Archive for the ‘Criminal defense’ Category

Felon Facing New Charges Due to DNA Testing

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

 

Man Embezzles Hundreds of Thousands from Children’s Adoption Agency

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.

Off-duty Cop Involved in Hit-and-Run Crash 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.

Chicago police boss says they’re doing better

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.

$55 million program to cut violence in Chicago

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.

Man charged for fatally shooting his son

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.

Additional charges for alleged murderer awaiting trial

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.

Elderly Woman Slain Before Her Home Burning

November 30th, 2012 at 12:42 pm

Investigations regarding the death of an 89-year-old Crest Hill woman continue, as police suspect the woman was slain before her home was torched. The case is being looked into as a homicide after an autopsy, according to police. The story was reported by the Chicago Tribune.

Dorothy Dumyahn, 89, was found dead in her burning home on November 18. Crest Hill Deputy Police Chief Ed Clark said police are investigating the case as homicide based on an autopsy report from Nov. 19. According to Clark, the fire was set deliberately, and it was an attempt to cover up the murder.

Dumyahn’s one-story home on Caton Farm Road burned well enough for people to smell the ashes days later. With the windows and doors boarded up and piles of debris at the site, the burned down building is a sad reminder of what happened there.

According to Dumyahn’s neighbor, she was a nice old lady.

Fire Protection District Battalion Chief Paul Hertzmann said there was heavy smoke coming from the building when firefighters got to the scene. Crews found the 89-year-old Dumyahn inside and brought her out of the fire, but they were not able to resuscicate, according to Hertzmann.

The fire itself was put out in about thirty minutes.

Both arson and murder are extremely serious charges. If you or a loved one are facing criminal charges of any kind, your best choice is to find a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney in your area. For an experienced criminal defense attorney in Illinois, contact our law offices.

Bartender Stabbed Chasing a Man

November 28th, 2012 at 11:54 am

A bartender in the Magnificent Mile heard a chilling scream and saw a man run through the Westin Hotel and to the streets, and reacting on pure instinct, he ran after the man. The chase ended in the bartender getting knifed, but he survived the incident. The Chicago Tribune reported a story about the chase that took an ugly turn.

Bradford Burner, 35, who was tending the bar at Westin Hotel Grill when he heard the scream said it was ”bone-chilling.” Burner pursued the subject on the streets, closing in on the man near some shops at the Hancock building. He said the man displayed a knife when Burner got closer.

“Someone yelled something. The gentleman turned around (and) saw me coming toward him,” Burner told the Chicago Tribune.

The next thing Burner knew was that the man was coming at him with a knife. Burner was cut on his chest, and he fell to the sidewalk after getting knifed.

According to police and prosecutors, Jimmy Harris had tried to rob an Oak Brook doctor in the restaurant bathroom. Harris had stabbed and struck the doctor, Mir Jafar Shah, before fleeing. Harris, 56, is a parolee with 60 prior arrests, and he had just been released from prison eight days before the stabbing.

Harris is being held no charges of attempted murder, aggravated battery and unlawful restraint.

If you or a loved one are facing criminal charges, be sure to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney in Chicago as soon as possible. Criminal charges are always serious, and they can have life-altering consequences. Do not hesitate before contacting our Illinois law offices.

Silent Witnesses makes Police Job Harder

November 23rd, 2012 at 6:39 am

It is not unusual to hear the saying “snitches get stitches” around the streets of Chicago. While it may sound like a child’s rhyme, it is a serious and threatening statement that witnesses to criminal acts. This can be especially daunting when someone witnesses a crime of violence.

Most people believe that it is the job of the police to solve the rising crimes and there is very little community trust in the police. Residents of high crime areas do not feel that the police are there to serve and protect and would rather not make their jobs easier by telling what they have seen. This reluctance to tell is just what police say makes it even harder to solve crimes that happen every day in these communities.

Chicago Police Department statistics state that arrests have been made in approximately 30 percent of shooting homicides and over 70 percent of nonfatal shootings continue to go unsolved. Not only are witnesses unwilling to talk but often times the victims themselves are unwilling to tell even when they know the perpetrator of the crime. These numbers are astounding. Police are afraid that when the perpetrators go unpunished, they will continue to victimize other people.

Chicago has a very deeply entrenched gang culture that gives even more reason for people want to keep quiet. Many residents believe that if the police cannot control the city’s gangs, how can they protect the residents who may want to step forward and report what they have seen going on?

If you or a loved one have been charged with a violent crime in Chicago or the surrounding area, you need to have an aggressive and knowledgeable criminal defense attorney at your side to make sure that not only your interests are represented, but also to ensure that your rights are protected.