Articles Posted in 5th Amendment

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Chicago Crimlaw-education-series-3-1467430inal Defense Lawyer Michael Rosenblat wins fourth not guilty verdict in a row.

Mr. Rosenblat’s most recent not guilty came on May 13, 2016 when the judge found the defendant not guilty of domestic battery.  The alleged victim claimed that the defendant pushed a heavy object into her knocking her to the ground.  In order to prove its case, the Cook County Assistant State’s Attorney called two witnesses to testify, the alleged victim and a Chicago Police Officer. Mr. Rosenblat’s cross-examination of the complaining witnesses exposed the fact that she could not see who caused the object to be pushed into her.  The cross-examination also uncovered many inconsistencies in her testimony that defied common sense.  The defendant was found not guilty without the defense calling a single witness.

On March 30, 2016, Mr. Rosenblat’s client was found not guilty of aggravated robbery, a charge that carried a maximum sentence of up 30 years in prison.    The complaining witness added facts in his testimony, which he never told to the police even though he was interviewed multiple times.  Mr. Rosenblat’s cross-examination of the victim’s prior inconsistent statements showed that he was not credible. Mr. Rosenblat called several witnesses in the defense case in chief, including the defendant.  Defendant was found not guilty of all charges.

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law-badge-1164850-sIt is common for criminal defense attorneys  in Chicago and elsewhere to advise their clients to remain silent and refuse to make any statements whenever they are being questioned by law enforcement.  But recently, the United States Supreme Court held in Salinas v. Texas, 570 U.S. ____, 133 S.Ct. 2174 (2013), that if a client/witness remains silent under non-custodial police questioning, the prosecutor can now introduce such silence at trial as evidence of guilt.  Custodial interrogation is generally, when a person has been arrested by the police and then the police are required to advise the suspect of his Miranda rights.  Under non-custodial interrogation, the police are not required provide Miranda warnings.

A custodial interrogation is when the person being questioned is under arrest or at least not free to leave. The difference is extremely fact based.  A person handcuffed and questioned is being subject to a custodial interrogation.  A person stopped for a traffic offense is not.

Before the Supreme Court issued this opinion, a suspect’s right to remain silent could never be used against him.

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prison-1431136-sChicago – the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals Addresses Probation and Supervised Release Revocation Hearings and Hearsay

Defendant Keith D. Jordan, United States v. Jordan, (No. 13-1488 January 28, 2014) was sentenced to federal prison, released and began serving his three years of supervised release on June 28, 2011.  The conditions of his supervised release included that he could not leave the judicial district without permission, associate with a felon or a person engaged in criminal activity, commit a crime, and report any arrest or questioning by law enforcement within 72 hours.  Sometime after being placed on supervised release, Defendant was arrested in Texas and charged with marijuana possession.  On December 7, 2012, the probation officer filed a petition to revoke Jordan’s supervised release alleging four violations.  First, that he left the judicial district without permission, second, that he associated with a felon, third that he committed a new offense, that being possession of 30 pounds of marijuana, and fourth that he failed to report his arrest in 72 hours.

The Federal Sentencing Guidelines categorizes violations of supervised release based on the seriousness of the violation as Grades A, B, or C, with A being the most serious.  Continue reading

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There has been a lot of consternation over the US Supreme Court’s opinion in Williams v. Illinois, No. 10-8505, June 18, 2012, from defense attorneys; however, the decision actually seems to be pretty limited.  The ISP expert testified that a DNA profile produced by Cellmark matched defendant’s, but Williams had the opportunity to confront her as to her opinion.  She didn’t testify that the DNA profile produced by Cellmark was accurate or reliable.  The Court also makes several references to the point that this was a bench trial and that the judge knew what testimony was hearsay and not being offered for the truth of the matter asserted.