Articles Tagged with chicago criminal defense lawyer

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pills-300x200Health Care Fraud is one of the most common white collar crimes charged by the Federal Government. The Health Care Fraud statute states:

(a)Whoever knowingly and willfully executes, or attempts to execute, a scheme or artifice—

(1) to defraud any health care benefit program; or

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dog Supreme Court of Illinois holds that use of a drug-detection dog violated Fourth Amendment in People v. Burns.

On January 10, 1013 at 3:20 am, the police along with a drug-detection dog went into defendant’s apartment building.  This officer and his dog got into the building when a tenant let in a fellow officer, who was undercover.  The drug dog alerted to defendant’s apartment door and a search warrant was obtained.  The apartment was searched, drugs were found, and defendant was charged.

The Illinois Supreme Court first looked at the United States Supreme Court case of Florida v. Jardines, in which the police took a drug dog to the front porch of the defendant’s home and sniffed the door.  The Supreme Court of the United States found that this was a search for Fourth Amendment purposes. The US Supreme Court went on to state that the areas surrounding and associated with the home are considered part of the home.

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The Department of Justice wasted no time in showing that its new policy of going after individuals, not just companies, engaged in fraudulent conduct was for real.  (See, Blog post DOJ to Focus on Individual Accountability for Corporate Fraud.) Late last week, October 29, 2015, the government charged the former president of a subsidiary of Warner Chilcott PLC, a pharmaceutical division, with conspiracy to violate the Anti-Kickback Statute.  This is an important step in holding individuals accountable for the conduct of business units for which they are responsible.

For too long, companies could engage in fraudulent conduct only to pay a hefty fine, with the individuals responsible for the fraud suffering little or no consequences and often reaping the benefits of their unlawful conduct with increased pay and bonuses.  If a company faced a significant fine, or debarment from a government program, which impacted the company’s earnings, the only people likely to suffer were its shareholders.  Investor Bill Ackman said that drug companies get sanctioned all the time, but that does not mean that they are bad investments.  According to Ackman, the $390 million Novartis settlement was just the cost of doing business.   (See, Bloomberg.)

Engaging in fraud should never be a conscious business decision.  Holding individuals responsible will hopefully, deter this type of conduct.

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prison-979960-sChicago, Illinois

A fifteen year old was charged and convicted of aggravated criminal sexual assault, rape.  The defendant was tried as an adult and sentenced to 36 years in prison, of which he will have to serve 85%.  The Illinois Court of Appeals reversed, finding that the defendant’s confession was wrongly admitted, and that the victim’s sexual history should have been admitted under an exception to the Illinois Rape Shield statute.  The Illinois Supreme Court reversed and remanded to the appellate court to consider only the defendant’s excessive sentence claim.

The State alleged that Defendant raped his counselor when she was taking him back to the residential treatment  facility in which he lived.

The State raised two issues on appeal to the Illinois Supreme Court.   First, whether the statement should have been suppressed and second, whether the trial court properly applied the rape shield statute.

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gun-and-bullets-1146529-sChicago – On a Sunday night in Chicago around Armitage and Kildare and Wabansia and Karlov the Chicago Police received numerous 911 calls reporting gunshots in the area. The callers reported to 911 hearing between 5 and 9 shots and based on additional 911 calls that the shots were fired from a black car traveling south on Karlov nears Wabansia.

The traffic was light, and two Chicago Police officers on patrol drove to Kostner and proceeded south. Kostner is a few blocks west of Karlov. The officers drove past a black car heading north and officers turned around and followed the black car. The Chicago Police officers stopped the car a short distance later. The officers approached the car and found a revolver on the passenger seat of the defendant, which had 5 of the six round fired.

The Defendant, a convicted felon, was charged with possessing a firearm as a convicted felon.  18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1).

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 jail-979240-sChicago – Many client and their families want to know if they will have to serve 85% of their sentence to the Illinois Department of Corrections.  Here is the rule from 730 ILCS 5/3-6-3


A prisoner serving a sentence for:

attempt to commit terrorism

attempt to commit first degree murder

solicitation of murder

solicitation of murder for hire

intentional homicide of an unborn child

predatory criminal sexual assault of a child

aggravated criminal sexual assault

criminal sexual assault

aggravated kidnapping

aggravated battery with a firearm as described in Section 12-4.2 or subdivision (e)(1), (e)(2), (e)(3), or (e)(4) of Section 12-3.05

heinous battery as described in Section 12-4.1 or subdivision (a)(2) of Section 12-3.05

armed habitual criminal

aggravated battery of a senior citizen as described in Section 12-4.6 or subdivision (a)(4) of Section 12-3.0

aggravated battery of a child as described in Section 12-4.3 or subdivision (b)(1) of Section 12-3.05

shall receive no more than 4.5 days of sentence credit for each month of his or her sentence of imprisonment;

A prisoner serving a sentence for:

Home invasion

armed robbery

aggravated vehicular hijacking

aggravated discharge of a firearm

armed violence with a category I weapon or category II weapon, when the court has made and entered a finding, pursuant to subsection (c-1) of Section 5-4-1 of this Code, that the conduct leading to conviction for the enumerated offense resulted in great bodily harm to a victim

shall receive no more than 4.5 days of sentence credit for each month of his or her sentence of imprisonment;

        A prisoner serving a sentence for:
aggravated discharge of a firearm, whether or not the conduct leading to conviction for the offense resulted in great bodily harm to the victim

shall receive no more than 4.5 days of sentence credit for each month of his or her sentence of imprisonment

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police-on-the-scene-1172422-sChicago – The Supreme Court in the case of Narvarette v. California, 188 L.Ed. 2d 680, April 22, 2014, ruled that an anonymous report of a traffic violation justified the stop of a vehicle.  In this case, a five to four opinion, the majority opinion is written by Justice Thomas and the dissent by Justice Scalia.  This case concerns whether an anonymous tip to 911 can justify the stop of a vehicle under the Fourth Amendment.

Here are the facts.  A 911-dispatch center for the California Highway Patrol received a 911 call that a pickup truck ran the caller off the road.  The caller gave a description of the vehicle, license plate number, and location.  The dispatcher relayed the following:  “Showing southbound Highway 1 at mile marker 88.  Silver Ford 150 pickup.  Plate of 8-David-94925.  Ran the reporting party off the roadway and was last seen approximately five [minutes] ago.”  Officers found the truck, followed it for about five minutes, did not observe any traffic violations, and pulled the truck over.  When approaching the truck the officers smelled marijuana and a search found 30 pounds of it.

The defendant filed a motion to suppress the evidence, asserting that the police lacked a reasonable suspicion of criminal activity when they stopped his car.  The defendant lost at the trial court level and on appeal to the California Court of Appeals and the California Supreme Court denied review. Continue reading

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DNAChicago – the Illinois Court of Appeals reversed and remanded a case in which the Cook County trial judge denied the defendant’s motion for DNA testing.

On October 28, 1999, the victim was shot and killed by a male wearing a gray sweatshirt. Later that day the Chicago police found a man sitting on a gray sweatshirt in a vehicle matching the description of the vehicle identified leaving the vicinity of the shooting. As the police approached the vehicle, a weapon was thrown from a window. At trial a witness testified that on the day of the shooting she spoke with the victim and then saw a man with a gray hoody whom she identified as the defendant. The witness testified that she saw the defendant’s face the first time he walked by but did not see the shooters face. Nonetheless, she identified him as the shooter in a line up and she identified a picture of the hoody.

Another witness who was sitting on her porch heard several gunshots and saw a man running with a gray sweatshirt on. She also identified the defendant in a lineup, the gray sweatshirt, and wrote down the license plate of the van he got into. Continue reading

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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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Every once in a while, I ask myself why am I a False Claims Act lawyerambulance-1334534-m.  False Claims Act cases are difficult to win, partly because the government only intervenes in a small percentage of the qui tam cases filed, leaving the majority of cases to be litigated by the whistleblower and his or her attorney, without the real party in interest, the United States, being directly involved and active in the case.  These non-intervened cases only account for about 4% of all False Claims Act recoveries.

But whenever I get a phone call, an email, or a referral from another lawyer for a whistleblower case, I still get excited about the prospect, the potential, for a meaningful False Claims Act case that will right a wrong, and bring a significant financial reward to my client. 

Last week, the Justice Department announced that Saint Joseph Health System Inc, agreed to pay the United States $16.5 million.  According to the government, doctors at St. Joseph were performing pacemaker surgeries, coronary artery bypass surgeries, and diagnostic catheterizations, all on patients who did not need these procedures, simply for financial gain.  Here we are not talking about a doctor padding the bill, by billing for a 40 minute office visit when it only took 20 minutes, we are talking about doctors and a hospital knowingly, intentionally, performing invasive cardiac procedures just to make some more money with absolutely no thought or care for their patients’ well-being.  This is why whistleblowers perform such an essential and necessary role in our efforts to uncover and stop fraud, waste, and abuse, and in this case real harm being done to patients. Continue reading

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