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Articles Tagged with weapons charges in Chicago

Here’s the story. The police showed up at a woman’s house claiming that someone had called in saying she discharged a weapon inside of her home. They found a .22 caliber single-shot Remington rifle on the property and promptly charged her for possessing a weapon without a FOID card. The weapon had not been discharged, and witnesses at the apartment complex said they did not hear a gunshot. It turned out that the call was made by an estranged ex who wanted to engineer a criminal prosecution against the defendant.

The defendant argued that Illinois’ FOID Law was unconstitutional. The circuit court agreed and vacated her prosecution. However, the Supreme Court was asked to rule on the Constitutionality of Illinois’ FOID card law and would not rule that it was unconstitutional. The prosecution may be remanded back to the circuit court leaving the prosecution unclear under the law. Below, we will discuss the law and why it may be unconstitutional.

Is Illinois’ FOID Card Law Constitutional?

Under the law, police officers face the same consequences for committing crimes that the general public does. The issue that comes into play is the fact that police officers have more ability to manipulate the law to their advantage than the general public does. When they commit crimes, they understand how an investigation will unfold, they can cover their tracks, and they have the support of their brothers in blue to back them up.

Recently, an off-duty Chicago police officer was charged with discharging her weapon at Sam’s Club when a team of thieves attempted to swipe her SUV. She was in the parking lot with her husband when the theft occurred. The officer opened fire on the thieves and has since been charged with a crime: Reckless discharge of a weapon. Did she really commit a crime?

Analyzing the Charges

When you think of gun trafficking charges, you generally think of hit TV shows like The Sons of Anarchy. On the show, the bikers formed an uneasy alliance with the Irish Republican Army who manufactured guns for sale on American streets. The bikers made alliances with the cartel and were generally a mass distributor of weapons to criminal organizations. In other words, they dealt in quantity. While gun trafficking like this does occur, it is much more likely that weapons trafficking charges will take on a more modest form.

In one local case, four men were charged with the illegal sale of weapons on the streets to individual buyers. The guns were purchased at gun shows around the country, distributed to a St. Louis defendant who moved the guns into Chicago, where they were distributed to a street-level dealer who sold the guns on the black market. All of this is outside the regulatory framework of gun sales. That makes it illegal. However, it is much easier to pull off a scheme like this than it is to be responsible for managing international distribution over the ocean. Hence, it is much more common to see weapons trafficking charges take this form rather than criminal organizations acting as logistics to gun manufacturers. 

From the Street Level Up

Prosecutors have dropped felony charges against a suspect who was implicated in the shooting death of a 7-year-old girl and an injury to her 6-year-old sister. Prosecutors refused to pursue felony charges against one of the suspects citing the lack of evidence and the failure of one witness to cooperate. The witness is believed to be a relative of the girls and was in a dispute with one of the suspects. Without this witness’s testimony, the murder trial against at least one suspect will not move forward. Prosecutors also cited a lack of a confession or video evidence as a reason to drop the felony charges.

The outraged police officers threatened to ignore the prosecutors and try the case themselves. But the prosecutor said they would dismiss the case if the police took that route. To avoid a public battle between police and prosecutors, police backed down from their threats. The suspect is now being held on a minor parole violation. However, the felony charges against him related to the shooting are gone. 

The State Attorney’s Office issued a statement that said that prosecutors and police are now in accord with the handling of the case. Prosecutors reiterated that there was simply not enough evidence to bring the case to trial. The Chicago Police Department did not issue a comment when asked.

An Indiana man is in deep water after a gun he purchased in Indiana was used to shoot two Chicago police officers recently — one of them fatally. Police say that the semi-auto handgun was purchased in Indiana as part of a straw operation.

Essentially, felons skirt federal background check requirements by setting up straw buyers to purchase weapons on their behalf for a fee. The gun, however, remains registered in the name of the straw buyer. When that gun shows up on the streets after being used to injure one cop and kill another, you can bet that the police will come after the individual who purchased the gun illegally, placing it into the stream of commerce, with the result that one cop was fatally killed.

According to police, the defendant purchased the weapon at a federal firearms dealership in Indiana. Shortly thereafter, it was used in violent crimes against police.

Chicago PD announced a new team that will target straw purchasers for guns. Essentially, felons or others who would otherwise be prevented from applying for a gun permit pay someone else to perform the transaction for them. The straw buyer then gives the weapon to the felon who now has a gun. According to Chicago police, this is how a large number of weapons sold outside of Chicago end up on Chicago streets. 

The federal-local team will consist of Chicago P.D. and the ATF. Investigators are focusing on gun traffickers, straw purchasers, and unscrupulous gun store owners who do less than the legal requirement to ensure their buyers are legitimate.

Illegal Gun Sales at Legal Gun Stores

Three soldiers out of Fort Campbell have been charged with purchasing and selling weapons, some of which were used in violent homicides in Chicago, according to NPR. The three men are enlisted U.S. Army members from Fort Campbell which is home to the 101st Airborne Division. The U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Division and the ATF teamed up to make the arrests. 

The trio has been charged with a slew of crimes related to the illegal trafficking of weapons. These will be charged as federal crimes. These include transferring a firearm to an out-of-state resident, making false statements concerning the acquisition of a firearm, wire fraud, money laundering, and other charges related to the scheme. 

Prosecutors have identified the ring leader as 24-year-old Brandon Miller. Prosecutors have asked that Miller be denied bond as he allegedly poses a significant flight risk.

Three Chicago men are facing weapons charges after President Donald Trump deployed federal agents to Chicago during “Operation Legend.” These three men are the first to face charges under Operation Legend

In late July, Trump announced the deployment of “hundreds” of federal agents. The move was initially met with skepticism and outright anger by Chicago officials, but Mayor Lori Lightfoot eventually welcomed the troops after a personal phone call from President Trump. 

Since announcing the operation, federal agents have aided in the arrests of the Black Disciples gang, which operates on Chicago’s south side and these three weapons charges, which we will discuss in more detail below.

ryan-ei-cl8xcbco-unsplash-copy-300x200An ex-Chicago cop’s son is free on bail after being accused of shooting three people. 26-year-old Steven Bradley, Jr. is charged with attempted murder. His fiancee put up the $25,000 necessary for his release. 

The shootings occurred in Dolton, a small Chicago suburb that saw an uptick in criminal activity. Local law enforcement expressed shock and dismay that Bradley was allowed free on bail after being charged with three attempted homicides. 

Violent Crime and Bail

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?

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