Victories - Part 2

Case: 14CR6676 Theft
Case Conclusion Date: October 19, 2015
Practice Area: Criminal Defense
Outcome: Not Guilty

Using the “How stupid would my client have to have been to have committed this crime” defense, here are the facts: client worked for a local pawn shop for over 10 years. Client was paid in cash and/or goods for his services, never given a paycheck. Client understands the pawn/jewelry business and knows that when goods are sold or pawned, a photo ID is produced and recorded with the Chicago Police Department and with the LEADS Online investigation system. The LEADS system is used to determine if sold or pawned items are reported stolen. All jewelers and pawn shops are required to use this system in their everyday transactions.

My client was owed money by the pawn shop he worked for and in exchange for what was owed, he was given two Rolex watches, which is subsequently sold at two different jewelers in the city. These were jewelers that he had done business with in the past and the employees there knew him by name. And, as required, he gave them his identification and signed the sales receipts.

His employer, for whatever reason, accused him of stealing these Rolexes and selling them at these two jewelry stores. The client was charged with two counts of theft. He was offered various types of probation and restitution in the amount of $10,000.00. As my client did not commit any crimes, he rejected the offers and demanded a trial. At trial, all evidence was presented, including the fact that the jewelers knew him, he did not appear nervous during the transactions and he presented his driver’s license. I argued, among other things, “my client would have to be incredibly stupid, knowing how the jewelry business functions, to have committed this crime, especially with jewelry establishments that know him by name!” Generally, arguing stupidity is not exactly a valid defense but the judge, in his ruling of NOT GUILTY, specifically stated that the defendant would have had to have been infinitely stupid to have committed this crime and did not believe that was possible in this instance.

Case: 15OP75657
Case Conclusion Date: October 15, 2015
Practice Area: Criminal Defense
Outcome: Order of Protection DENIED

Unbelievable this matter went this far. The disgruntled ex-husband of my client filed an Order of Protection, for apparently violating provisions of their divorce decree. A divorce decree out of Arizona no less that had not be registeredin the State of Illinois. Regardless, the appropriate venue would have been the Domestic Relations Division which handles post-divorce decree issues, such as a violation. After being set for hearing, and the Petitioner having testified, the Order of Protection was denied outright. And my client did not even have to testify.

Case: 15-214398
Case Conclusion Date: October 14, 2015
Practice Area: Criminal Defense
Outcome: Not Guilty

My client was charged with battery due to an alleged sprained wrist of the victim. The victim claimed that the defendant, after a verbal altercation at work, grabbed her by the wrist and twisted it in anger. Now, my client is the director at an institution and a conviction for battery would result in her termination, so even though the State’s Attorney offered my client court supervision, it would still have the same effect, and we set the matter for trial. What actually occurred was that the “victim” entered my client’s office, already confrontational, and started yelling at her. Not wanting to have the entire facility involved in their conversation, my client attempted to close her office door and brushed the victim’s hand away from the door jamb so she wouldn’t be hurt. After a bench trial my client was found not guilty.

Case: 15OP75146
Case Conclusion Date: Sep 29, 2015
Practice Area: Criminal Defense
Outcome: Order of Protection DENIED

The client was a local university student with no prior criminal history and a straight A student. He ended up as the respondent in a Petition for an Order of Protection filed by his disgruntled ex-girlfriend. Allegedly he grabbed her by the coat collar and pulled her out of his dorm room. This incident took place 7 months prior to the date of filing in a different country. After a hearing, the judge determined that an Order of Protection, which would hurt my client's chances of future employment, was not warranted and the Petition was denied.

Case: 15OP77315
Case Conclusion Date: July 22, 2015
Practice Area: Criminal Defense
Outcome: Order of Protection DENIED

My client’s wife, the Petitioner, filed an Emergency Order of Protection against him for allegedly shoving and hitting her on two different occasions. As I instruct all of my clients, he remained calm and mild-mannered throughout the hearing, the same could not be said for the Petitioner. I was able to cross-examine and unnerve her to the point that her demeanor was detrimental to her case. Additionally, she never contacted the police to file charges against my client for battery. In once instance, she alleged that my client tried to prevent her from driving away from the residence with their 10 month old disabled daughter by jumping in the car, putting it in park and taking the keys out of the ignition. This turned out to be true and luckily we had a photo of his daughter improperly restrained in the carseat with the seat belt across her face and not properly buckled. The Judge heard all of the testimony and was able to observe the demeanor of both my client and his wife and DENIED her Order of Protection.

Case: 14-242812
Case Conclusion Date: July 8, 2015
Practice Area: Criminal Defense
Outcome: Not Guilty

The Defendant, who had no prior criminal record, was charged with Assault. My client allegedly intimated that he had a gun and then threatened to "put a hole" through the victim if he didn't close his screen door to allow him access to pass by on the sidewalk. The Defendant was offered court supervision, which I strongly recommended he refuse and request a trial date. Luckily my client agreed. The case was then set for trial. Even assuming that my client did say this, to be found guilty under Assault, the victim must have been in fear of imminent bodily harm from the Defendant. Because the Defendant said that IF the victim didn't close his screen door to allow him to pass, that constituted conditional language, which infers a FUTURE threat. A conditional threat is not sufficient to justify an Assault under the Illinois Compiled Statutes. I requested a Motion for Directed Finding after the victims testified, which means that if it was granted, my client would not even need to testify. The judge deliberated for awhile and at the end of his deliberations, my Client was found not guilty.

Case: 14-218156
Case Conclusion Date: April 6, 2015
Practice Area: Criminal Defense
Outcome: Not Guilty

While working at a massage parlor, my client was accused of prostitution by an undercover officer with the Chicago Police Department. She was offered the State's Attorney's deferred prosecution program which would have resulted in a dismissal upon completion. My client was adamant she did nothing wrong and the officer was lying. The case went to trial today and after the officer's testimony, my client testified as to her version of the facts and she was found not guilty!

Case: 14 DV 79611
Case Conclusion Date: March 5, 2015
Practice Area: Criminal Defense
Outcome: Not Guilty

Domestic Battery charges filed against my client for allegedly beating his son’s mother. State's Attorney offered to reduce the charges to Simple Battery for court supervision, domestic violence counseling, an alcohol evaluation and the entry of an Order of Protection against him. As his attorney, I conveyed the offer and highly recommended he reject it. Case went to trial today. The victim testified that my client, with no provocation or verbal argument, picked her up and slammed her to the ground and then beat her for 20 more minutes. She never called 911 (he did) nor did she seek medical treatment for her supposed injuries. She even brought photos to court allegedly showing her injuries. My client testified credibly that not only did he not engage in any physical altercation, she was the aggressor. FINDING OF NOT GUILTY AT TRIAL

Case Conclusion Date: March 4, 2015
Practice Area: Criminal Defense
Outcome: Not Guilty

Client was charged with a Class X, non-probationable, criminal, sexual assault against a roommate of his girlfriend. He was also charged with theft for allegedly stealing an ipad, cash and a laptop computer. We demanded trial as the victim wasn't appearing in court for the trial. On the last day of our demand, the victim and her witness appeared and it was on! I successfully argued that what sexual encounter did allegedly occur, which my client denied, did not qualify as a sexual assault and the court agreed. No one appeared in court to testify as to the theft charge. And, to top it all off, when the victim DID call 911, she made no mention of any criminal sexual assault, only the theft. Finding of Not Guilty!

Case: 14 OP 77482
Practice Area: Criminal Defense
Date: February 13, 2015
Outcome: Order of Protection DENIED

An Order of Protection was filed not once, not twice but three times against my client. The first two were dismissed after the Petitioner attempted to extort money from my client. The third filing was the final straw. He hired me and we fought this case to its rightful conclusion, order of protection denied. There were no allegations of abuse, stalking or harassment. The judge saw right through the Petitioner's claims after my strenuous cross examination of her.

Case: 14113495501
Practice Area: Criminal Defense
Date: January 15, 2015
Outcome: Finding of No Probable Cause

My client was charged with possession of a controlled substance, a Class 4 Felony which is punishable by one to three years in the Illinois Department of Corrections. My client, who was not the driver, was located in the rear passenger seat of a vehicle when said vehicle was pulled over for a broken windshield. Allegedly the officers found drugs in the driver’s side door area. For some reason, my client was asked to exit the vehicle and he was subsequently detained and a protective pat down was performed on his person. The officer stated in court that he did not see any weapons in the vehicle and no drugs were found in the vicinity of my client’s person. I argued that there was no probably cause to perform said pat down and they judge wholeheartedly agreed. The case was dismissed and my client was released from custody!

Case: 14 CR 8437
Practice Area: Criminal Defense
Date: October 24, 2014
Outcome: Motion to Suppress Evidence GRANTED

California client was charged with Drug Trafficking when the rental car is he was driving was stopped by a State Trooper for traveling 60mph in a 55mph zone. Yes, really. Trooper had a "hunch" that my client was involved in "some" sort of illegal activity based on the condition of the interior of the car, the fact that his luggage was in the back seat and not the trunk and the fact that my client appeared very nervous. Trooper called for a K9 dog sniff, which took 34 minutes to arrive. Client was facing 12-50 years in prison. Motion to Suppress evidence was heard today and the judge ruled that based on the Caballes case, the officer unlawfully prolonged the traffic stop for the K9 to arrive. Motion granted! My client got to go back home to California to be with his beautiful wife and kids.

Case: 13 CR 19979
Practice Area: Criminal Defense
Date: October 2, 2014
Outcome: NOT GUILTY AT TRIAL

The defendant, my client, was charged with Delivery of a Controlled Substance, which is normally a Class 1 Felony, punishable from 4-15 years in prison (IDOC). Unfortunately my client has prior convictions such that his case is a mandatory Class X Felony, which would result in a sentence of 6-30 years in prison with no possibility of probation. Basically my client had no option other than to go to trial or accept a 6 year prison sentence. To further complicate things, the alleged delivery was witnessed by an undercover Chicago Police Department surveillance officer in an unmarked vehicle. Officer testified that he saw an exchange of United States Currency (USC) in exchange for a plastic baggie with 10 smaller baggies inside. The buyer ultimately fled the scene as officers approached and made good on his escape but not before dropping the baggie with the heroin in it, which was recovered by the officer and used as evidence against my client at trial today. But for some reason, when my client and his vehicle were searched, no USC was recovered, not a single dime. The standard is that the State's Attorney must prove my client guilty BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT. And...that missing moolah was just enough to create that doubt. Finding of not guilty.

Case: 13-221786
Practice Area: Criminal Defense
Date: March 20, 2014
Outcome: NOT GUILTY AT TRIAL

My client, a 62 year old election judge with no criminal background whatsoever, was charged with battery for allegedly grabbing and twisting the hand of a woman who was trying to grab a ballot from him during a union election. The "victim" then waited a day to even call the police. The State’s Attorney offered my client court supervision, which is not a conviction and could later be expunged. My client was adamant that he did not commit this act and that the victim was just out for revenge for a previous issue. The matter was set for trial. Victim called two witnesses on her behalf and we had two on my client's side. Judge quickly determined that no criminal activity occurred and found my client not guilty.

Case: 14 DV 70055
Practice Area: Criminal Defense
Date: March 14, 2014
Outcome: NOT GUILTY AT TRIAL

This matter stemmed from a charge of domestic battery against a "landlord". My client, who has no criminal background, leased the basement area from a woman who owned the home. The landlord decided to come into my client’s living space without knocking or announcing herself while my client was visiting with his sister. Upon requesting that she leave immediately, the landlord refused and started a verbal altercation. In response, my client put his arm out to prevent her from entering into the area further. She then became combative and proceeded to hit my client twice. In order to restrain her from continuing to hit him, my client then grabbed her by the arms and removed her from the area and shut his door. She then called the police claiming he grabbed her and left bruises. The State offered to dismiss the charge and instead have him agree to an Order of Protection. I advised against this as an Order of Protection would result in a mark on his criminal background, and my client's background was clear, other than this arrest. We proceeded to trial and the judge found his story more believable than the victim's and he was found not guilty. Needless to say, another very happy client.

Case: 13 OP 74540
Practice Area: Criminal Defense – Civil Litigation
Date: February 3, 2014
Outcome: Order of Protection DISMISSED

I represented the Respondent in defense of a Petition for an Order of Protection

The basic facts are that she dated the Petitioner for over a year, they planned to marry and for whatever reason, the wedding was cancelled by the Petitioner. Then things fell apart disastrously. Emails and texts were sent, police reports were filed, my client was arrested on more than one occasion as a result of the Petitioner’s false accusations. She actually ended up with a misdemeanor criminal trespass to property! That case went to trial and she was found not guilty.

I cannot tell you how much work went into this case. My client was incensed with how she was treated by the Petitioner and how much strife he caused in her life. And truthfully, it was almost impossible for me to represent her as she was very emotional and demanding (understandably) with what she expected of my legal services. I had to explain that it was a somewhat simple matter of defending the allegations in the Petition and that it wasn’t necessary to bring up other seemingly irrelevant issues that weren’t related to those specific allegations.

The key is, I tell every client, criminal or civil: be calm in court, do not make any gestures, do not make any comments unless you are being questioned, and just stand there next to me and look at the judge. People and some attorneys don’t understand that a judge is actually watching everything that goes on in her courtroom. She notices how you dress, how you compose yourself and what you say. I’ve lost trials based on how my client comports herself in court.

My client at her hearing performed exceptionally. She didn’t do anything to offend the court and remained calm and fairly impassive. On the other hand, opposing counsel started yelling at her when she didn’t answer a question the way he wanted her to. The judge lit into him like I’ve never seen. At the end of the day, the judge found the Petitioner to be wholly unbelievable in his allegations and my client now has a clean record. Justice prevailed.

See more at: http://www.chicagocriminallawyerblog.com/2014/02/07/order-protection-dismissed/

Case: 12 CR 1391
Practice Area: Criminal Defense
Date: December 5, 2013
Outcome: NOT GUILTY AT TRIAL

Another NOT GUILTY on a charge of Aggravated Unlawful Use of Weapon by a Felon!

It took almost two years, but my client’s case finally went to trial today in Bridgeview. This was a case where the co-defendant was alleged to have fired off a couple rounds on New Year's Eve, which was allegedly viewed by a patrol officer. My client was alleged to have made an oral statement admitting to the gun that was found in his bedroom closet after an unconstitutional search of his residence. We were forced to go to trial as the charges carry a mandatory prison sentence, no probation available. The possible sentence upon a guilty verdict was 3-7 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections. The Judge was fantastic and was eloquent enough to say that you don't need to call someone a liar for them to not be necessarily believable. It was a close one as most judges tend to believe oral statements when made in the presence of a police officer. NOT GUILTY for both co-defendants.

Case: 12 CR 1360
Practice Area: Criminal Defense
Date: December 2, 2013
Outcome: NOT GUILTY AT TRIAL

My client was the happy recipient of a not guilty today on four counts of Aggravated Unlawful Use of Weapon with no valid FOID card (720 ILCS 5/24-1.6 (a)(1)/(3)(c)). While he was initially charged with 4 counts under the Agg UUW statute, the first 2 were dismissed by the State’s Attorney due to People v. Aguilar and my Motion to Dismiss. He is a security guard and was pulled over for a broken tail light. He voluntarily told the ISP (Illinois State Police) trooper that he had his gun on him, that he is a security guard and showed him his FOID card. Trooper ran the card and found it revoked. It was revoked due to his previous Agg UUW arrest. I did a bench on that one and got a not guilty as well. His FOID was returned to him at the conclusion of his first trial.

So, the issue I presented at trial is NOT whether his FOID card was revoked, but whether he had knowledge. The client testified that never received any notice of the revocation. State argued strict liability, but I effectively argued that the word "knowingly" under the statute modifies the entire statute, not just the portion relating to possessing a firearm. The judge agreed that it modifies the entire statute and found him not guilty.

Case: 11 CR 1917
Practice Area: Criminal Defense
Date: November 20, 2013
Outcome: NOT GUILTY AT TRIAL

My 22 year old client, with no criminal background, was charged with Armed Robbery and Aggravated Battery . This case carried a mandatory 21 year sentence if convicted because there was an allegation that a firearm was used during the offense.

My client was charged along with another co-defendant after they allegedly robbed a pizza delivery guy. Even though my client did not possess the weapon, because he was “involved” the state’s attorney was attempting to use the law of accountability to charge him with the same crime as the co-defendant. The law of accountability states that a defendant must engage in a common criminal design or agreement, any acts in furtherance of that common design committed by one party are considered to be the acts of all parties.

And I tell all of my clients, even if I believe they have a difficult case, you never know what will happen when an officer or civilian victim testifies. In this case, the officers sworn report stated that my client actually took possession of the pizzas, after his co-defendant held a gun to the victim’s head, and ran into a neighboring house. There were also allegations that not only was a gun held to the victim’s head, but that three other masked individuals were involved who attacked the victim, causing bodily harm. At trial the victim made no mention of my client possessing a firearm or taking possession of the pizzas. A motion was made after the state’s attorneys rested their case for a directed finding of not guilty. The judge heard arguments from both sides and determined that my client could not be found guilty and found my client NOT GUILTY! And my scared client did not even have to testify.

Case: 13112008901
Practice Area: Criminal Defense
Date: July 30, 2013
Outcome: Finding of No Probable Cause

My 37 year old client, with no criminal background, was charged with Unlawful Use of Weapon (UUW) after the Chicago Police searched his vehicle after finding cannabis outside the vehicle. The police claim they saw cannabis also in the vehicle on the front passenger seat, resulting in a search incident to arrest. Thankfully the officer at the preliminary hearing testified truthfully that the gun was found in the CLOSED center console of the vehicle. I successfully argued that under the Diggins and Holmes cases, a closed center console is considered a “case” and thus there was no violation of the UUW statute. Judge agreed, finding of no probable cause.

Case: 12-258411
Practice Area: Criminal Defense
Date: June 19, 2013
Outcome: Not Guilty

Client was charged with BATTERY . The State’s Attorney offered my client court supervision, which is not a conviction and could eventually be expunged from his record. Considering the facts of the case, I highly recommended that he reject the offer and set the case for trial. The allegations were that my client grabbed the victim using two fingers at the base of her neck and then walked away. The victim never reported the incident to the police or sought a warrant for his arrest. 7 weeks later, she sees him on the street and yells at him. He then allegedly, from across the street, threatens to slap her. The victim then calls the police and informed them that my client grabbed her by the neck 7 weeks ago! For some reason, the police arrest my client not for what occurred on the date of the arrest, but for something that occurred weeks ago. Even the judge couldn’t figure out why my client was charged and granted my motion for directed finding. NOT GUILTY!

Case: 12 CR 13448
Practice Area: Criminal Defense
Date: June 18, 2013
Outcome: Not Guilty

Client was charged with CRIMINAL SEXUAL ASSAULT (RAPE) , which is a Class 1 Felony punishable from 6 to 30 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections. There is no probation for this offense. If that wasn’t bad enough, he would have to serve 85% of his time in prison AND register as a sex offender for the rest of his life. The State’s Attorney offered to reduce the charge to a probationable offense which would keep my client out of prison and only require my client to register as a sex offender for 10 years. I suggested that he reject that offer and set the case for trial. The allegations were that while my client’s niece was living with him, he committed an act of sexual penetration using force or the threat of force. This was not the case. I successfully argued at trial that whether he committed the act or not, what he did was not illegal. After cross-examining the victim, I made a motion for directed finding which if granted, my client would be found not guilty and would not have to testify in his defense. The judge deliberated for quite awhile but after reviewing the testimony of the victim and consulting the statute, she found that the state could not prove their burden beyond a reasonable doubt and granted my motion. NOT GUILTY!

Case: 13-202844
Practice Area: Criminal Defense
Date: May 13, 2013
Outcome: Not Guilty

Client was charged with BATTERY , which should have been charged as Criminal Sexual Assault, but thankfully was not. The allegations were that while my client was acting as a licensed massage therapist, he fondled the victim’s breasts. The victim made no claim of the alleged fondling until AFTER the massage was over and she went home. The case went to a bench trial and after testimony by both my client and the victim, the judge found that the victim was no credible and that the State’s Attorney had not met their burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt. NOT GUILTY.

Case: 12-227974
Practice Area: Criminal Defense
Date: Mar 27, 2013
Outcome: Case Dismissed

Client was charged with theft at Midway Airport. Allegedly he picked up an iPad at security and walked off with it to his gate. The State's Attorney had a video and two TSA Agents in court when we set the case for trial. The victim, who had always appeared in court ready to proceed, failed to appear. The State asked for a continuance which was summarily denied by the judge when we answered ready for trial. Case dismissed!

Case: 12-235088
Practice Area: Criminal Defense
Date: Mar 21, 2013
Outcome: Not Guilty

Client was charged with two counts of battery . This absolutely should have been charged as a felony aggravated battery due to the use of a weapon and the nature of the injuries, great bodily harm. The allegations were that my client slashed each victims neck, resulting in a 4 inch permanent gash. Case was set for trial, both victims appeared and testified, and it was more than evident that there was in fact a 4 inch large scar on each victim's neck. The problem is that each victim had conflicting testimony at trial, neither actually saw my client with a weapon, both were intoxicated at 5:00am when they came out of the bar, AND one of the victims actually started the altercation with my client by attempting to punch him in the face! When he pushed her away, and she fell, she got up and instead of retaliating against my client, she decided to punch his girlfriend, who was already on the ground! Motion for directed finding granted, not guilty!

Case: 12 CR 21533
Practice Area: Criminal Defense
Date: Mar 13, 2013
Outcome: Not Guilty

My innocent 26 year old client, with NO criminal background, was charged with False Report of Vehicle Theft and Insurance Fraud , a Class 2 felony subjecting her to a possible 3-7 year prison sentence if found guilty. This case was assigned to a special prosecutor with the financial fraud unit and upon my request to dismiss the charges or even reduce them, refused, stating they had a solid case against my client. My client forgot where she parked her car, made a police report and then found her car 5 days later, after reporting the loss to her insurance company. She immediately contacted the police to advise them she found her vehicle and informed the insurance company as well, withdrawing her claim. Refusing the state's offer of probation, we went to trial and she was found NOT GUILTY!

Case: DUI Reduced
Practice Area: DUI / DWI
Date: Mar 12, 2013
Outcome: DUI Reduced to Reckless Driving

17 year old client with no driver's license charged with DUI . Client totaled her car and seriously injured her passenger. This should have been charged as a felony. I was able to not only keep the charge from becoming a felony, I successfully convinced the state's attorney to REDUCE the charges to a reckless driving!

Case: 12-247601
Practice Area: Criminal Defense
Date: Feb 25, 2013
Outcome: Not Guilty

Client was charged with battery to a taxi cab driver after an altercation that occurred over a window shade! Cab driver tried to claim that my client attacked him when my client was the one with the injuries. We went to trial and after testimony by my client and his girlfriend, the judge didn't believe a word of what the cab driver said and found my client not guilty.

Case: 12-243356
Practice Area: Criminal Defense
Date: Feb 04, 2013
Outcome: DISMISSED

Client was charged with theft/forgery and was facing a year in jail based on her prior criminal history. We demanded trial and the state was unable to produce testimony from any reliable witness. Case DISMISSED!

Case #: 12 OP 78638
Practice Area: Criminal Defense
Date: Jan 16, 2013
Outcome: Order of Protection DENIED

Client's roommate was seeking an Order of Protection against her for battery . An Order of Protection would harm my client as it affects her rap sheet. Petitioner tried to have my client agree to a restraining order, which we refused. After a hearing, where the Petitioner was completely unbelievable, the court DENIED the Order of Protection and my client was vindicated!

Case #: 11 CR 15166
Practice Area: Criminal Defense
Date: Jan 08, 2013
Outcome: Guilty on lesser included offenses resulting in less prison time.

We don't "win" every case but this client was charged with multiple counts: aggravated vehicular hijacking, aggravated unlawful use of a weapon and aggravated unlawful restraint. These charges carried a sentence of 22 to 45 years upon conviction. Took the case to trial and the judge found my client NOT GUILTY on the unlawful use of a weapon which reduced the sentencing range down to 6 to 30 years, saving my client numerous years in the Illinois Department of Corrections. Client was ecstatic regarding the result and his sentence is day for day so he will be back home with his family soon!