Articles Tagged with Chicago criminal defense

It is no secret that landlords conduct background checks and will use evidence of a criminal conviction against you when deciding on your application. For this reason, those with criminal records often find themselves in unsafe neighborhoods in need of personal protection. It is also true that those with criminal records are usually not allowed to own or purchase weapons. In some cases, a weapons charge caused their criminal record in the first place. In these cases, it is often because the individual feels unsafe where they live.

Obviously, this creates a feedback loop of recidivism, and Chicago is starting to catch on to the vicious circles that those in unsafe neighborhoods have to endure. Chicago recently unveiled a housing program that allows those with criminal records to find safe apartments. This reduces the pressure to own weapons.

Entering the Vicious Cycle

You have been charged with a crime, and you have been summoned to court. Whether it is a traffic violation, a misdemeanor that resulted from a bar fight, or even a low-level drug possession issue, attorney representation can be a significant expense. Now, you are attempting to decide whether you can manage your defense on your own without hiring a lawyer.

Those that represent themselves in legal proceedings on their own behalf are referred to and appear as “pro se” litigants. While most persons do not have real-time courtroom experience—especially as a defendant—many feel that they have gained valuable knowledge from movies and TV shows and therefore understand courtroom mechanics. Possibly the most famous pro se litigant was Robert Kearns, the inventor of the intermittent windshield wiper who prevailed in court against the giant Chrysler corporation. If someone like the non-legally trained engineer Kearns could be successful in a big-time courtroom setting, why not skip the lawyer expense and handle your case yourself?

Pro Se Representation Advantages

Michigan prosecutors are attempting to advance charges against the parents of a school shooter, claiming that the parents “should have known” that the boy had psychological problems due to his fascination with guns and disturbing drawings.

The idea that we all have the same set of values regarding weapons and horror art is not a smart position to take. Ultimately, the prosecutors need to convince a jury that parents would ultimately consider it within the realm of possibility that their child would commit a mass shooting. Parents rarely ever consider this. We will never know how many mass shootings were stopped by parental intervention, but it happens frequently enough to know that these parents are just as blindsided as the rest of society when their child commits an atrocity.

These parents are not getting a sick sense of satisfaction over the knowledge that their child is going to prison forever. They are devastated and their lives are ruined. 

The father of Robert Crimo III, 58-year-old Robert Crimo Jr., has been indicted on seven counts of reckless conduct after his son went on a rampage that killed seven. Crimo Jr. has been charged with one count of reckless conduct for every death that occurred that day. However, the prosecution has not convicted him yet.

The grand jury process allows prosecutors to present a case without the defense present. Ultimately, a grand jury is composed of individuals who have only heard one side of the story. The effort is an attempt to convince the public that the effort of a trial is warranted. It shows the public that individuals hearing the complaints against the defendant agree with the prosecution’s interpretation of events. The grand jury voted to indict Crimo Jr. on seven counts of reckless conduct. Each charge carries a maximum sentence of three years, leaving Crimo Jr. vulnerable to a maximum 21-year sentence.

Is Crimo Jr. Responsible for His Son’s Conduct?

Police announced that were more than 50 robberies this week across the Northwest side of Chicago. They announced four suspects responsible for what they believe are four of the robberies. As they were making the announcement, a woman who was walking her dog was robbed at gunpoint by several men who rushed her from an SUV. They grabbed her purse, stole the keys to her vehicle, and took her jeep.

The robberies appear to be linked, according to Chicago police, and the MO is similar. The assailants approach the victim while they are alone, walking or in their car. They rob them at gunpoint and make off with their belongings. The suspects have been charged in four armed robberies, but police are currently attempting to link them to the other 50 or more that have occurred in the past month. 

Armed Robbery With a Firearm

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

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