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Archive for the ‘homicide’ tag

Voluntary Manslaughter Charges in Illinois

November 14th, 2018 at 9:10 pm

IL defense lawyerVoluntary manslaughter is the intentional killing of an unborn child or acting in a way that would cause harm or death to an unborn child. It is not to be confused with involuntary manslaughter, which is the unintentional killing of another person, not a fetus. Voluntary manslaughter in Illinois was formerly one and the same as second-degree murder: the intentional killing of another person on-the-spot or in the heat of passion (meaning that the killing was not premeditated). However, the law currently recognizes this type of homicide simply as second-degree murder, not voluntary homicide. Today’s law is such that voluntary manslaughter is only charged when the victim is an unborn child. It is akin to second-degree murder of an unborn child, a very serious crime.

Definition of Voluntary Manslaughter

As per Illinois 720 ILCS 5/9-2.1, voluntary manslaughter is:

  • Causing the death of an unborn child by acting “under a sudden and intense passion resulting from serious provocation” by another person whom the defendant tries to kill, but in so doing the defendant “negligently or accidentally causes the death of the unborn child”; or
  • Intentionally or knowingly causing the death of an unborn child.

Example of Voluntary Manslaughter Vs. Involuntary Manslaughter

A Schaumburg, Illinois man killed a mother of four, who was 12 weeks pregnant when he crushed her between his pickup truck and her vehicle, which was stalled and was being pushed along the side of the road, as reported by the Daily Herald. A dashboard camera showed the man throwing a vodka bottle into the woods after he hit and killed the woman and refused a breath test. As such, he was charged with driving under the influence and causing the death of the woman, an offense that is punishable by up to 14 years (more if there are other aggravating factors such as the crash occurring in a construction zone). The offense he committed was involuntary manslaughter of the mother. He was not additionally charged with voluntary manslaughter for killing the fetus because he was most likely unaware that the woman was pregnant.

In another case, a Peoria, Illinois man was convicted of voluntary manslaughter when he allegedly body slammed his girlfriend during an argument, causing the death of her unborn child. He was also charged with domestic battery, aggravated battery, and aggravated domestic battery. He was charged with voluntary manslaughter because he acted in a manner that would cause a strong probability of harm or death to the fetus.

A Rolling Meadows Criminal Defense Lawyer Can Help

Any type of homicide or crime that causes harm or death to a child or unborn child is extremely serious. If you have been charged with voluntary manslaughter or another crime of violence, contact dedicated Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney Christopher M. Cosley today at 847-394-3200.

 

Sources:

https://www.pjstar.com/news/20180308/peorian-convicted-of-killing-girlfriends-unborn-child

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/documents/072000050K9-2.1.htm

https://www.dailyherald.com/news/20181010/schaumburg-man-charged-with-dui-in-crash-that-killed-pregnant-mother-of-four

Involuntary Manslaughter in Illinois

November 12th, 2018 at 8:33 am

Illinios defense lawyerInvoluntary manslaughter is a classification of homicide, which is the unlawful killing of another person. While first- and second-degree murder involves the intentional killing of a person, involuntary manslaughter can be thought of as an unintentional type of killing. Make no mistake; involuntary manslaughter is a serious crime, and the penalties you may be sentenced with can be harsh.

Penalties for Involuntary Manslaughter

Under Illinois 720 ILCS 5/9-3, involuntary manslaughter is the unintentional and unjustified killing of an individual when the defendant’s acts, either lawful or unlawful, are likely to cause death or serious bodily injury to another. As such, when a person performs dangerous reckless actions that result in the death of another, that person will be charged with involuntary manslaughter, unless they were operating a vehicle. As a Class 3 felony, involuntary manslaughter is punishable by up to five years in prison. Examples of actions that could lead to involuntary manslaughter include:

  • Fist fights. A Toledo, Illinois man was recently charged with involuntary manslaughter after kicking his neighbor in the head;
  • Letting a toddler play outside on the street unsupervised;
  • Shooting a firearm or storing a firearm in a reckless manner; and
  • Throwing or dropping rocks from a bridge or overpass.

Reckless Homicide or Vehicular Manslaughter

When the driver of a motor vehicle, all-terrain vehicle, watercraft, or snowmobile causes the death of another due to reckless driving or operation of their vehicle, they will be charged with reckless homicide, more commonly referred to as vehicular manslaughter. Reckless homicide is also a Class 3 felony, and may also involve having your license suspended or revoked. If the defendant was driving under the influence of alcohol, even with a blood alcohol content under 0.08, they may still be charged with reckless homicide if they cause the death of another because it is presumed that alcohol played a factor in their impaired driving and decision making.

In fact, if the driver was intoxicated, it is more likely that they will be charged with a Class 2 felony instead of a Class 3 felony. A Class 2 felony carries a penalty of up to seven years in prison, although, for a DUI reckless homicide, defendants often face penalties of up to 14 years, and even up to 28 years behind bars. Drivers who are charged with vehicular manslaughter without any DUI implications can also face increased prison sentences if there were aggravating factors, such as causing the death in a school zone or construction zone.

An Involuntary Manslaughter Defense Attorney Is Here For Your Assistance Today

Whether you have been charged with reckless homicide, involuntary manslaughter, second-degree murder, or first-degree murder, attorney Christopher M. Cosley is here to help. Call a dedicated Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney at our office today at 847-394-3200.

 

Sources:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=072000050K9-3

https://jg-tc.com/news/local/manslaughter-charged-filed-in-case-of-toledo-man-s-death/article_a1aa90f9-c042-57a7-9340-a5f4019e5256.html

 

What Crimes Are Most Commonly Committed In Illinois?

August 23rd, 2016 at 7:00 am

What Crimes Are Most Commonly Committed In Illinois?Crime is a big issue in Illinois, especially in Chicago and the surrounding geographical areas. Hundreds of arrests are made every day, and convictions are made all the time. Across the state, the Illinois Department of Corrections is home to more than 45,000 inmates, who have been convicted of a number of different crimes. According to an article in the Huffington Post, the top 10 crimes that inmates have committed in Illinois include:

  1. Homicide. The number one crime committed by inmates in the Illinois prison system is homicide. The killing of another person accounts for more than 18 percent of the inmate population in Illinois.
  2. Offenses involving controlled substances. Possession, manufacturing, distribution, and trafficking of controlled substances and other drug violations of the Illinois Controlled Substances Act account for 17.5 percent of the Illinois state inmate population.
  3. Sexual assault. Just under 10 percent of the total Illinois inmate population is in jail for sexual assault offenses.
  4. Assault. Assault is the next most frequently committed offense by Illinois inmates, with approximately eight percent of inmates being in jail for assault offenses.
  5. Weapon offenses. Nearly six and a half percent of Illinois inmates are in jail for weapons-related offenses. This could include using weapons in conjunction with committing other crimes.
  6. Burglary. Breaking into a building and stealing something or committing a felony is a crime that many individuals get in trouble for. Just under six percent of inmates are doing time for a burglary conviction.
  7. Armed robbery. When robbery is committed with the threat or use of a weapon, it constitutes armed robbery. Over five and a half percent of Illinois state inmates are in jail for armed robbery.
  8. Residential burglary. Breaking into a house or dwelling of another without permission is a serious crime. Of the Illinois prison population, just under four and a half percent of inmates are in prison for committing residential burglary.
  9. Driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. A DUI is serious business, especially when someone is seriously injured or killed as a result of the DUI. Just under three and a half percent of inmates are in jail for a DUI offense.
  10. Robbery. Just over three percent of Illinois inmates are in jail for committing robbery.

These 10 crimes account for over 82 percent of the reason why inmates are in the state prison system. If you have been charged with drug crimes, burglary, shoplifting, theft, or other offenses, and are facing criminal charges, you need to speak with an experienced Illinois criminal defense lawyer immediately.

Facing Jail Time? Let Us Help

If you are facing criminal charges and jail time, it is important to speak with an experienced Illinois criminal defense lawyer as soon as you possibly can. Please contact a Rolling Meadows criminal defense lawyer to discuss your specific circumstances and the charges that you face. We can help fight the charges against you.

Source:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/reboot-illinois/top-10-most-common-crimes_b_9202092.html

Rhetoric is Wrong: Violent Crime is Actually Down

December 11th, 2014 at 9:28 pm

Chicago crime rate, Illinois criminal defense attorney, Illinois criminal defense lawyer, Day after day we hear the rhetoric about how bad crime is today and about how much worse crime is now than it used to be. Stories pop up about Chicago being the murder capital of America. Citizens are left to believe that there is some mass criminal class that is much worse than it has ever been before. The problem with all of this is that it simply is not true. In fact, violent crimes rates are the lowest they have been since the 1970s.

Violent Crime is Down

The Chicago Tribune reports that violent crime in the United States fell 4.4 percent in 2013, bringing the violent crime rate to its lowest level since the 1970s. Fewer violent crimes were reported last year than have been reported in any year since 1978. This trend rings true for all types of violent crimes including but not limited to murder, rape, and robbery. The violent crime rate has fallen every year since 1994 and has fallen by roughly 50 percent since 1994. Property crimes were also down last year.

Decreased Prison Populations Lead to Even Greater Violent Crime Rate Decline

Some tough-on-crime law and order types point to our nation’s extraordinary levels of incarceration as the cause of this decrease in crime. However, the evidence indicates that violent crime is dropping in spite of, not because of, our over-imprisonment problem. The Pew Charitable Trusts compiled data over the last five years regarding states’ imprisonment rates and crime rates. They found that over the last five years the majority of states have decreased imprisonment rates while seeing a decrease in crime at the same time. Hawaii decreased its imprisonment rate by 23 percent and saw a whopping 14 percent decrease in crime. In the 33 states where imprisonment rates decreased, crime fell on average by 13 percent. While crime also fell in the states where imprisonment rates increased, crime only fell 11 percent in those states.

This Means We Need Solutions Other than Prison

This data demonstrates that we need to use tools other than imprisonment if we want to minimize crime. Rather than focusing solely on punishment, it is high time our justice system focused on rehabilitation. Drug treatment, mental health treatment, and education need to become our primary tools of corrections, rather than oft ignored side programs. For those criminal defendants who do wind up serving sentences in jail or prison, we need to focus substantial efforts into supporting reentry programs. Reintegrating into society with a felony conviction can be extremely difficult and our society needs to work to make it possible for people to make it in society after incarceration. People who serve long sentences for violent crimes especially need assistance reintegrating into a world that has changed dramatically during their incarceration.

Criminal Defense Attorney

Being accused of committing a violent crime is terrifying. These crimes carry stiff penalties, but even just being accused can have a profound and permanent effect on your life. If you or someone you know has been accused of committing a violent crime, contact the experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorneys at the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley. We can schedule a consultation where we can discuss your situation and see what we can do to help you.

Withdrawing a Guilty Plea

February 28th, 2014 at 12:29 pm

criminal hearing, homicide, murder, Illinois criminal defense lawyer, guilty pleaThe Chicago Tribune recently ran an article about a defendant who withdrew his guilty plea in connection with a murder charge. The 22-year-old man, from Aurora, had pled guilty to murdering a woman in October of 2005, when he was just 14 years old.

 Appellate Court Decision

The hearing came in light of last year’s appellate court decision, which stated that the defendant’s 2009 guilty plea was invalid, as it provided for a 45-year minimum sentence, and not the 35-year sentence he should have received as the result of entering a plea to first-degree murder. The Illinois Supreme Court declined to hear the case when county prosecutors appealed the appellate court’s decision.

 New Criminal Process

There was a short court hearing on February 11th, which served to reset the criminal process against the defendant in light of the appellate court opinion allowing him to withdraw his plea. It was the first court hearing since the decision.

 Case Background

The defendant’s current charges stem from the murder of an Aurora woman during a home invasion on October 31, 2005. Her body was discovered by law enforcement two months later in Batavia Township. The Defendant, who is a Sudanese immigrant and had a significant juvenile record prior to this incident, was originally arrested for the murder in 2007. When he pled guilty in 2009, he almost immediately tried to withdraw his plea.

 Illinois Law Regarding Withdrawing a Guilty Plea

According to the law in Illinois, certain procedural and legislative requirements have to be met in order for a defendant in a criminal case to  withdraw a guilty plea. A motion to withdraw a guilty plea must be filed within 30 days of the date it is entered. This time limit must be met in order for a judge to even consider hearing the motion.

If the Judge agrees to hear the motion, the defendant must show that the guilty plea was not made knowingly, intelligently, or voluntarily. This is usually difficult to do, as criminal procedure usually requires the defendant to be fully informed of the rights he or she is waiving as the result of pleading guilty and the consequences of doing so. Established case law has stated that guilty pleas will not be withdrawn unless it is necessary to correct a manifest injustice.  Therefore, it is usually exceedingly difficult to successfully withdraw a guilty plea once it is entered.

All that being said, while it is difficult to withdraw a guilty plea, it is not impossible, as the case previously mentioned demonstrates. An experienced Illinois criminal defense attorney can advise you of your rights and likelihood for success in light of the facts of your particular case. If you or someone you know is charged with a crime in the state of Illinois, contact us today.

City to send Police Patrols Overnight in Chicago Parks

December 6th, 2013 at 11:26 am

family in parkOfficials in the city of Chicago are aware of the prevalence of violent crime in Chicago parks.  Four days after the FBI claimed that Chicago was the murder capital of the United States, more violence broke out in the city.  An outburst of shooting occurred on September 20th at Cornell Square Park on the south side of Chicago.  Waves of gunfire left 13 people wounded including a couple of teenagers and three year old boy.  The shooting was considered to be gang-related as some of the victims were known gang-members.

In response to these violent crimes, the police department of Chicago started paying overtime to officers in high crime neighborhoods of the city for an initiative called “Operation Impact”.  Overtime pay for 2013 is estimated to be around $100 million.

More recently, the police department instituted a new plan to keep the parks safe through the night.  Off-duty police officers are to be paid overtime wages for patrolling 20 of the city’s most dangerous parks.  The names of the parks have not been released yet, but will be decided based on the last three years of crime statistics.   This new initiative started in November of 2013.  Paying overtime to existing officers seems cheaper than hiring a large amount of rookie officers according to a statement by Chicago police chief Garry McCarthy.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel has agreed that the safety of Chicago’s parks is a top priority of his.  He even stated that “The parks in the city of Chicago belong to families of Chicago, the streets of the city of Chicago belong to families of Chicago, the front stoops of our homes belong to the families of the city of Chicago.  You go out there and enjoy our city.”

If you have been arrested for a crime then it is important to have a legal professional to protect your rights.  Whether you are charged with a misdemeanor or a felony, the effects can be life altering.  You could lose your job, be rejected by colleges, or worse spend time in prison.  Contact an experienced criminal defense attorney in Cook County today to review your case.

Teenage Man Charged in Infant’s Homicide

October 4th, 2013 at 11:52 am

A 17-year-old man was ordered held on $500,000 bail after being charged in the death of a infant whose death was ruled a homicide, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. Willie Brown is facing charges in the death of 4-month-old Demari Brown after Demari died while in the sole care of Brown in late September. Prosecutors allege that after Brown killed the infant he proceeded to play video games “after the severely battered baby… stopped crying and eventually died,” reports the Sun-Times. Assistant State’s Attorney Heather Kent told the Sun-Times that Demari was Brown’s girlfriend’s baby, though police reported that Brown was the child’s father. “When Demari’s mother asked Brown what he did to her baby at the hospital where the infant was transported he allegedly cried and said, “I’m sorry. I’m sorry,” reports the Sun-Times.

Brown was the only one home with the child when the incident occurred, and police reported after the baby was found that Demari had suffered “blunt trauma to the head, a linear fracture to the skull, subdural hemorrhages, rib fractures and healing fractures to other ribs and a wrist,” according to the Sun-Times. This has led some prosecutors to allege that the baby had suffered abuse before the incident that took his life. The Illinois Department of Children & Family Services was “investigating the boy’s mother, Brown, and grandmother for allegations of abuse,” reports the Sun-Times, though the family has no other prior allegations of child abuse.

According to the MCH Center for Child Death Review, more than 2,000 kids die in the United States each year after allegations of abuse or neglect. The most common form of physical abuse manifests as head injuries, known as abusive head trauma. “These injuries occur when a child’s head is slammed against a surface, is severely struck, or when a child is violently shaken,” according to the MCH Center.

If you or someone you know has been accused of a crime such as this, the most important step is to seek legal counsel. Don’t go through it alone. Contact an experienced Illinois criminal defense attorney today.

Two Juveniles Among Three Charged in Murder

September 15th, 2013 at 12:51 pm

According to a recent report by the Chicago Tribune, a man and two teenagers have been charged in the murder of an Englewood man. The man was found stuffed into a trashcan in the alley.

TheresaCook County prosecutors allege that a dispute started when 51-year-old Ernest Pritchett III walked into the front yard of 32-year-old Bryan Perkins. Perkins asked Pritchett for the money that he was owed. When he stated that he did not have the money, it is alleged that Perkins grabbed a piece of a fence and started hitting the older man in the head with it. At that time, two teens joined in the beating. The 16 and 17 year old began kicking and stomping Pritchett. Perkins then picked up a large rock and hit the man with it.

Perkins retrieved a rolling trash can from the alley and with the assistance of the teens; he put Pritchett’s body inside of it. He then proceeded to roll the trash can several blocks down the street, where he abandoned it.

Upon return to his residence, Perkins attacked a witness in his home, stating that he was a coward for not helping when he saw what was going on. Then he ordered another witness to dispose of the clothing that he and his accomplices were wearing at the time of the murder. The names of the teen accomplices have not been released.

What is particularly disturbing about this case is that the body of the victim was found near the Safe Passage route for the children who attend the Nicholson Technical Academy. All three of the suspects have been charged with first-degree murder and the concealment of a homicide. The teens are being held on bonds of $1 million. Perkins has not had a bond hearing as of yet.

Whether the offender is an adult or juvenile, they have the right to have an Illinois criminal defense attorney to represent their interests.

Homicide, manslaughter, and murder: what’s the difference?

May 27th, 2013 at 1:14 pm

When watching shows like Law & Order or even the news, the terms manslaughter, homicide, and murder are used frequently and very rarely explained.  However, it can be helpful to be aware of the technical differences between the three terms.

In the state of Illinois, homicide is defined as the killing of one person by another.  Murder and manslaughter are different types of homicide.

Lara May 22Homicides can be classified as criminal, excusable, or justifiable.  Criminal homicides are classified as unjustifiable and lead to very severe consequences.  If the homicide is excusable or justifiable, there was no criminal intent to kill someone (for example self-defense, defending another person, etc.)

Murder in particular is defined as the unlawful killing of another human being with malice.  There are four different ways that malice can be shown, according to the state.  These ways include the intent to kill, the intent to inflict great bodily injury, reckless indifference to an unjustifiably high risk to human life, and the intent to commit a felony.

Murder is subdivided further into the two categories of first-degree and second-degree.  First-degree murder in Illinois is classified as the killing of an individual without lawful justification.  The person committing the crime either intends and plans to kill or do great bodily harm to the individual or else knows their act has a high probability of leading to death or great bodily harm.

Second-degree murder, on the other hand, involves a killing that is not premeditated.  If you commit second-degree murder, you have intentionally killed somebody but were not planning to do so ahead of time.

And then there is manslaughter, which is the unlawful killing of another human being.  However, it is done without malice and includes two different types: voluntary and involuntary.  In voluntary manslaughter, a human being is killed after the offender had no intent to kill but merely acted in “the heat of passion.”  This refers to an intensely emotional state of mind induced by some sort of provocation.

Involuntary manslaughter involves unintentionally killing an individual without lawful justification.  In this category, the offender has also recklessly performed an action that was likely to cause death or great bodily harm.

While the differences between these terms are simple when explained, they are often hard to remember.  If you have the misfortune of being involved in a murder/homicide/manslaughter case or simply have any questions about the details of each term, contact an experienced Illinois criminal attorney.

 

Image courtesy of Simon Howden/Freedigitalphotos

Man charged for fatally shooting his son

December 7th, 2012 at 5:36 am

Man charged for fatally shootingA 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.

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