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Archive for June, 2012

New Illinois Law Seeks to Escalate Gang Prosecution

June 29th, 2012 at 1:21 pm

 

On June 11th, Governor Pat Quinn signed a new law that will allow local authorities to pursue street gangs.  In a measure that was approved by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, the law is known as the Street Gang RICO Law, which stands for Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations. Mayor Emanuel said the law would provide a “critical tool that will give local law enforcement the power to prosecute gang leaders for crimes that they ordered others to commit.”

 

The law is based in part on the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act which assigns heavy penalties for those gang leaders who order hits and other criminal activities.  Through linking isolated crimes with conspiracy charges, much bigger cases can be brought against gang leaders.  The street gang RICO law lists over a dozen of crimes such as murder for hire, kidnapping, hijacking and sex trafficking; it also imposes harder penalties.  The new state law allows for sentences of more than 30 years and fines of up to $250,000 for charges of criminal conspiracy.

 

Per capita, the greater Chicago area is thought to have the largest gang population in the United States.  Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy has stated that the city has 100,000 gang members in over 600 gangs.  He also stated that around 75% to 80% of the areas shootings and homicides are gang-related.  The law is in effect right now, but it is set to expire in 5 years for a legislative review.  The law has found universal support from lawmakers and law enforcement alike due to the breadth of its use.

 

Working up a RICO case is arduous and very time consuming, but the end result is a far reaching.  Everyone from low-level workers to the top generals in the gang world can be convicted of a vast array of crimes. Rockford Police Chief Chet Epperson knows that “but the end result is you are able to take out an illegal organization — in this case, a street gang.  If it takes time to work on that, we are committed to that effort. We are going to use every means possible to eradicate street gangs.”  If you or a loved one are affected by this new law, please contact a devoted criminal defense lawyer in Illinois today.

 

Two Teenagers Bring Handgun to Elementary School

June 27th, 2012 at 1:21 pm

A recent report in the Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago police officers arrested two teenagers for possessing a handgun at Finkl Academy, an elementary school on Chicago’s Southwest Side. After a student privy to the incident reported that they had witnessed a 14-year-old girl handling a gun at school, school officials called the girl into the school office. The girl surrendered the gun to school officials without incident, while claiming that she was holding the gun for a male 15-year-old student until after school. Both teenagers now face gun possession charges in juvenile court.

With countless reports of school violence across the nation these days, school officials and law enforcement authorities cannot afford to take reports of a student possessing a gun at school lightly. As a result, the potential consequences for a minor facing gun possession and other gun-related charges can be quite severe. Not only can these children face expulsion from school, but they may face other penalties through the juvenile court system, including a period of incarceration. Whenever any person is charged with a gun-related criminal offense, you must take these charges seriously, even if the alleged offender is a juvenile.

A Rolling Meadows, IL criminal defense attorney who has experience handling juvenile criminal charges is best situated to evaluate your case. They can also provide legal representation to a minor charged with a criminal gun offense. Do not delay in contacting a qualified criminal defense lawyer as soon as an arrest occurs.

Joliet Crash Kills Plainfield Man

June 23rd, 2012 at 2:35 pm

The Chicago Tribune has reported that a June 9th motor vehicle accident on I-80 near Joliet has claimed the life of a 25-year-old Plainfield motorcyclist. Juan Juarez Del-Angel was riding his motorcycle on I-80 west of I-55 when a Kia sport utility vehicle driven by 42-year-old Aaron Pointer of Joliet lost control when merging onto I-80 from I-55 and drove directly into the path of Del-Angel’s motorcycle. Del-Angel, who was wearing a helmet at the time of the crash, was pronounced dead shortly thereafter at a Joliet hospital.

At the time of the crash, Pointer was driving on a suspended license and had no insurance coverage. Authorities also ticketed Pointer for improper lane usage.

As you can see, what started as a few relatively minor offenses has resulted in the death of another person. While it is unclear in this case why Pointer lost control of his vehicle, the reality is that he was violating the law in choosing to drive his SUV, and therefore caused a fatal accident. As a result, depending on the circumstances that the investigation into this crash reveals, Pointer could theoretically face much more serious criminal charges.

When you face even minor criminal charges such as traffic offenses, you should ensure that you have the best defense possible. Minor charges can often turn into major criminal charges overnight in certain situations. Therefore, it is essential that you contact a qualified Cook County criminal defense lawyer for assistance when you are charged with any type of crime.

Visit to Jail Lands Man in a Cell of His Own

June 20th, 2012 at 2:24 pm

Julius Price, 23, managed to evade police for two weeks. The Chicago man had been identified as the prime suspect in the stabbing of four Guardian Angels on a North Side “L” platform. Ironically, Price was arrested after attempting to visit his co-defendant, Keith Gunn, 34, at the Cook County Jail. When arrested, Price was carrying a Bible and a length of rope.

Prosecutors told the Chicago Tribune that Gunn had pistol-whipped a 27 year old passenger on the train in an attempt to steal the man’s cell phone. When he fled with the phone, four Angels caught him and brought him down to the ground. Price allegedly approached the group with a knife.

According to the report, Price stabbed one of the Angles in the lower abdomen and another in the upper arm, which took eleven stitches to close. He cut another on the right arm, sending that man to the hospital for seventeen stitches. Another Angel was stabbed on top of the head and was also bitten on the arm. Both Price and Gunn ran away but the attack was caught on security cameras.

Prosecutors say Price has a long criminal history. He was convicted of misdemeanor battery in 2005 and residential burglary in 2006. He was sentenced to eight years in prison for the burglary conviction. Price is now being charged with four counts of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon and his bail has been set at $750,000.

The amount of Price’s bail indicates just how serious the charges against him are. Conviction could result in a very long prison sentence. If you have been arrested and charged with battery, it’s important to hire an experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney who can defend you and protect your rights.

Former Bank Account Accused of Embezzling Almost $280,000

June 17th, 2012 at 2:08 pm

Shaun Horan, 31, of Aurora, worked as an accountant at Resource One Bank in Oak Brook from 2007 to 2011. He was recently charged with embezzling almost $300,000 from his former employer.  Authorities allege that Horan wrote himself unauthorized checks totaling $286,237.23 from the company account, and in an attempt to conceal the thefts, either deleted or changed entries in the company’s books.

A co-worker discovered the missing money in December while reviewing bank records. A follow up internal audit by the bank confirmed the amount of the money that had been stolen. According to prosecutors, by then, Horan had already spent some of the money on a down payment for a house and a new car.

The Daily Herald reports that Horan is married with two children and has been working for a Chicago-based staffing service for about the past three months. He was charged with one count of theft over $100,000 and faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted. His bail was set at $250,000.

State’s Attorney Robert Berlin said in a statement, “White collar crimes, such as what is alleged in this case, can not only pose a great hardship to the victim, but can have an enormous impact on society as well. When a company is defrauded, it must make up for its losses by raising costs, which ultimately means higher prices for consumers.”

Berlinalso added, “Additionally, this can also result in less pay for employees and even job losses. The effect can continue to ripple when it comes to those employees who now find themselves unable to pay off loans, and credit becomes harder to obtain.”

If you are accused of committing a white collar crime, or any other crime, you need to retain the services of an experienced Elk Grove criminal defense attorney to ensure your rights are protected.

College Student Convicted of Hate Crime

June 14th, 2012 at 2:06 pm

An Elmhurst College student has been convicted on charges that he carved racial epithets into the window sill of another student’s dorm room. Myles Burton, 21, had been arrested and charged in December with a felony hate crime connected to the property damage. He was indicted by a grand jury in January.

According to a report in Patch, Burton, from Libertyville, is accused of carving the words “KKK,” “Negro” and “I hate black people” into the stone window sill of the school’s only African-American dorm supervisor. He was found guilty after a two hour bench trial. Prosecutors told the court that Burton was intoxicated and angry when he committed the crime.

Burton told police that he was angry at his basketball coach for calling him a ‘racist’ and only vandalized the building to show “what a real racist does”. In a recorded police interview, he admitted that he knew that those words would be frightening to any black person. It was that interview that the judge cited when handing down his verdict. Burton’s attorney had tried arguing that Burton didn’t know the home he was damaging belonged to an African-American.

The Daily Herald reported that the incident was recorded on security cameras and showed Burton using a rock to carve the epitaphs. Two other students, Samuel Ficker and Michael McCurdy, were also identified as being present and were charged with misdemeanors.

The female victim, 28, testified during the trial how she discovered the vandalism. “I was taken aback because I never saw anything like that before,” she said. “I was immediately afraid. I was raised in Mississippi, and I am very aware of what the KKK means and symbolizes.”

Burtonis scheduled for sentencing on June 19. He faces up to five years in prison.

Depending on the circumstances, an accusation of vandalism can escalate into much more serious charges. If you are arrested and charged with a crime, you need an experienced attorney to represent your rights in court. Contact a qualified Cook County criminal defense lawyer today!

DNA Testing on Alleged Murder Weapon Allowed

June 11th, 2012 at 1:54 pm

The Naperville Sun is reporting that a DuPont County judge is allowing DNA testing on a knife that prosecutors say Daniel Olaska, 28, used to kill Shaun Wild in a nightclub confrontation in February. Prosecutors claim they need two blood stains that were found on the knife tested in order to confirm that the knife was the actual murder weapon that killed Wild, a schoolteacher from Naperville.

The stabbing occurred at Frankie’s Blue Room in downtown Naperville. According to prosecutors, one of Wild’s friends, William Hayes, began arguing with the defendant over Olaska drinking beer out of a wine glass. Olaska stood up and stabbed Hayes, 22, with a folding knife. When Wild interceded on his friend’s behalf, he was stabbed in the chest. A nightclub employee, Rafael Castenada, was also wounded.

Olaska was held at the club and arrested as he tried to leave. Security cameras caught the stabbings, and there were witnesses to the event. Those are the reasons that Olaska’s attorney didn’t object to the DNA testing.  “I don’t think the results will be relevant. It’s not who-done-it,” said Brian Telander, who has indicated he may argue the stabbings occurred in self-defense during an altercation.

Currently being held at without bond, Olaska has been charged with fourteen different counts, including one count of first-degree murder and two counts of attempted first-degree murder.

A first-degree murder conviction in Illinois can result in a sentence of life in prison and possibly even the death penalty. If you are facing criminal charges after attempting to protect yourself or loved ones from physical harm, you need to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney.

Feds Criminally Charge Chicago Commodities Trader for Operating $8 Million Ponzi Scheme

June 8th, 2012 at 9:20 am

According to the Chicago Tribune, a complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois charges 36-year-old Bradley Scott Schiller of Chicago with solicitation fraud, misappropriation of investment funds, and issuance of false investment statements.

The Commodity Future Trading Commission (CFTC) alleges that between 2008 and 2012, Schiller used false account statements showing his success as a trader to solicit more than $7.8 million from six investors for trading commodity futures in managed accounts. Schiller then used funds from newly solicited investors to pay off funds owed to old investors, thus creating a complex Ponzi scheme. He was able to gain new investors by lying about his successes and providing them with false account statements he had created.

Meanwhile, Schiller allegedly deposited only $3.7 million of the funds to be invested in actual trading accounts, later losing $1.6 million in trading and then withdrawing $2.1 million from the accounts. This left the accounts with balances near zero. It is alleged that Schiller used the money to fund his expensive automobiles, a high-rise condominium, and pay other personal expenses.

Federal criminal charges involving complex financial accounts and transactions can result in very complicated criminal proceedings supported by extensive documentary evidence. Examining all of this evidence takes a great deal of time and specialized skills in order to adequately prepare your case. Furthermore, the penalties for convictions of these federal crimes can be very severe. As a result, you need the assistance of a skilled, experienced criminal defense attorney in Rolling Meadows, Illinois, to help you through your extensive, time-consuming, and often stressful proceedings.

Woman Steals Ambulance from Hospital

June 5th, 2012 at 9:32 am

The Chicago Tribune reports that a woman who stole a Chicago Fire Department ambulance from St. Bernard Hospital in the Englewood neighborhood was arrested after she crashed the ambulance several blocks from the hospital. Law enforcement authorities stated that 30-year-old Cassie Weathersby was not injured after she stole the ambulance for unknown reasons and soon crashed it into another vehicle. Weathersby is being held on $25,000 bond for criminal charges of vehicle theft, driving on a suspended license, and driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI).

There are a variety of situations that might lead to a driver’s license suspension, including DUI, failure to provide proof of vehicle insurance as requested, and excessive traffic citations. When your driver’s license is already suspended and you are caught driving, you undoubtedly face an additional suspension period if convicted of this crime. Furthermore, a DUI conviction results in a driver’s license suspension period, as well.  As a result, Weathersby would do well to immediately contact an experienced DUI attorney for assistance with her case, as she is facing a potentially lengthy period without her driver’s license, as well as other serious penalties.

Vehicle theft is another serious criminal charge that you cannot afford to take lightly. If convicted, you could face fines, imprisonment, and possible restitution, in this case, for the costs of the damages to the stolen ambulance. Depending on your criminal history and all relevant circumstances, this theft could result in less severe or more severe penalties. Do not risk facing a theft charge on your own. Take the initiative and contact a skilled and qualified Rolling Meadows, DUI lawyer for assistance in your case, and rest assured that you will have the best defense possible to any criminal charges.

Lake Forest Woman Avoids Jail Sentence in DUI Case

June 2nd, 2012 at 9:21 am

According to the Naperville Sun, 39-year-old Karuna Talwar of Lake Forest has pleaded guilty to a charge of Driving Under the Influence (DUI) in the DuPage County Circuit Court. Talwar is the founder of Pay it Forward Foundation of Gurnee, IL, a local charitable foundation.

Talwar stopped her vehicle last winter on a busy street in downtown Naperville in order to exchange text messages with her husband. An officer who noticed her stopped car in the northbound lane of Washington Street approached Talwar’s vehicle and arrested her on DUI charges and other infractions, including operating a motor vehicle while using an electronic communications device.

In return for her guilty plea to DUI, the other infractions were dropped, and Talwar received a sentence of one year of supervision, $1,500 in fines and costs, Level 2 DUI monitoring, and mandatory attendance at a drunk driving victim impact panel. Her sentence included no jail time to be served.

Additionally, Talwar must comply with all terms and condition of supervision and monitoring for a year, or risk further penalties, which might include jail time. As you can see, a DUI conviction can result in serious penalties and high financial costs.

If you are accused of DUI, you face the possibility of significant fines, supervision, and even jail time. An experienced DUI lawyer is essential if you wish to have any chance of minimizing these consequences or of avoiding a conviction altogether. Contact your Cook County DUI criminal defense attorney now and get the information you need in order to put yourself in the best position possible with regarding to your pending DUI charges.

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