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Articles Tagged with Chicago criminal defense

Chicago politicians facing corruption charges are about the most Chicago thing you can think of. However, what goes into these corruption charges? Do all politicians bend and break the law like this? Are criminal charges related to corruption simply an indication that a specific politician has fallen out of favor with the local elites? These are all valid questions that you can ask, and unfortunately, we do not really have the answers to them. It may not necessarily even be clear to laypeople what is and is not illegal. In most of these criminal prosecutions, it isn’t necessarily clear to the defendants either, who almost always argue that their conduct was legal and did not constitute a crime. 

What Happened Here?

Michael Madigan arranged for a political ally to receive a $22,000 payment from AT&T’s lobbying firm in exchange for a favorable vote on legislation that would have benefited AT&T. Is that legal? It depends on how it’s done. In this case, the individual who received the payment provided no work for AT&T. He simply received money as a chit for Madigan and his political allies to consolidate power. Now, it may not be apparent why this is valuable, but individuals like Madigan control people and their livelihoods and create networks of allies that consolidate power. If you think of it like a market, it becomes easier to understand. Madigan and his political allies sought to control the Illinois power market by consolidating power around themselves and their allies. Is that necessarily illegal? No. But brokering power in this way extorts money from businesses, reduces the competitive vigor of the market, and the general belief is that it makes things worse for everyone.

A recent Supreme Court decision will make it more difficult for those convicted of crimes to appeal the outcome of a trial on the basis of ineffective assistance of counsel. The measure was decided in favor of the states in a 6-3 decision. However, the dissenting justices did not mince words when describing the decision. Judge Sotomayor called the decision “perverse.” Judge Clarence Thomas who wrote the prevailing opinion said the federal government should have minimal right to “relitigate” cases years after juries rendered a decision.

Understanding the Legal Issues

The Sixth Amendment guarantees every citizen who is charged with a crime an attorney to represent them. It is assumed that this attorney is competent, can follow the case, and is providing their client with the best possible representation under the circumstances. If they fail to do this, then the defendant can appeal a conviction on the basis that their lawyer did not represent them to the best of their ability. In these cases, the court must render a decision on whether or not a similar attorney in the same position would have taken a better approach and whether or not that approach would have made a significant difference over the outcome.

Defendants who confess to crimes rarely can go back into a courtroom and then say that their confession was coerced. This is especially true when the police have stopped looking for other suspects. Children are especially easy to get to confess to things they did not do because they just want the anxiety caused by the questioning to stop. Police will pressure them with more anxiety if they do not say what they want to hear and offer them incentives for confession, regardless of whether or not it is the truth. In this case, a teen confessed to shooting a clerk directly in the face during an armed robbery. He was plied with McDonald’s into the confession.

While juries will not listen to individuals who say they falsely confessed to the crimes, the courts will, especially children, and especially in a place like Chicago where there is a long history of police convicting suspects using torture and extortion. 

In this case, the police told the teen that they would give him some McDonald’s if he told them he was there. The teen complied, ate the McDonalds, and was promptly charged with attempted murder, armed robbery, and enough felonies to put him behind bars for two lifetimes. Meanwhile, the teen was later able to prove that he was at a basketball game at the time of the shooting. It goes to show you just how useless police interrogations are at producing the truth and just how narrowly this boy dodged a bullet.

Authorities allege that a Dixmoor police officer manipulated a police lineup in order to establish charges against a man who was later cleared of wrongdoing. The officer is now facing three felony counts of official misconduct. According to a witness, the officer suggested the correct answer to a witness in the lineup. The suspect was placed into lockup for 18 days. After his release, he pressed charges against the officer. 

According to his attorney, the man went into a store to buy a phone and was suddenly facing a 45-year sentence. Prior, an armed robbery had occurred at the store. An employee thought the man resembled the armed robber. The employee called the police. 

The officer who is now facing charges is accused of telling the witness which individual to pick from the lineup. The employee did as asked and the man was charged with armed robbery, a Class-X felony, the highest you can receive in Illinois. 

It is hard to imagine a guy faking a hate crime attack just so he could get up on stage and call himself “the Gay Tupac,” but that is exactly what Jussie Smollett is accused of doing. Police believe that Smollett paid two African bodybuilders to stage an assault that made national headlines, infuriated activists, and mined the hatred and outrage surrounding recent police murders. However, investigators came to believe that Smollett had staged the attack leading to an investigation that cost the city at least $130,000. Further, he stoked the fires of racial outrage and when it turned out that the police had evidence the hate crime was staged, it made it more difficult for others facing similar assaults to report their crimes.

It is among the most frustrating and infuriating news stories all year. As of the writing of this article, Smollett has been convicted of the charges. Smollett still maintains his innocence. But the matter remains polarizing as several high-profile celebrities continue to support Smollett on the basis that the Chicago police department has a long history of wrongdoing. 

Understanding Double Jeopardy

The Wicked Town street gang is facing a federal RICO prosecution that has ensnared 80 of its members. The Wicked Town gang is reputed to have orchestrated at least 19 killings. In one of these killings, an innocent bystander was gunned down at a pickup basketball game. 

Here’s the problem. The narco traffickers in places like Honduras have control of the government. They are not interested in boosting their reps on the streets. They simply want to move their drugs from one place to another. Meanwhile, they are supplying these drugs to street-level dealers who are more interested in boosting their own reps than they are doing business. These gangs and their leaders will often provoke worthless squabbles with other gangs simply to be harder on the street. While the Cartels kill their fair share of snitches and traitors to their business, the gangs are responsible for creating havoc on the streets for no other reason than to look as mean and strong as they possibly can. 

Famous Smugglers

15 members of the Sin City Deciples and a 16th individual have been charged with federal racketeering and drug conspiracy charges. The Sin City Deciples are a motorcycle gang that hails from Gary, Indiana. They are accused of trafficking stolen property, drugs, violence, extortion, and other crimes related to their outlaw motorcycle club. According to the indictment, the Deciples made money by trafficking in cocaine and heroin while extorting other MCs to pay them dues. Among the allegations are that Deciples showed up armed at a rival MCs club to force the members to wear their Sin City insignia. 

Preparing the Case Against the MC

The indictment has just been handed down, but allegations against the club go back as far as 2009. The club was formed in 1967. The indictment states that the 16 individuals were involved in drug enterprises to distribute cocaine and heroin through networks within Indiana. The prosecution has decades worth of sales to undercover agents and the organization has been infiltrated enough that there is evidence of discussions concerning club business that will be presented by undercover agents. 

Melvin Ely and Will Bynum, both of whom are former NBA players from the Chicago area, are facing fraud charges related to a scheme involving the NBA players’ health care program. The pair will face charges in a federal Manhattan court where the indictment was unsealed. 

The indictment names 19 defendants, 18 of whom are former NBA players. The former players are accused of defrauding the Health and Welfare program of nearly $4 million. The fraud was masterminded by former New Jersey Nets star Terrence Williams. Williams was paid kickbacks of about $250,000 to actuate the fraud, while players stole a reported $2.5 in personal proceeds.

While the story by now has made it to major airwaves, details of the prosecution are as of yet unknown. The defendants are facing charges of aggravated identity theft, health care fraud, and wire fraud. 

A joint federal and local probe produced 17 defendants in connection with a drug trafficking ring responsible for putting heroin and cocaine on the streets of Chicago. The defendants will face federal charges and be charged in federal court. According to the press release, the operation remained ongoing for years prior to making these arrests. Federal agents announced the seizure of multiple kilos of cocaine and heroin in several Chicago neighborhoods. The effort had contributions from Chicago P.D. and the Department of Homeland Security. The measure produced 17 defendants who are facing federal charges and two more who are facing state charges. 

Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces

The OCDEF is a multi-agency effort to attack cartels and gangs that distribute narcotics on the streets. Its efforts targeted international drug trafficking and were led by prosecutors to help build cases against those involved in the drug trade. According to the Justice Department, it is the largest transnational anti-crime task force in the country. The agency has 500 federal prosecutors, 1,200 federal agents, and 5,000 local and state police. 

A Chicago police officer who instructed other Chicago police officers in the use of force was recently arrested in relation to an off-duty police shooting. The officer shot the man in the hand. 39-year-old Kevin Bunge is charged with aggravated battery and the unlawful use of a weapon. Both are felonies. Bunge was held on a $10,000 bond.

Police say that Bunge was on his way home from the police academy where he taught when a vehicle pulled up behind him. Bunge was parked, listening to a book on tape when the vehicle approached. The two men were going to meet a friend. The one man was providing directions to the other man using Google Maps. The driver did not believe that the directions were accurate, so they pulled their vehicle over. 

At this point, Bunge exited his vehicle with his gun and his badge. Although neither man was armed, Bunge fired into the vehicle. Both men inside the vehicle have filed a personal injury lawsuit against Bunge. Meanwhile, Bunge is facing criminal charges related to the incident.

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