The Chicago Criminal Law Blog - Find a Chicago Criminal Attorney

June 2010 Archives

Although a Chicago criminal defense attorney rarely can claim his or her client's 2nd Amendment right to bear arms when defending against murder charges, a U.S. Supreme Court ruling dealt a blow to Chicago's handgun ban, as covered by the Chicago Tribune and elsewhere.

As Mayor Richard Daley promised before the 5-4 ruling overturning a local municipality's right to enforce certain gun laws, the city plans to revise its gun-restriction law to fit within the confines of the new ruling, the Tribune reported. The 1982 city ordinance was challenged by a city resident who wanted to purchase a handgun to protect his home.

Former Chicago Police Cmdr. Jon Burge used lies and a belief that he was above the law to dodge suspicion of abuse he waged on criminal suspects for several years, according to Assistant US Attorney Patrick Weisman, as reported by the Chicago Sun-Times.

Jon Burge and his staff arrested and tortured about 135 men and women at Area 2 police headquarters, all African-Americans, between 1972 and 1991, according to the University of Chicago's Police Torture Archive. According to various court cases, he and officers under his command used electric shock to the ears and genitalia, mock executions, suffocation and burning.

Chicago police are questioning a man they say is the prime suspect in the hit-and-run death of 11-year-old Itali Hinton, according to the Chicago Tribune. The fatal incident took place in the South Shore neighborhood earlier this week.

And since there were reportedly several witnesses to the accident, the man's Chicago criminal attorney (if he is charged with the crime) might have a difficult time defending his client's actions. If he ran a red light before the collision, as witnesses claim, it could make the defendant's charges even more difficult to defend against.

Itali Hinton and her father were returning home from a visit with her grandmother, crossing a street, when a van that witnesses say ran a red light struck her. She was dragged a short distance, but that was enough to sustain fatal injuries. She was pronounced dead at Comer Children's Hospital at the University of Chicago shortly after. 

A gay love triangle involving Jeffrey Mundt, Joseph Banis and a third man whom authorities declined to identify ended in murder, according to NBC Chicago. The pair now are being held in a Louisville, Kentucky jail after police found the body of the third man stuffed in a plastic tub and buried about four feet below the ground.

The strange tale began when the couple had a sexual relationship with the third man last year. They allegedly had planned to rob him of drugs but ended up killing him, then they decided to hide the body underneath the basement of Jeffrey Mundt's Louisville home.

Since he wasn't reported missing, police were not searching for him nor did they have any reason to suspect anything.

Steven Kellmann, a 30-year-old Brookfield man, was arrested and charged with first-degree murder and armed robbery, as reported by the Chicago Tribune. The victim was 65-year-old retired teacher Marilyn Fay.

There may not be much that his Chicago criminal defense attorney can for him, if the evidence holds up in court, since Steven Kellmann has a long arrest record.

Marilyn Fay's body was found in her Brookfield home with multiple stab wounds. Authorities told reporters they were tipped off when they found her 2002 SUV parked two blocks away from her home. They conducted a well-being check and discovered her body.

The infamous Chicago Outfit mob is not the only organized criminal enterprise to influence jurors through implicit threats of violence. Suspected street gang member Brian D. Long was charged with attempting to intimidate prospective jurors in a gang-related murder trial, the Chicago Tribune reported.

Assistant State's Attorney Greg Sams said Brian Long was seen illegally communicating with jurors and also copied down their names from their juror name badges. Raul Perez-Gonzalez is being tried on first-degree murder charges related to a January 2009 shooting in Elgin believed to be gang-related.

Judge T. Jordan Gallagher ordered a mistrial in the trial of Raul Perez-Gonzalez.

As if finding jurors that haven't read any news coverage of the ongoing corruption trial of former Gov. Rod Blagojevich wasn't hard enough, the Chicago Sun-Times reported that many of the dozen or so prospective jurors had been openly discussing articles about the case.

And since that violates the rules of the court, specifically a media blackout imposed by U.S. District Judge James Zagel, it could have pushed back the trial date yet again.

That might have suited Blagojevich's Chicago criminal defense attorney just fine, since his client had unsuccessfully requested a delay.

About 2,200 people were charged with narcotics-related offenses during a federal nationwide drug raid, including nine in Chicago, the Chicago Tribune reported. The Chicago bust netted 44 kilograms (nearly 100 pounds) of heroin and eight kilograms (more than 17 pounds) of cocaine, according to federal authorities.

The nationwide investigation by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Federal Bureau of Investigation were dubbed "Project Deliverance" and targeted Mexican drug-trafficking organizations selling in the United States.

In addition to the drugs, authorities seized cash and a handgun.

Cook County probation officer Michael Dickerson, a gang intelligence officer of 20 years, was charged with soliciting a hit man to kill his wife, according to the Chicago Tribune. He was ordered held on $500,000 bail.

If convicted on charges of solicitation of murder for hire, the 47-year-old faces between 20 and 40 years in prison. And if the evidence is strong, as prosecutors claim, there's a good chance his Chicago criminal attorney will suggest a guilty plea.

Michael Dickerson apparently asked the wrong guy to do the job. The would-be hit-man, who was offered just $1,000 for the hit, went to his lawyer and then the two of them met with Cook County sheriff's officials and members of the Cook County state's attorney's office.

Fifteen-year-old Cicero boy Miguel Villalba was shot and killed after an argument escalated into full-blown violence, the Chicago Tribune reported.

He and his 16-year-old sister (who was not named in the article) were near Theodore Roosevelt Elementary School with some other friends Sunday evening when they were approached by suspected gang members. Witnesses told officers and reporters that the two groups exchanged words, followed by a few thrown bricks.

As the clash escalated, one of the members of the second group left and returned with a gun. Several shots were fired and Miguel Villalba took a bullet to the head; he was pronounced dead at Loretto Hospital at 8:57 p.m. that evening.

As of June 3, police were still seeking witnesses and looking for suspects in the shooting death of 10th grader Jeremy Baggett, the Chicago Sun-Times reported. The shooting took place last Wednesday evening in the West Side's Humboldt Park neighborhood.

Harrison District police Capt. Roger Bay told reporters that officers found an unresponsive 15-year-old boy after responding to a call about shots fired. The Cook County Medical Examiner's Office pronounced him dead on the scene from a gunshot to the head.

There are probably a couple of different ways to get the police to respond to your car theft report a little quicker. But faking a gunshot and calling 911 is probably not one of them.

Yet, that's exactly what 21-year-old admitted gang member Joshua Coleman did, according to a Chicago Sun-Times article. It appears he didn't quite think his plan through and now will need the services of a Chicago criminal attorney.

An obviously uninjured Joshua Coleman reportedly told police "I'm the one who called" when they saw him at the scene of the crime.

As if the sight of one's 3-year-old daughter lying naked and lifeless in a creek bed wasn't horrifying enough, Kevin Fox spent eight months in jail after giving a murder confession he later said was coerced, as recounted by the Chicago Sun-Times.

Nothing could bring little Riley Fox back to her grieving parents, but father Kevin Fox eventually was cleared through DNA evidence and freed in 2005. Although he should never have been treated that way in the first place, it's a great example of a Chicago criminal defense attorney upholding justice.    

He and his wife, Melissa Fox, were awarded $8 million in a federal wrongful-arrest lawsuit. But until now, the Foxes had to live with the fact that their daughter's murderer was still out there.

As Chicago's residents prepare for summer and more time soaking up the sun along beachfront beaches, Ald. Vi Daley (43rd) is calling for police to install more surveillance cameras, the Chicago Sun-Times reported. As the weather heats up, so have incidents of beach violence along the North Avenue beach.

Vi Daley said she wants to curb gang activity at the beaches and believes cameras are one way to keep gang members away, or at least on their best behavior/

Chicago has seen more than its fair share of violence lately; so much, in fact, that state lawmakers last month called for the National Guard to step in and help keep the peace, according to CBS News. Chicago has had 113 homicide victims in so far this year, keeping Chicago criminal attorneys busy, and we haven't even reached the halfway point.