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My new criminal defense practice in Springfield, IL is still in its infancy. I began renting an office on March 1 but didn’t sign up my first client until mid-April. This was really all right with me. During that six weeks I had time to rebuild my law library, refresh my criminal procedure and catch-up on changes to the law since I left the practice in 2013. My first felony client was in custody at…
There is a common misconception that criminal defense lawyers spend all their time in court getting guilty people off. Because of movies and television shows that so often inaccurately depict what we really do this is understandable. What I do is represent defendants in criminal court to make sure the law is applied to them correctly. You might want to know what this means. Let me explain. I can break down my felony clients into…
My last Chicago jury trial was a murder case. I briefly mentioned this case not too long ago in a different blog post. The trial ended in a guilty verdict, but it was actually a win for the defense. How? Read on. The man who would become my client was about thirty-years-old. He had a series of intimate encounters with a certain young woman who was the frequent lover of another woman. Read that…
I have represented many defendants accused of armed robbery with a firearm. But there was one case in particular that was so unexpected as to be unforgettable. My client, who plead guilty to these facts and was sentenced to a few years in prison, approached another teenage boy who was sitting at a bus stop and happened to be wearing brand new Air Jordan basketball shoes, which in certain Chicago neighborhoods (and elsewhere) are…
The purpose of bail is to ensure the presence of the defendant at future court dates. How the amount is set depends on many factors, such as the defendant’s criminal history and biographical information (living situation, level of education, employment status and so forth). The allegations of the current crime are also heavily considered, along with any prior failures to appear in court. Conceptually, bail, except for the most serious of allegations where the defendant…
I once had a case where my client was charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm found in his car. I filed a motion to suppress the gun. Though many facts were in dispute at the hearing on that motion, the issue was clear: does a spouse have the legal authority to consent to the search of their husband’s/wife’s car? The main allegation in my motion was that my client’s wife did…
Following the unlikely August 2011 Kenneth Green verdict there appeared an article the next morning in one of the suburban Chicago newspapers. For those unfamiliar with this case it was like this: Kenneth Green shot two Chicago police officers who were executing a search warrant in his home. There was no dispute about that fact. He did shoot two police officers, and was charged with the attempted murder of the those two police officers. On…
This is a story from my time in Chicago representing felony defendants. This is a perfect example of how an innocent person can end up in the county jail facing a felony charge. A young woman began to have problems with her boyfriend. The relationship was turning abusive. The boyfriend was calling her job all day long. He would even come and stand outside of her work at times. It was a major disruption at…
Detectives will typically ask to speak to you for one of two reasons: either they believe you witnessed a crime or you’re a suspect in a crime they are investigating. I am going to briefly discuss the second scenario. By the time a detective contacts you there’s a pretty good chance you’re the prime suspect. In my experience detectives often get tunnel vision when they like a suspect for the crime they are investigating. When…
Before the State of Illinois can formally charge someone with a felony one of two things must first happen: either a finding a probable cause by a preliminary hearing judge or a true bill of indictment from a grand jury. What are the differences? Preliminary hearings are adversarial, meaning both the prosecutor and defense attorney are present. These short hearings are usually for non-violent felonies, such drugs and firearm’s possession. The prosecutor typically calls to…