Archive for December, 2012
December 31st, 2012 at 6:32 am
Michael A. Escort, 52, a Joliet man currently serving time for a different crime has been convicted of a 1989 murder, according to the Chicago Tribune. Escort is currently in prison for an aggravated criminal sexual assault and aggravated kidnapping conviction, but is now also facing charges of first-degree murder of an Englewood woman named Mary Smith. Police News Affairs told the Tribune that “DNA evidence linked Escort to the murder and he was in the custody of the Illinois Department of Corrections when he was arrested for the murder.” Bond has been set at $750,000, but—because he is already in prison—Escort cannot be released on bond.
Post-conviction DNA testing is controversial. The most active group in favor of DNA testing is the Innocence Project, a non-profit associated with the Cardozo School of Law at Yeshiva University. According to Innocence Project data, “301 people in the United States have been exonerated by DNA testing, including 18 who served time on death row. These people served an average of 13 years in prison before exoneration and release.” Advocates of post-conviction DNA testing say it’s especially important for people convicted of crimes before DNA testing was available.
Yet opponents of DNA testing, like that that could sentence Escort to an even longer sentence than he’s already serving, say that DNA testing shouldn’t be treated as the end-all, be-all means of evidence. According to the New Scientist, “different forensic analysts can reach very different conclusions about whether or not DNA matches a profile from a crime scene.”
If you or someone you know has been wrongly accused of a crime—or is facing conviction due to faulty DNA testing—don’t go through it alone. The most important step to exoneration is contacting a dedicated Illinois criminal defense attorney today.
Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net
December 27th, 2012 at 5:09 am
With the increased use of social media and smart phones, the Illinois Toll Way has decided to create a Twitter account. The toll way tweets to provide drivers with information for each of the four toll ways: the Tri-State, Jane Adams Memorial, Reagan Memorial, and Veterans Memorial toll ways.
Travelers now have to option to follow each of the toll ways on Twitter and can receive real-time roadway incident information, according to the Illinois Toll Way.
The Illinois Toll Way Executive Director Kristi Lafleur shared in a news release, “Toll Way Trip Tweets will help us connect to our customers in a new way and, hopefully, give them the information they need to be able to plan their trips based on what’s happening on the road.”
The tweets include updates such as information on roadway conditions, accident reports as they happen, and updates on congestion, according to the toll way.
Details in the tweets may include real-time information about the type of incident, the location based on the nearest crossroad and milepost and the subsequent impact on traffic, such as lane closures, said the Illinois Toll Way. It was reported that as many as three messages may be sent using Twitter for each incident. The final tweet will be the conclusion and clearing of the incident from the roadway.
Toll Way Trip Tweets are issued automatically from the agency’s Traffic Operations Center, Traffic and Incident Management System, which is staffed from 4 a.m. to 10 p.m.
To follow Toll Way Trip Tweets, you can visit the Too Way’s website and click the Toll Way Trip Tweets “Follow Us” button. Or, visit www.twitter.com to set up an account, and then follow: TollwayTrip90, TollwayTrip94/294, TollwayTrip88, and TollwayTrip355
Even with many extra precautions being taken this season to keep drivers safe, there will still be accidents. If you find yourself at fault of a traffic violation this season, contact a traffic law attorney for help today. The Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley can help you today.
December 25th, 2012 at 5:09 am
Traffic fatalities on Illinois roads have been on the rise this year, with the number at about 937 so far. This has prompted the Illinois Department of Transportation and the Illinois Toll Way to urge drivers to be safe as millions of motorists hit the roads for the holidays.
The Illinois Toll Way alone, expects 15.7 million vehicles on the toll way system during the Christmas and New Year holidays. This includes the weekend before Christmas all the way through January 2.
Over the last three years, traffic fatalities have been under 1,000, according to Josh Kauffman, spokeman from the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT).
That figure has been the lowest since 1921, said Kauffman.
That number, however, has been on a steady increase this year, he said. Last year, there were only 813 deaths.
He said that there are a number of reasons why fatalities are increasing including a higher number of travelers, bad weather, distracted driving, and impaired driving. Speeding, texting while driving, and seat belt use can also be named as causes for the increased number of fatalities, he said. Kauffman added that often, it’s a combination of those factors.
IDOT has a few campaigns, including Click It or Ticket, aimed at improving safety. The department also uses dynamic message boards on the roads that remind drivers of the dangers of texting and driving and speeding. These boards also update the number of fatalities, said Kauffman.
The latest campaign is Driving Zero Fatalities to Reality. Posting the number of fatalities on the message boards is part of the efforts. The message can translate to positive behavior and defensive driving. There is also increases state and local police traffic enforcement during the holiday season.
Driving Zero Fatalities to Reality was successful during the Thanksgiving holiday which saw a 63 percent decrease in deaths, according to IDOT. There were only three motor vehicle fatalities and two crashes during the four-day holiday weekend, compared to eight fatalities and seven crashed in 2011.
The Toll Way is also warning drivers to be extra safe during the holidays. Illinois Toll Way Executive Director Kristi Lafleur said that cell phone distractions were the primary or secondary cause in 1,130 vehicle crashes of 2011.
If you have found yourself in trouble from a traffic violation this season, contact the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley in Rolling Meadows to defend you. These traffic attorneys can help you stay out of trouble this holiday season, but remember to drive safely.
December 22nd, 2012 at 11:39 am
A 17-year-old teen faces criminal charges for his involvement in a single-vehicle crash that caused the death of a southwest suburban teen, according to a story in the Chicago Tribune. The juvenile driver has been charged with reckless homicide, aggravated reckless driving and reckless driving. If convicted, he could end up in a juvenile detention facility for anywhere from two to four years.
The juvenile driver said that he lost the control of his vehicle because he attempted to avoid hitting a deer in the road. However, two other teens said that the stretch of road where the accident took place is known by young people as a good place for racing. The juvenile was driving his pickup when he lost control, and the truck flipped and hit a tree, causing the driver and the victim to be thrown out of the truck. The victim, Jay Vana, was found beneath the vehicle by the emergency crew, and both teens were taken to Silver Cross Hospital in New Lenox, where Vana was pronounced dead.
Vana, 16, was a student at Lockport Township High School. He was not wearing a seat belt when the crash happened. The driver was not drunk at the time of the accident, but he was driving above the speed limit of 35 mph, according to police.
If you or a loved one is a juvenile and faces criminal charges, you should get assistance from a capable lawyer who knows the ins and outs of the juvenile court procedures. It may be possible to get the charges dropped completely or significantly reduced. Get your child’s life back on track. Contact an experienced juvenile crime attorney in Illinois immediately.
December 21st, 2012 at 2:30 pm
Robert G. Geniesse, 50, the former chief executive officer of a social service agency in Naperville, fled America a few days before being charged with embezzling over $200,000 from the agency, the Chicago Tribune reported on December 18.
The agency, Our Children’s Homestead, is a non-profit organization which tries to find homes for children with special needs. Geniesse was fired from Our Children’s Homestead 18 months ago, when the agency’s board of directors started to suspect him. “People here were devastated by what he did,” said the agency’s Chief Executive Officer Kurt Friedenauer. Despite everything, the adoption and foster care agency has been able to continue its operations.
A warrant was issued for Geniesse’s arrest on October 25 after a DuPage County grand jury found him guilty of 10 felonies, including stealing more than $100,000 from Our Children’s Homestead. Geniesse used the money, for example, to finance his own film production company. He fled to Germany before the charges. “Investigation determined that Geniesse fled to Frankfurt, Germany, five days before the warrant was issued,” FBI agent Mark Wallschlaeger said. Geniesse’s wife had already fled to Germany about a month before Geniesse. Authorities said they will seek to extradite him as soon as he is caught in Germany.
White collar crimes such as embezzlement can carry harsh penalties from prison time to heavy fines. If you have become the subject of a white collar crime investigation, you should act immediately. Fleeing the country will not make the charges go away. Instead, you should contact a skilled criminal defense attorney in Chicago.
December 15th, 2012 at 3:37 am
A Chicago cop who was off-duty crashed into a bicyclist in August in the Logan Square neighborhood, reports the Chicago Tribune. Michael Bergeson, 33, stopped his pickup truck after the crash and called police, but when he heard an ambulance approaching, he fled. He failed to notice though that the license plate from his car had been knocked off in the crash. Police found the plate and were able to identify the reckless driver.
Bergeson was charged with leaving the scene of an accident and filing a false police report. Both charges are felonies and may result in prison time and heavy fines. When facing a felony charge, it is always a good idea to contact a skilled criminal defense lawyer. Bergeson also falsely claimed that the woman bicyclist fled the scene after the crash. The 25-year-old woman was knocked unconscious in the crash and suffered injuries to her face and feet and got bruises on her body.
The hit-and-run crash was witnessed by the victim’s boyfriend. The boyfriend saw the truck speeding and driving recklessly. The truck then ran a stop sign and hit the victim’s bicycle, and the woman was thrown off her bike and knocked her head. The off-duty officer got out of his car and asked the victim if she was okay, the witness said. The cop called 911 twice without telling his name, started his truck, drove around the victim and damaged two parked vehicles before he managed to flee. Bergeson has been relieved of his police duties and is currently working in an administrative post with pay.
If you have been charged with a felony, you need assistance with your legal matters. The faster you talk to an experienced lawyer, the faster you can move on with your life. Contact a criminal defense attorney in Chicago today.
December 11th, 2012 at 5:55 am
Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy praised the department’s efforts this year. Earlier in the year, homicides skyrocketed and the department’s crime fighting strategy has been working hard to decrease the murder rate since.
At a news conference at the police headquarters, McCarthy told reporters that although the problem is not completely fixed, the department is doing better and he that needs to be recognized. “I can’t change what happened in the first quarter. What I can do, is to fix it going forward.”
Compared with 2011 at the same time, homicides had increased 66 percent in Chicago by April of 2012. McCarthy shared that that rate had been gradually brought down throughout the year to only about an 18 percent increase from last year.
McCarthy gave credit of the reduction of homicides was given to the city’s decision to demolish more vacant buildings, arrest more gang members, and focus police attention on individuals are individuals that are more likely to commit future crimes. He said that, in general, the city is seeing less overall crime than it has for decades.
Chicago is reported to currently have the lowest crime rate that the city had seen in 30 years, according to McCarthy. The city seems to be in such a good crime position that it may even be in the lead for the whole nation for crime reduction.
Just after McCarthy praised the Chicago Police Department, the department retired the star of Officer Clifton Lewis. He was murdered last December while he was working off-duty as a security guard at an Austin convenience store.
Although crime rates have decreased in Chicago, there is still plenty occurring. If you are in criminal trouble contact the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley. These experienced criminal attorneys can help you today. Contact them or stop by in Rolling Meadows, Illinois.
December 9th, 2012 at 5:49 am
An Illinois state-funded program paid for teenagers across Chicago’s South Side to earn $8.75 this fall passing out flier about non-violence. This program pumped about $55 million into Chicago’s toughest neighborhoods and three suburbs to fight gang violence.
CNN launched a four-month investigation and found that the Neighborhood Recovery Initiative (NRI) paid teens to hand out inner peace promoting fliers and also paid for the at-risk teens to go on field trips to museums, march in a parade with the governor, and attend a yoga class to teach them how to handle stress.
Earlier in the year, state legislators demanded an audit on the program, which is now underway.
Supporters of the program argue that it kept kids off the streets of Chicago’s most dangerous neighborhoods and helped inner city youth become exposed to new cultures, along with encouraging future leaders.
Critics of the program, however, argue that it was a waste of taxpayers’ money, due to the rise in the city’s murder rate since the start of the program two years ago. They have also suggested that it may have been an effort for the governor to buy votes for a tight race.
Pat Quinn became governor of Illinois in 2009, following a corruption scandal that took down his predecessor, Rod Blagojevich. After completing Blagojevich’s term, Quinn just barely won the Democratic primary to run for the full term in 2010. Again, he narrowly won governorship against his Republican opponent.
In October 2010, Quinn announced his Neighborhood Recovery Initiative, to make an impact at the root causes of violence by creating 3,000 jobs for young people.
The opposing Republican Party questioned the timing of this big announcement and many are concerned about how the program will be funded.
Quinn, however, insisted that the initiative was in direct response to the relentless violence that Chicago experienced in the summer of 2010.
The program’s accomplishments include the creation of more than 3,484 jobs, counseling for more than 3,100 children, and help to more than 1,175 ex-cons, as reported by the Illinois Violence Prevention Authority.
The Neighborhood Recovery Initiative is still a new program and has kinks still being worked out, but many kids and young adults are being kept out of criminal trouble because of it. If you are in some kind of legal trouble, contact an Illinois criminal attorney for help. The Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley can help you this holiday season.
December 7th, 2012 at 5:36 am
A judge has denied bail for a 73-year-old Albany Park man, who is facing murder charges for shooting his son during a fight. The incident happened at the family’s home on the Northwest Side, according to authorities. The Chicago Tribune reported a story on this murder case.
Tim Gilbert, 73, appeared in court on November 27, and the judge ordered that there will be no bail for Gilbert, the Cook County sheriff’s office said. According to Chicago Police Department News Affairs Officer Robert Perez, Gilbert, who lived on the 4900 block of the North Whipple Street in Chicago, was charged with murder in the killing of his son.
The victim in the fight that led to the shooting was 24-year-old Bryan Lopez. According to News Affairs Officer Perez, Lopez was shot on November 15 during a physical fight with his father, Gilbert.
Lopez was pronounced dead at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center within an hour of the incident. According to the Cook County medical examiner’s office, the cause of death was a gunshot to the head.
Gilbert has a former conviction for felony burglary back in 1988, and he was sentenced to seven years in the Illinois Department of Corrections for it, according to records.
The victim, Lopez, was a ward of state, but Gilbert had had custody for many years, Perez said.
Murder is, of course, the most serious of all criminal charges, but none are to be taken lightly. If you are facing criminal charges or need the help of a criminal defense attorney for a loved one, contact an experienced defense attorney in your area. Our offices provide services for many counties in Illinois, so if you need a criminal defense attorney and your area is one that we take clients in, contact us as soon as possible.
December 5th, 2012 at 5:36 am
Kidnapping, rape, robbery, and carjacking are among the charges filed against a man, who is already in jail awaiting his murder trial. According to authorities, the man has been in jail awaiting his trial for slaying a woman since 2009. The Chicago Tribune reported a story on the man and the impressive list of charges against him.
The new charges that Melvin Fagan is facing are not connected to his previous charges for slaying the woman, who was found strangled in a vacant building.
Fagan is now accused of kidnapping a woman and sexually assaulting her for more than two days. The alleged sexual assault took place in March of 2010. In addition to these charges, he is charged in the robbery and carjacking of an elderly man, 76, in December 2011.
Fagan, 38, had been serving a misdemeanor sentence when he was charged for the strangulation, which he is awaiting trial for. This happened back in December 2009, when police were called to a building where they found a body that was almost frozen.
These are not the first charges against Fagan, who has an arrest record going back to 1994. He has been in prison for unlawful use of a weapon, armed robbery, and drug charges.
Any criminal charge you or a loved one are facing is serious, and you should always get an experienced criminal defense attorney to help you. A conviction can change the rest of your life, so these are not matters you should take lightly. Contact our Rolling Meadows, Illinois defense attorneys when you need help with criminal charges.