Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Criminal Lawyers' Court Call: 4/03/2013

On this morning, Raymond G. Wigell and Huma Rashid appeared at the Cook County Courthouse in Markham, Illinois.

We had three cases up on the call that day, so it was a slightly heavier day. Despite all of that, we were able to handle everything efficiently, and had our clients out of the courthouse in about an hour. Though we never want to rush our court dates, we also don't like to keep our clients delayed there for no reason.

In our first case up that morning, our client was charged with the following:
  • five (5) counts of Dog Fighting (720 ILCS 5/26-5(a)) 
  • five (5) counts of Aggravated Cruelty (510 ILCS 70/3.02(1)). 

This was a status date in order to see if the State was able to procure USDA reports made by federal agents about this case. At this date, the State had been unable to get the reports, and was in fact uncertain as to whether or not the reports actually existed. We set a final status date for the State to determine whether or not the reports exist and if they'd like to include them in discovery. On that date in May, we will likely set a date for trial, unless new information requires that we set another status date. Sometimes, that happens: even if a date is set as a final status date, one or more additional status dates are set past that date if the situation calls for it.

In our second case up that morning, our client was charged with the following:
  • four (4) counts of Attempted First Degree Murder (720 ILCS 5/8-4(a) and 720 ILCS 5/9-1(a)(1))
  • five (5) counts of Home Invasion (720 ILCS 5/12-11(a)(3))
  • four (4) counts of Armed Robbery (720 ILCS 5/18-2(a)(2))
  • seven (7) counts of Aggravated Kidnapping (720 ILCS 5/10-2(a)(6))
  • two (2) counts of Aggravated Battery with a firearm (720 ILCS 5/12-4.2(a)(1))
  • two (2) counts of Aggravated Discharge of a firearm (720 ILCS 5/24-1.2(a)(2))  
  • five (5) counts of Aggravated Unlawful Restraint (720 ILCS 5/10-3.1)
  • two (2) counts of Aggravated Unlawful Use of a Weapon (720 ILCS 5/24-1.6(a)(1)/(3)(A)
This date was supposed to be a hearing on the Defense's motion in limine. However, in a conversation between the two of us and the Assistant State's Attorney, it was decided that a hearing was premature, especially since additional discovery was tendered on this day. Instead, we took a short status date for later this month, on a date when one of the co-defendants in this case is in for a status date. On that day, we will have a hearing on our motion.

In our final case up that morning, our client was charged with the following:
  • Three (3) counts of Aggravated Unlawful Use of a Weapon (720 ILCS 5/24-1.6(a)(1)/(3)(A); 720 ILCS 5/24-1.6(a)(1)/(3)(C); and 720 ILCS 5/24-1.6(a)(1)/(3)(I))
This was a final status date. On this date, we were to inform the ASA whether or not our client wanted to go to trial, or plead. In a preliminary conversation with the State, we tried to negotiate something in the eleventh hour, although we've had these conversations many times before. We asked if the State would come off the mandatory minimum (of 1 year in IDOC), and if we could work something out, possibly by way of a 402 conference with the Judge. The ASA indicated that since this was a gun case and due to national headlines and public discourse, guns were a hot-button issue and the States Attorney's office took a hard line stance on such things.

That having been said, we informed the State that we would be gearing up for trial, and indicated that we would seek a jury trial (in which the independent fact-finders are twelve people that are a cross-section of the community) instead of a bench trial (in which the independent fact-finder is the presiding Judge). With the date set, there was no need to be called up before the Judge, so that was that.

With those three cases taken care for for now, we met with each of our clients (we always do this immediately after the case gets called up) and sent them on their way before returning to the office.



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