Archive for the ‘Criminal defense’ Category

Three members of new Illinois legislature facing criminal charges

February 5th, 2013 at 11:29 am

 Members of Illinois’s newest General Assembly recently took the oath of office. As the state still struggles to rebuild its reputation as two consecutive governors went to prison, Illinois set another precedent of sorts; three sitting lawmakers are currently facing criminal charges.

Most recently in headline news about politics and crime in its highest office, former governor Rod Blagojevich was convicted for attempting to sell Barack Obama’s former U.S. Senate seat. Comparable circumstances cannot be recalled by experts or capitol veterans since the early 1970s, when several were rounded up for a bribery trial relating to cement trucks.

The allegations against each of the three lawmakers vary greatly from bribery, to bank fraud to trying to bring a gun onto a plane. Experts say, however, that although the charges differ, the accumulation and timing is very damaging to the state as it is already struggling to combat some of the most serious financial problems in its entire history.

The similarities of the three legislators, Rep. Derrick Smith, Rep. La Shawn Ford and Sen. Donne Trotter, end after the obvious facts of them all being Chicago Democrats who were all recently sworn into office.

Only one of these cases involves political corruption, unlike Blagojevich and former Gov. George Ryan, who were both accused of abusing their powers.

Smith was expelled from office in August on bribery charges, the first expulsion of that kind in over a century. Voters put Smith back in office in November, however. He pleaded not guilty to accepting a bribe in exchange for supporting what he had though was a day care center’s grant application.

According to state law, Smith cannot be expelled again for the same charges.

Smith has not made a public appearance since the charges, but did briefly say to reporters that being cleared of charges gives him the opportunity to “continue on doing what I was set out to do, work with my constituents.”

Each of the other two cases do not involve public office.

Ford is being faced with bank fraud charges. Allegedly, he made false statements to a bank so that he could get an increase on a line of credit. He claimed that he would use the money to fix investment properties, however, he used to funds for expenses including car loans and his 2006 campaign. Last month he pleaded not guilty, saying the incident was a mistake.

Veteran lawmaker Trotter was arrested in an airport after security workers found a gun in his bag. He pleaded not guilty as well after claiming that he simply had forgotten that the gun was in his bag.

Criminal records never look good on anyone, especially those in public office. If you are charged with a crime, contact an experienced criminal attorney for assistance to fight it. Criminal attorney Chris Cosley in Rolling Meadows, Illinois can help you fight for yourself today.

Caregiver Sentenced to Prison for Stealing From Disabled Men

February 2nd, 2013 at 3:42 pm

  The Chicago Tribune is reporting that a former house manager at Cupertino House, an assisted –living facility for disabled men, pled guilty to financial exploitation of a disabled person and received a sentence of 40 months in prison. The men were reimbursed for their financial losses through the facility’s insurance policy, and as part of her sentence, the former facility employee was ordered to repay the funds to the insurance policy. With expected time cuts, the woman could serve as little as 18 months in prison. The woman had no criminal history prior to this case.

A 37-year-old divorced and mother of three pled guilty last year to taking almost $9,000 from the facility’s five male residents through a series of bank card withdrawals. She blamed her actions on financial troubles that she had been experiencing at the time. The woman had worked at the facility for 12 years, caring for and teaching everyday living skills to the men living at the facility, all of whom have the approximate functional capacity of a 10-year-old.

As this case illustrates, even people with no previous criminal history or convictions are subject to stiff sentences if the crime is sufficiently severe under Illinois law. Although the woman in this case had never served jail time before, she is now facing a lengthy period of incarceration.

With so much at stake in a criminal case, a strong defense from the very outset of any criminal charges is essential to achieving the best outcome possible. By enlisting the assistance of an experienced Chicagoland criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible following your arrest, you will have a much greater chance of minimizing potentially serious consequences to you and your family.

Man Charged with Animal Cruelty Refuses to Give up Dogs

January 30th, 2013 at 3:34 pm

   According to a report by 89 WLS, Jarcivius Taylor refuses to give up the dogs that he has been accused of abusing. The dogs were found to be severely emaciated and malnourished. Police believe that the dogs were being used in an underground dog fighting ring.

According to law enforcement, they were given an anonymous tip by a neighbor reporting that he was abusing animals at his residence. Upon the execution of a search warrant, they found two severely injured dogs. There was one female and one male dog who both had what were described as gruesome injuries. Both of them had deformed front legs, wounds that were still open and a myriad of old scars. All of these injuries are indicative of dog fighting. The female dog was extremely underweight and doctors stated that she showed signs of overbreeding. Her paws were stained by urine which proves that she was forced to stand in her own filth for extended periods of time. She is in such bad shape that she may need to be euthanized.

Law enforcement also found several illegal firearms, cocaine, marijuana and cash. Even with the overwhelming evidence against him, he refuses to give up the dogs to the authorities. He is facing charges of aggravated animal cruelty as well as various drug and gun charges.

If you find yourself being charged with misdemeanor or felony charges, you need to retain an aggressive and experienced Illinois criminal defense attorney right away. Your attorney will ensure that your case is handled correctly and that your case is presented to the court in the best way possible. Do not let the police or prosecution lead you to believe that you do not have a chance to win the case at all. In most cases, even with overwhelming evidence, your attorney can make a deal with the prosecuting attorneys.

Woman Driving Home from Funeral Arrested for DUI

January 27th, 2013 at 11:02 am

  Four women were on their way home from a funeral early on Wednesday night.  The driver, Cindy Giron, claimed that they were being ‘chased’ by a vehicle which caused her to hit a concrete planter box that divided the road.  They were driving east on Madison Street and just passing Bishop at 12:50 am when the single car accident occurred.

The damage done to Giron’s car made it not drivable.  The police who responded to the scene noticed all the girls were out of the car, including Giron’s sister who was lying flat on the pavement, which had Giron visibly shaken.  She continually asked the officers what she “did to her sister” and questioned if her sister was going to die while crying uncontrollably.  Luckily, no one involved was seriously hurt although they were transported to local hospitals.

As the authorities were cleaning up the accident and assessing the damage done, they came across a gallon jug of Carlo Rossi wine which was three quarters empty.  The women had also had been drinking wine earlier in the night at the funeral.  When Giron was tested, her blood alcohol level was 0.246, which is over three times the legal limit of .08.

She was charged with felony aggravated DUI and two counts misdemeanor DUI.  Giron was also ticketed for negligent driving, driving without a license, illegal transportation of alcohol and failure to produce proof of insurance.  Charges for driving under the influence can receive very harsh sentencing.  To ensure that your rights are protected, contact a supportive criminal defense attorney in Cook County today.

Five Indiana Men Sentenced in Tinley Park Attack

January 21st, 2013 at 8:00 am

Ashford House BrawlBrothers Dylan, Cody and Jason Sutherlin along with two other members of the Hoosier Anti-Racist Movement decided to drive together to Tinley Park to confront a group of alleged white supremacists.  The brothers along with Alex Struck and John S. Tucker wanted to go to a local restaurant to peacefully protect the meeting yet the scene erupted in violence.  Surveillance footage showed at least 18 men enter the Ashford House brandishing weapons and wearing masks.  After the attack, these five men were arrested as part of the mob in the May 19th melee.

Altogether, each of the men were charged with 37 separate felony counts including aggravated battery, property damage and mob action.  The prosecution was pushing for maximum sentencing on the most serious charge of armed violence.   All five decided to enter guilty pleas to reduce the counts from 37 down to 3.

“We were ready to go to trial,” said Brian Barrido, the pro-bono lawyer for Dylan Sutherlin. “I was very surprised when they said they wanted to take the plea … but I think they did the math, and if the trial didn’t start for a year or six months, they might be out just as soon.”  Jason Sutherlin was sentenced to 6 years, Dylan and Cody received 5 years each, while Stuck and Tucker received 3-1/2 years.

It is typical for those accused of battery charges to seek plea deals in order to reduce their sentences or other alternatives which don’t involve criminal convictions.  The sentencing can be reduced to court supervision, paying fines, community service or counseling.  Whether you want to plead guilty to a crime or go to court, you shouldn’t have to do it by yourself.  Contact an effective criminal defense attorney in Rolling Meadows who can work for the result you want.

One of the news criminal laws for Illinois

January 18th, 2013 at 1:24 pm

 With a new year comes new laws, and this year there are a number of laws working in different parts of the legal field. Since this is a criminal defense blog, we will introduce a new criminal law, which, in this case, is an amendment to an older statute. The law in question sets new rules on eavesdropping when investigating a felony drug violation case.

For those who want to read through a bureaucratic summary of the bill, here is a link to Illinois General Assembly’s information about the new law.

The core idea in the bill is that law enforcement officers can eavesdrop with an eavesdropping device when they are investigating a felony drug violation case if they get permission from the state’s attorney. However, one of the participants in the recorded conversation has to be an officer or acting under instructions from a law enforcement officer. The officer or instructed person also has to have consented to the recording taking place.

More specifically, the bill allows eavesdropping in felony violations of the Illinois Controlled Substances Act, the Cannabis Control Act or the Methamphetamine Control and Community Protection Act. If these eavesdropping recordings have evidence that has to do with something other than these violations, it is not usable evidence in court.

Very short summaries of new laws can be found, for example in this examiner.com story.

If you are facing criminal charges of any kind, it is important to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney in your area. Our Rolling Meadows offices can help you with your Cook County, Illinois criminal defense needs.

New Child Sexual Harassment Law Active in 2013

January 15th, 2013 at 1:20 pm

  Since there is more than one or two new criminal offense statutes or amendments to old ones in action since January 2013, this post will again introduce a new criminal law. This statute amendment has to do with child sex offenses and sexual harassment of children. A list including this statute can be found, for example, at the news section of wrul.com or the Illinois General Assembly documents.

The law, passed as House Bill 5265, amends the Criminal Code of 1961 regarding child abduction by luring. This amendment provides two main points. Firstly, the age limit for a luring offense to a minor has been changed to seventeen from sixteen. Secondly, it provides protection for children under 17 when they are traveling to or back from school. The amendment makes luring or attempting to lure a person under 17 who is traveling to or a from school into a vehicle without the consent of a parent or lawful custodian for unlawful purpose a criminal offense. The law is effective after January 1.

This amendment was seen as necessary after a DuPage County case where a 17-year-old student was on her way to school and being followed by a sex offender driving a van. When the police stopped the driver, they could only charge him with disorderly conduct, because the old statute only applied to minors 16 or younger.

When you need legal help with criminal charges, contact a criminal defense attorney in your area. Our Rolling Meadows, Illinois criminal attorneys are ready to help you with your case, so do not hesitate to contact our offices.

Students Charged With Hazing

January 12th, 2013 at 1:11 pm

Young athletes at Maine West High School are facing misdemeanor charges for allegations of hazing that some are calling child abuse, according to the Chicago Tribune. Tony Romanucci told NBC Chicago, as reported in the Huffington Post, that allegations of sexual abuse go as far back as 2006, and “that coaches at the school knew about what was happening.” The complaint alleges that older players on the soccer teams shoved younger boys down to the ground, beat them, and then sodomized them with their fingers and other objects.

The two soccer coaches, Michael Divincenzo and Emilio Rodriguez, have been put on paid leave from the school until the dust settles surrounding the incident. Six players have been charged with misdemeanor battery and hazing, but as of mid-December there was no evidence to support felony charges for any student involved in the charges. The Huffington Post reports that an additional four students are facing disciplinary actions. There have been other allegations of hazing abuse among the swimming and baseball teams as well, and the mother of one boy—a baseball player—told NBC that when she reported the incident to the principal it was “swept under the rug.”

Lawsuits over hazing gone wrong are nothing new. According to StopHazing.org, hazing in Illinois is a Class A misdemeanor, unless it results in death or great bodily harm. If it does, hazing in Illinois is a Class 4 felony. Hazing is defined in Illinois law as: “the performance of any act by a student or other person in a school, college, university, or other educational institution of this State for the purpose of induction or admission into any group, organization, or society.”

If you or someone you know is facing hazing charges, don’t go through it alone. Contact a dedicated Illinois criminal defense attorney today.

Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Teen Arrested at Gang Funeral

January 9th, 2013 at 3:05 pm

A 17-year-old boy was arrested for possession of a gun at a gang funeral in mid-December, according to the Chicago Tribune. Roosevelt J. Yarber’s arrest comes as part of a new police crackdown on possession of weapons and possible conflicts at gang funerals. According to the Tribune, “Yarber was carrying a .44-caliber Magnum handgun with six live rounds when he was arrested,” and has been charged with felony unlawful use of a weapon. Area North Deputy Chief John Escalante told the Tribune that “it just highlights the need for us to be out, monitoring these wakes and funerals.” 

The crackdown comes after one man was killed and another wounded at the funeral of a gang member on the South Side in early December, and was initiated by Mayor Rahm Emanuel to help curb the explosion of gang violence that has rocked Chicago in 2012. The Gangster Disciples, according to a different article in the Chicago Tribune, were responsible for “more than a quarter of the city’s nearly 400 slaying victims through September 25” of this year. The funeral at which Yarber was arrested was for a member of the Gangster Disciples, but Yarber is not believed to be a member. He was, however, with six other men—“five of them members of the Four Corner Hustlers and one a member of the New Breed gang, which is in a gang conflict with the Gangster Disciples.” Police stopped Yarber and the men he was with because they were not believed to be Gangster Disciples.

Escalante said that at least four people have been arrested at gang funerals since implementation of the new strategy. “Everyone has a right to attend a funeral or a wake, especially one at a church,” he told the Tribune, “and not expect to be the victim of gun violence.”

If you or someone you know has been accused of gang violence or are facing weapons charges, don’t go through it alone. Contact a dedicated Chicago-area criminal defense attorney today.

Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Indiana Teen Arrested for Selling Marijuana

January 5th, 2013 at 1:04 pm

Indiana Teen Arrested for Selling Marijuana IMAGE“Authorities in northwestern Indiana have charged a 16-year-old boy with dealing marijuana on school property, saying he sold marijuana-laced brownies to fellow students,” according to the Chicago Tribune. When confronted with a plastic container and metal baking pan with brownie crumbs in his locker that smelled of marijuana, the boy admitted to either selling or giving away the brownies to fellow students, and “police reported finding two $20 bills in his pocket that the boy admitted came from selling the brownies.” More lockers were searched and several students were questioned, but no more evidence or confessions were found in the 2,100-student school.

The boy’s arrest comes on the heels of some major legislation elsewhere in the country that would make his crime a moot point. In November of this year, both Colorado and Washington voted to fully legalize the drug, and according to Rolling Stone magazine there are several more states throughout the union poised to do so in 2013. “As many as 58 percent of Americans now believe marijuana should be legal,” the magazine reports, including former president Jimmy Carter. According to Rolling Stone, Oregon, Alaska, Nevada, California, and New Jersey are expected to join Colorado and Washington in the legalization of recreational pot in the next few years.

One reason that pot is up for legalization is the cost to taxpayers to keep offenders, like the 16-year-old Indiana boy, in the legal system. According to Illinois Times, at the end of 2011 there were 777 people locked up in Illinois prisons for cannabis offenses. “At an average annual cost of $21,911 per inmate… the public is paying more than $17 million per year to keep pot peddlers and users behind bars,” according to Illinois Times. For a state with serious budget concerns, this is a nice chunk of change.

If you or someone you know is facing drug charges for marijuana, or any other drug, don’t go through it alone. Contact a dedicated Illinois criminal defense attorney today.

Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net