has yet been unearthed. 

Those who were there on the scene when Garcia drove his SUV through the mall recall the vehicle barrelling through kiosks and shoppers running panicked for their lives. Garcia was caught on video browsing in Sears, then he left the building and drove his vehicle into the store. Police said that Garcia narrowly missed a children’s train that had children riding on it. While no one was hit by the car itself, three people had to be taken to the hospital with minor injuries.

brandon-mowinkel-211936-unsplash-copy-300x200One of the most carefully watched criminal trials in recent memory hit a snag when defense attorneys claimed that the prosecution withheld evidence in the Tyshawn Lee murder trial. Two men are charged with murdering the 9-year-old boy in a gang-related killing. The two are accused of targeting the boy because they believed his father had been involved in an attack targeting one of the defendant’s family members.

What Did the Prosecution do?

Essentially, the prosecution failed to provide evidence that police had stopped two young men that fled the scene of a music video being shot. The gun that killed Tyshawn Lee was later recovered from that incident. During the trial, police suddenly remembered that they had made this stop and informed prosecutors. Prosecutors handed this information over to the defense while the trial was underway, and the defense was rightfully upset to be learning about it well into the trial.

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?

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