Articles Tagged with criminal defense

aidan-bartos-313782-copy-300x200Various crimes happen every day in Chicago, Illinois. Citizens caught violating the law, will, of course, be charged. Depending on the crime and circumstances, some may face minor charges, while others will face more serious charges. One of the crimes that takes years to clear in Chicago is racketeering.

What is Racketeering?

Racketeering is organized crime in which illegal business takes place. Rackets may refer to illegal businesses or dishonest services offered to steal and collect funds. This form of crime runs various groups assigned in different places to maintain profits for the business. This group of criminals may even use fake products and documents. They know how to get your trust and sympathy. They can even look like an innocent individuals. They are often heard about through community news reports.

kristina-flour-185592-copy-300x192In a case of double jeopardy, a Chicago cop pleaded the Fifth at trial involving friend’s shooting at his home.

A police officer recently refused to answer questions regarding a baffling shooting that took place near his house almost seven years ago. The officer, following advice from his counsel, pleaded the fifth in a federal court regarding his integrity and wrongful shooting attempts. Patrick Kelly, a veteran patrolman, declined to give answers to a number of questions on the mysterious shooting and his puzzling record before Judge Harry Lienenweber. The United States District Magistrate dismissed the police officer as a witness during the hearing of the domestic case. Anthony Monaco, the attorney defending Kelly, did not give any reasons as to why his client did not testify.

On the 12th of January, 2010, Kelly and his childhood friend, Michael La Porta, were at Kelly’s home on the South Side. Michael was shot in the back of his head by Kelly’s service gun. They had been drinking heavily that night. According to Chicago police, the shooting was classified as an endeavored suicide. This decision was reached based on Kelly’s account since he was the only one at his place during the incident.

sebastian-pichler-25154-copy-300x200After a conviction for any type of criminal offense in Chicago, the defendant is given the chance to post a criminal defense appeal. It is the right of the defendant. Often, excluding certain cases, this appeal takes place in an intermediate appellate court. Every defendant in Chicago who is condemned of a crime has the right to put in an appeal. The appellate court cannot deny hearing the case.

Let’s say the appeal is unsuccessful in the intermediary court. The defendant is convicted of the crime yet again. As such, the defendant’s further petition is not sanctioned. This was proved in one recent case. In it, the defendant filed an appeal to disqualify the trial judge from future post-conviction proceedings. But when the motion was filed, the defendant had no pending cases. The defendant’s petition was thus denied since the motion was void ab initio.

That being said, a defendant can put forward a request to appeal to the Supreme Court of Illinois in hopes that the court will accord his or her request. Such requests are rarely granted. Often, the court accedes to appeals in cases in which interesting legal topics have been settled in different ways by several intermediary courts hearing the case.

javier-villaraco-235574-copy-300x225There has been a preliminary hearing to consider whether the civil rights of a prisoner who has been in solitary confinement for eight years were violated. This was not a final ruling but rather permission to proceed with the case. That means that there was either probable cause or serious constitutional issues that had to be dealt with by the court on the case.

The full court reversed a summary judgement that had earlier been passed against a federal inmate. The prisoner had brought a petition about his constitutional due process and rights. Aaron Isby had been convicted of robbery as well as serious bodily harm in 1989. He was imprisoned at the Pendleton Correctional Facility.

When an inmate, Isby had had an altercation with a counselor. He was gassed and apprehended by a cell-extraction team. A dog died during the incident. The inmate actually stabbed two officers. This led to a charge and conviction of attempted murder as well as battery. Another 40 years were added to his sentence.

dan-gold-240112-copy-169x300The use of dogs for gathering police evidence has been debated at the highest levels of the criminal justice system. The 7th US Circuit Court of Appeals recently considered the matter and made a ruling that could potentially have far-reaching consequences.

The key issue was the extent to which the law enforcement agencies should be able to rely on K-9 partners when making a decision as to whether to search a person or not. There are vehicle sniff directives for law enforcement agencies in place even without this trial.

In the case of Lex, the dog was not considered to be adequately trained or talented enough to be able to make a decision either way. The case was brought by Larry Bentley Jr. He had been sentenced to 20 years in jail for being found in possession of controlled substances.

kevin-gent-219197-copy-300x200Of late, the DCFS (Illinois Department of Children and Family Services) in Chicago has been under fire for not properly enforcing child protection law. For example, children have died despite the fact that the department had already instituted proceedings. Many argue that the law was there to protect the victims, but its enforcement fell way below the standards that were originally envisaged by the legislature when they wrote the law. The case of Manuel Aguilar is harrowing. The 4-year-old was found burned and badly damaged in an abandoned home. The body was so malnourished and wasted that the first responders at first wrongly assumed that he was no older than a year. The lawyers started to unpack the true horror of the story during the proceedings.

The subsequent investigation showed that the victim had spent the best part of a year in an unheated room begging for food and water. He was beaten, starved, and forced to sleep in a cat litter box. His biological mother, Alyssa Garcia, and her teenage boyfriend stuffed the dead body in a bag and set it on fire in an abandoned house. Previously, the DCFS had opened and closed a number of cases relating to the family following complaints of persistent child abuse. An investigation found clerical errors in files and failures to follow up on complaints as well as muddled witness accounts.


Third Parties Who Were Never Interviewed as Part of Child Protection Proceedings

markus-spiske-153537-200x300Cyber terrorism is a serious crime. Obviously, this falls on the higher end of the offenses that are committed on the internet. Chicago, like many states, is trying to update its laws in order to deal with these threats in an effective way, bearing in mind the fact that the technology is constantly changing. Likewise, there are employee training requirements for companies. The law firms that defend and participate in prosecutions are also coming to terms with the intricacies of the laws as well as the various regulations that have been put in place to regulate the activity that takes place on the internet.

One of the issues that has come to the fore is the possibility that in the pursuit of cyber legality, there is a danger of infringing on the privacy of Chicago citizens. The state and legislature are always willing to have more control over the activities of residents. However, that level of control might have serious implications in terms of protecting civil liberties and the integrity of the American Constitution. The International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP) has been at the forefront of advocacy work in this respect so as to moderate some of the excesses that are proposed in prospective legislation.

The Quagmire of Data Collection

andreas-weiland-252613-copy-1-300x200It is not only Chicago that is grappling with the issue of self-defense in the law. The public interpretations of the law vary considerably, and some of them are not strictly accurate. This is one of those issues that has the power to raise other polarizing matters such as racial disparities when encountering the criminal justice system. On the other hand, there is a legitimate interest in ensuring that criminals cannot terrorize the wider population on account of the fact that they are the ones with the guns. If they are genuinely frightened for their lives, most reasonable people would agree that property owners have a right to defend themselves. This self-defense argument can go right up to the case of justified killings.

Of course, we cannot always predict what is in someone’s mind. For example, a racist person may shoot any black person they see on their doorstep without any genuine fear. That is when the courts are left in a dilemma. The person may say that they were frightened, but that may mask their true intention. It also does not help that the moment such cases come to the media attention, America is once again divided along class and racial lines. All of a sudden, you have very successful Go-Fund-Me campaigns for the suspect, which makes a mockery of the system and gives the impression that America is an incurably racist society.

Private Property and Private Rights

alyssa-kibiloski-195807-copy-300x200There is no doubt that the enactment of anti-abortion laws is one of the most important cultural war issues in the USA at the moment. Chicago is not insulated from the arguments for and against the practice. At the moment, there are certain prohibitions and exemptions that have developed over time in response to federal law and changes in the popular attitudes to abortion. There is a prohibition on abortions of fetuses that are considered to be viable. This is anywhere between 23 and 24 weeks. Exceptions to the rule are made when there is a risk to the life or health of the pregnant person. At the same time, the state is subject to the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003, which effectively bans certain second trimester abortion procedures including extraction and intact dilation. This ban does not make exceptions for the health of the mother, a rather controversial configuration.

Although Illinois has a Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act, it is not currently enforceable. Other provisions and regulations determine who is allowed and not allowed to administer “abortion care,” as it is sometimes euphemistically called. The current practice is to restrict the right to administer the care to physicians who have a valid license to practice in the state. Others who are allowed to administer medication abortion are advanced practice clinicians including physician assistants and advanced practice nurses. There are strict licensing and regulation requirements. Many of these fall under the Illinois Medical Practice Act. There are other professional statutes that may be applicable in this instance.

Attempts to Control the Practice

tim-graf-202490-copy-300x200Few laws have created the angst that is experienced in the stop-and-search era. The basic premise is that if you come from an ethnic minority, then the chances are that you will be more likely to be stripped and searched than a member of the mainstream community, which is primarily white Caucasian in this context. It is a violation of civil liberties. There are numerous reports of these powers being abused.

The law enforcement agencies may hide behind the notion that they are merely engaging in a consensual process, but consensus can never be achieved if one of the parties to the cause is so much more powerful and influential. The power of arrest and charge is particularly compelling to any would-be suspect when he or she is deciding whether or not to resist the arrest. The law enforcement agencies have attempted to report this as a practical matter of people from ethnic minorities committing more crimes more often than their mainstream white Caucasian counterparts. Other social researchers disagree with this premise because it does not account for the impact of the systemic deprivations with which these ethnic minorities have to contend.

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