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Archive for the ‘murder’ tag

Illinois Criminal Statutes of Limitations: When Is a Case Too Old to Prosecute?

November 24th, 2015 at 3:46 pm

Illinois criminal attorney, Illinois defense lawyer, Illinois criminal justice system,Under the criminal justice system there is a limit  to when prosecutors can bring criminal charges. The time limit is called the statute of limitations. After a statute of limitations has passed a prosecutor cannot bring criminal charges. However, there have been more than a few cases where someone confessed to a crime, thinking the statute of limitations had expired, but were wrong and ended up getting convicted.


Under Illinois law the statute of limitations for misdemeanors is 18 months. Even if new evidence surfaces after 18 months, a prosecution cannot be brought. There are certain factors that can stop the statute from running. If you have been legally charged, but fail to show up for court, the statute of limitations is tolled, or put on pause. When you are eventually found, even if it is years later, the case will continue.


The statute of limitations for most felonies in Illinois is three years after the commission of the crime. There are several important exceptions to this rule, however, for most felonies, after three years –  if charges have been filed or you have not been indicted – the prosecution cannot start the process.


Cases involving murder have no statute of limitations in Illinois. The list of crimes related to murder for which there is no statute of limitations include:

  • First degree murder;
  • Attempt to commit first degree murder;
  • Second degree murder;
  • Involuntary manslaughter;
  • Reckless homicide;
  • Leaving the scene of a motor vehicle accident involving death or personal injuries; and
  • Concealment of a homicide.

It does not matter when any of these crimes were committed, you can always be prosecuted for them.

Special Circumstances

There are many other cases besides one that deal with murder that either have no statute of limitations or have an extended statute of limitations.

Other crimes that have no statute of limitations are:

  • Arson;
  • Aggravated arson;
  • Child pornography; and
  • Aggravated child pornography.

Crimes that deal with the abuse or sexual exploitation of a minor in some way have extended statutes of limitations. The statute is extended for one year after the minor victim turns 18, but the statute will always be at least three years.

For example, if someone commits the crime of exploitation of a minor and the victim is 13 at the time of the crime, the statute of limitation will not expire until the victim turns 19, making the statute in this case approximately six years. If the victim were 17 at the time of the crime, the statute would not expire when the victim turned 18 or 19. The statute would expire three years after the commission of the crime.

Criminal statutes of limitations can be complex. If you have been charged or accused of a crime, you need to get help fast. Contact an experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense lawyer before you talk to anyone else about your case. Call today to schedule a consultation. Your freedom could be at risk.



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.

Man Kills Woman and Hides Body in Mother’s Home

September 18th, 2013 at 9:07 am

A case of murder with a bizarre twist was reported by the Chicago Tribune. It is alleged that Benjamin Esquivel murdered 49-year-old Burnadine Kinsey and hid her body in his mother’s home.

TheresaIt is alleged that after being intimate, Esquivel and Kinsey got into an argument, which ended with him stabbing her several times in the face, head and body. He then put her body, wrapped in sheets and a blanket, into a closet in the home that he shares with his mother. It is reported that Kinsey’s home was just three blocks away from Esquivel’s. His mother returned home and saw the body. She allegedly confronted her son about it and instead of calling law enforcement, she and her sister left the apartment.

Esquivel, who is 20 years old, called his friend Juan Ramos, 37, to ask what he should do with the body. They allegedly went to a nearby Home Depot to purchase tarps, duct tape, rubber gloves, and a soda. They returned to the apartment and wrapped the body in the tarps and tape. At that time, they returned the body to the same closet.

The two discussed places where they could hide the body and whether burning the body would be an option. Esquivel’s mother and her sister returned to the home several days later to discover that the body was still there. They called law enforcement to report the murder at that time.

Esquivel is being held on $1 million bond for murder and Ramos is being held on a bond of $250,000.00 for the concealment of a homicide. The family of the victim has expressed their outrage that Esquivel’s mother was not charged as well.

If you have been charged with a violent crime, you have the right to have your Illinois criminal defense attorney there with you from the time that you are taken to the police station for questioning.

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.

Man who Spent over 20 Years in Prison Exonerated

August 17th, 2013 at 8:00 am

criminal record expunge 164664874 (2)Over 25 years ago, James Kluppelberg was convicted of setting a deadly fire in the Back of the Yards neighborhood.  The home that was burnt contained a woman and her five children.  Elva Lupercio, 28, and her children who ranged between 3 and 10 years old, died in their home on the 4400 block of South Hermitage Avenue. After reviewing the scene, investigators determined that the fire was an accident.

Four years after the incident, Kluppelberg was identified as the perpetrator by a man who was arrested for burglary.  They booked Kluppelberg and, shortly after, he confessed to the crime.  Sentenced to life in prison, he maintained that he was innocent of all wrongdoing.

Kluppelberg was exonerated in 2012 of this crime due to advances in fire sciences.  It was also revealed that his confession of guilt was coerced by officers who had beaten Kluppelberg so badly that he started to urinate blood.  The man who turned him in was found to be lying in order to receive leniency for his burglary conviction.  The police department also withheld information about a drunk woman who started another fire nearby the

Although Kluppelburg was granted his release in May, he struggled to regain his old life.  It was very difficult to find a job with six murder convictions on his record.  Kluppelburg has applied to over 400 jobs and the only one that responded to give him an interview, didn’t give him the job because of his record.  He is forced to live with the support of his son and daughter-in-law in northwest Indiana.

For 14 months, Kluppelburg struggled to keep it together.  Luckily he was able to secure a certificate of innocence by proving that he was falsely accused.  He will also be eligible to receive nearly $200,000 in compensation for the years he was incarcerated.  Having a record makes it difficult to live the life you would want but you may be able to get it sealed or expunged.  Seek the assistance of an experienced expungement attorney in Rolling Meadows today to see if your record can be erased.

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

Chicago Gun Laws Don’t Stop Homicides

April 8th, 2013 at 4:05 pm

AmandaHandguns have been outlawed in Chicago for may years, until 2010, when the Supreme Court decided that the ban was in violation the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.There are still no legal gun shops in the city of Chicago. This led the city leaders to have to settle for higher restrictions that were as close to actually banning the guns. Even with these high restrictions, Chicago is still one of the top cities for gun violence. In 2012, there were over 500 homicides, and in January alone, there were 40 killings.

To many citizens who want a full gun-ban in the US, Chicago proves to be a city of reference. Even with such strict gun control laws, there is still a vast amount of shootings. But for citizens who are pro-guns, they believe that the city proves that there needs to be more nationwide gun laws, rather than state-to-state or city-to-city. According to Rev. Ira J. Acree, a pastor who marched and got signatures to end shootings, said, “Chicago is like a house with two parents that may try to have good rules, but it’s like you’ve got this single house sitting on a whole block where there’s anarchy.”

Because of the different sets of laws varying from states and cities, it makes it difficult for police to find the gun violations. Not only are the laws different in each state, but also the punishments vary from jail-time to fines. Some punishments are seen as not as severe as others so many citizens do not take them seriously.

If you or anyone you know has been affected by any sort of gun violation be sure to contact a lawyer immediately. Contact an experienced Illinois Criminal Attorney to help you out.

Iraq War Vet Facing Murder Charges

February 28th, 2013 at 1:27 pm

Chicago IL Criminal Law AttorneyA father of two small children and a loving husband who dedicates his life to our nation is a hero. One who put his life on the line for four tours of duty in Iraq, scouting out 150 insurgents to rid them to become the United States deadliest sniper, to come home and help his fellow veterans, becomes a legend. Respect for such a patriotic family man should go wherever he goes. Unfortunately, the things that we are most passionate about can hurt us.

Former marine and post-traumatic stress disorder victim, Eddie Ray Routh, has been charged with shooting Navy SEAL sniper great, Chris Kyle and neighbor friend, Chad Littlefield in a Glen Close, Texas, gun range. He is charged with three counts of murder after having a $3 million bond set. As a PTSD war veteran, Routh was probably spending time with Kyle because Kyle’s heart was to help other war veterans through the transition of being back home from the war front. Though they did not meet through Kyle’s organization for war veterans with PTSD, Kyle was known to help anyone he met.

A decorated veteran serving from 1999-2009, Kyle achieved many accomplishments:

Two Silver Stars; five Bronze Stars of Valor; two Navy and Marine Corps Achievement medals; and one Navy and Marine Corps Commendation. He made his legacy known through co-writing “American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History” with Scott McEwen.

Though our hearts can help many people, sometimes it can lead to a serious and dangerous situation. If you are in a place where boundaries have been crossed, contact a criminal lawyer in the Illinois area. An attorney who knows the law inside and out makes a world of difference for your safety and well-being.

Son arrested for double homicide

February 17th, 2013 at 4:27 pm

According to a recent article posted by IndyStar, David Scott Rodenbarger was convicted for two counts of murder over this past weekend- that of his mother and his 6-year-old half-sister.  It has just recently been released that a two-pronged meat fork and knife were found at the scene of the crime.

Rodenbarger’s mother, 41-year-old Michelle Haskins, died from a serious stab wound to her neck, according to a probable cause affidavit filed in White Superior Court 1.  His half-sister, 6-year-old Jillian Haskins, died due to multiple stab wounds and swelling of her brain, which was caused by blunt force trauma to her head.

Both Haskins were found at around 1:30 a.m. Saturday at their home near Lake Freeman in Monticello.  Indiana State Police reported that Michelle Haskins was able to call 911 before succumbing to her injuries.

LaraA motive has not been specified for the crime, but Rodenbarger has allegedly implicated himself in the two deaths.  He was found in the home at the time the police arrived; his hands and clothes were bloodstained.

A two-pronged meat fork and knife were found near the bodies of Michelle and Jillian Haskins, both with what appeared to be blood on them.

Rodenbarger appeared in court Tuesday morning for his initial hearing.

At one point during the hearing, Rodenbarger interrupted the judge and requested he reread the charges stating “I wasn’t listening to you all the way.”  Later, he asked for an attorney and was appointed Delphi-based Pat Manahan as public defender.

While being led from the courtroom, he told family members “I love you, too.”

Each murder count against him is punishable by 45 to 65 years in prison.

If you or someone you know has been convicted of a crime, do not hesitate to contact a dedicated Cook County attorney to assist you.


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