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Giovannini & Olshansky
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Criminal Law: Driving on Revoked License Motion Granted Dismissed

By Giovannini & Olshansky of Giovannini & Olshansky posted in Criminal Law on Wednesday, April 24, 2013. 

In Criminal Law case the People v. J.T. the Cook County, First District, Chicago Judge granted the defendant's Motion to Quash his arrest and Suppress Evidence. The Judge originally heard the Motion to Suppress the Evidence several months ago and denied the defendant's motion. Attorney David Olshansky was sure that the judge ruled incorrectly on the evidence that was presented at trial and ordered a transcript of the proceeding from the previous hearing. After a careful review of the transcript, Mr. Olshansky filed a Motion to Reconsider and outlined the testimony that was presented to the judge during the hearing. On today's date, April 24, 2013, the Judge reversed her opinion, agreed with Mr. Olshansky, and granted the Motion to Quash the Arrest and Suppress Evidence leaving the State's Attorney with no choice but to dismiss the charges against J.T..

The defendant was charged with Driving on a Revoked License and, although a misdemeanor, was facing up to one year in the Cook County jail. The officer alleged that J.T. was driving on the west side of Chicago and failed to use a turn signal. The Officer then maintained that after J.T. was pulled over it was discovered that he had a revoked license. This officer testified at the original hearing and was subject to cross examination by Attorney Olshansky. Through extensive cross examination the officer's testimony was challenged. Mr. Olshansky picked through each detail of the officer's testimony, and then he called the defendant to testify on his own behalf. After the defendant testified the judge ruled that J.T.'s testimony was more believable and compelling then the officer's, however, she still thought that there was a legal basis for the detention of the defendant which led to the discovery of his revoked license, and therefore originally denied the motion. After the testimony was outlined in the motion to reconsider the judge reversed herself and ruled that under Illinois Criminal Law there was not right to detain the defendant. Left with no evidence the State's Attorney dismissed the charges.

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In Criminal Law Case People v. J.M. on April 4, 2012 there was a finding of No Probable Cause during the Preliminary Hearing at the courthouse located in Chicago commonly referred to as 51st and Wentworth, Branch 48. 

The defendant was charged with a felony count of retail theft outside of J.C. Penny's for his alleged taking of a $30 dollar belt from a store located at the Ford City shopping mall. Usually retail thefts of under $300 are charged as Class A Misdemeanors punishable by up to 364 days in the County jail and a fine up to $2,500, however, based on the Illinois Retail Theft Statute 720 ILCS 16-25 the law allows for the offense to be upgraded to a felony if the accused has a qualifying previous conviction. J.M. did have a qualifying previous conviction and was therefore charged with a Class 4 Felony, punishable by 1 to 3 years in the State penitentiary. Significantly, the defendant was on felony probation at the time he committed the offense and was being held without bond until the outcome of the preliminary hearing.

Under Illinois Criminal Law, Preliminary hearings are intended to establish whether it is more likely than not that a crime occurred and whether it is more likely or not that the accused was involved in the commission of that offense. During these preliminary hearing the State's Attorney calls witnesses to establish their case. After these witnesses testify for the prosecution they are then subject to questions, called "cross examination" by the defendant's attorney.
In the case of the People v. J.M. attorney Stefan Fenner, from Giovannini & Olshansky, represented the defendant during the hearing. The prosecution presented two witnesses; the first was a clerk from the store of the alleged violation and the second was a State's Attorney to provide information about the defendant's previous conviction which allowed for the upgrade from a misdemeanor to a felony.

After Mr. Fenner's cross examination of the witnesses the Judge agreed that there was insufficient evidence for probable cause and dismissed all of the allegations against the defendant. One day later, April 5, 2012, attorney David Olshansky appeared before the judge who put the no-bond order on J.M. and had the hold lifted and our client will sleep at home for the first time in several weeks.

Criminal Law: Battery Charges against 4 clients, Not Guilty

By Giovannini & Olshansky posted in Criminal Law on Wednesday, March 13, 2013

In Criminal Law case The People v. A.M. the judge found the defendants not guilty after a bench trial. The trial took place March 12, 2012 at the Branch Court located at 5555 W. Grand Ave., in Chicago. A.M. and three other defendants were charged with battery after an incident at 3am on Chicago's west side. All four defendants were represented by the firm of Giovannini & Olshansky. During the trial the prosecution presented several employees from the tavern who testified that there was an altercation inside the tavern and that security escorted the four defendants outside when they became unruly, attacked, punched, and bit at the security and tavern personnel. At the end of the altercation it was the defendants that were injured and hospitalized. During this horrible assault on the defendants one of whom was pregnant suffered a miscarriage, another was hospitalized with multiple injuries. Chicago Police who responded to the scene also testified for the prosecution, however, during the cross examination by Dennis Giovannini, it became apparent that the testimony of the security personnel was fabricated and contradicted by what they originally told the police. Under Illinois Criminal Law a charge of battery subjects a person to up to 364 days in the County Jail and a fine up to $2,500.00. 

After the Criminal Law trial Mr. Giovannini stated that his clients were happy with the result and looking into a civil action against the tavern and security personnel. If you have been injured in one of these types of cases you may be compensated civilly for damages.

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Criminal Law: No Probable Cause, Preliminary Hearing; Cocaine

By Giovannini & Olshansky posted in Criminal Law on Wednesday, February 27, 2013

In Criminal Law case the People v. C.M. on February 25, 2013 there was a finding of no probable cause at the preliminary hearing for felony charges of possession of cocaine. The charges carried a term in the State penitentiary for a period of one to three years. After the finding by the judge that there was not enough evidence against our client the charges were dismissed. During the hearing at the 111th and Ellis branch court in Chicago a police officer testified that a vehicle was curbed for a traffic violation when the officer searched the driver of the vehicle he discovered a significant amount of cocaine. After the cocaine was recovered the officer testified that there was an alleged confession by our client that he had just sold the cocaine to the driver.

After the officer testified Criminal Law Attorney Stefan Fenner was able, through cross examination, to establish that there was not enough connection between the recovered drugs and our client when there were other occupants to the vehicle who had better access to the cocaine. Fenner was also able to establish that this alleged statement by the defendant was the only evidence they had connecting him to the cocaine and that statement was not recorded, written, or signed by our client.Mr. Fenner argued that when the only evidence to be used to convict a defendant is an alleged statement, that his statement could not be the corpus delicti of his guilt. Corpus delicti is a term from Western jurisprudence referring to the principle that a crime must have been proven to have occurred before a person can be convicted of committing that crime.

Criminal Law: Jessie Jackson Jr. Officially Charged

By Giovannini & Olshansky posted in Criminal Law on Saturday, February 16, 2013

In Federal Criminal Law yesterday, February 15, 2013, The United States Attorney's Office in Washington D.C. officially charged Jessie Jackson Jr. with using his campaign funds for personal use, and conspiracy to commit wire fraud, mail fraud and making false statements.

Jessie Jackson Jr. was a Member of the U.S. House of Representatives. The current salary for a member of the House is $174,000. Which begs the biggest question we all need to consider, Mr. Jessie Jackson Jr. stole around $750,000 from his campaign fund, a fund that had much more money in it then the three quarters of a million; Why do we as a country allow individuals to collect millions of dollars to try and get a job that pays less than $200,000. Jessie Jackson was buying gold Rolexes, hats that belonged to Michael Jackson including a $4,200 fedora, a $5000 autographed football, and, our personal favorite, a $800 cape. Last year when there was an announcement that he was under investigation Mr. Jackson checked himself into a hospital and started receiving treatment for depression. You can't blame a person for becoming depressed when the FBI is investigating you for stealing $750,000 and looking to put you into the penitentiary.

The charges yesterday were a mere formality, Mr. Jackson Jr. had already entered into a plea agreement with the United States Attorneys Office and eventually the Court will determine exactly how much time Mr. Jackson will have to spend in the penitentiary.

Criminal Law: Heavy Hitters Call for Stiffer Gun Penalties

By Giovannini & Olshansky posted in Criminal Law on Monday, February 11, 2013

 Criminal Law is undergoing changes in Illinois and heavy hitters from Chicago are taking their positions to the law makers.  Mayor Emanuel, State Attorney Alvarez, and Superintendent McCarthy are to address the legislature and purpose stiffer gun penalties.  Some of the topics that are being addressed are the mandatory jail time provisions for first offenders, raising the minimum sentences for gun offenses, and changing the truth in sentencing law, which now allows for those convicted to only serve 50% of their sentence, to having them serve 85% of the sentence imposed. 

 Gun laws have undergone a number of changes over the last several years.  in 2009 a law was passed that made it a mandatory minimum of 3 years in the penitentiary for gang members convicted of the criminal law Unlawful Use of Weapons statute.  In 2011 mandatory minimum sentences took full effect for most other weapons charges doing away with the option of a person receiving probation.  Also in question is whether under the new mandatory penitentiary sentencing laws the boot camp program is a viable sentence for offenders.  The boot camp program is a 120 to 160 day alternative sentence which incorporates physical activity and discipline in order to rehabilitate offenders.  Upon successful completion of the program a defendant does not carry out the remainder of their sentence.  Some are arguing that the boot camp program is not really a penitentiary sentence and there fore should be disqualified as a potential sentencing option for violators that are convicted of charges which carry mandatory penitentiary time.

 One thing is for certain, in the wake of the current gun violence, locally and internationally, there will be changes made to the state and local laws.

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Criminal Law: Another Chicagoland Police Officer Charged

On behalf of Giovannini & Olshansky posted in Criminal Law on Thursday, January 31, 2013

In the last several weeks the Criminal Law Blog of Giovannini & Olshansky has posted on the Police Misconduct of multiple Chicagoland Officers, and yet again, today we find ourselves hit smack in the face with another acquisition of misconduct. This time Northbrook Police Officer Enrique Guzman is charged, being held in lieu of $30,000 bond, and will have to answer to charges of Residential Burglary, Armed Violence, and Official Misconduct. These charges are very serious and carry significant jail time. Again, this office and this blog begs the question of its readers "Can you really trust the police?" and "Do juries in Chicago take the testimony of the police blanketly as the truth?" The public needs to remember that these officers go into court and testify against people they have arrested and often get convictions sending the defendants to the penitentiary for years of their lives. The last couple of weeks and the number of Police Misconduct Cases in Criminal Law Cases in the Chicagoland area will hopefully open the eyes of the public that maybe the defendant is the one really telling the truth when he takes the witness stand.

Like all defendants facing Criminal Law charges, Enrique Guzman is presumed innocent of the charges against him. If you are a victim of Police Misconduct by this officer, or others, please contact a Police Misconduct attorney for justice.  We would also note our appreciation for the many, and majority, of trustworthy and good police officers out there everyday, doing their jobs, and protecting us.

The Chicago Tribune contributor Alexandrea Chachkevitch reported this in an article found titled: Northbrook Police Officer Charged After Investigation

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Criminal Law: Obstruction Charges; Not Guilty

On behalf of Giovannini & Olshansky posted in Criminal Law on Thursday, January 31, 2013

In the Criminal Law Case of the People of the State of Illinois v. M.S. a Judge on Wednesday January 30, 2013 found our client not guilty after a bench trial. Attorney Stefan Fenner took the case to trial at the Cook County Courthouse located in District 3, Rolling Meadows. During the trial one Cook County Sheriff's Officer testified and the defendant testified on his own behalf.

The charges against the defendant stem from the Cook County Sheriff's Police arriving at his Mount Prospect apartment to serve his brother with an Order of Protection. Our client, after opening the door for the sheriff, does not want to allow them to enter his apartment, and after some words are exchanged he attempts to close the door to push the sheriff out of the apartment. The brother is eventually served and afterwards they place our client under arrest for Obstructing Service of Process under Illinois Criminal Law Statute 720 ILCS 5/31-3. Although only a misdemeanor in Illinois, the charges are serious, and still have the potential to place a defendant in the County Jail for six months. Prior to trial there were plea offers made by the prosecution to our client, who rejected the offers and insisted he did nothing wrong and was going to trial.

In an interview after the trial Mr. Fenner said that "the Judge did the right thing. There was no evidence presented by the prosecution that this Sheriff ever stated the reason why he was at the location prior to our client trying to remove him from his apartment, which, under these specific circumstances, he was justified in doing."

Criminal Law: Aggravated Unlawful Use of Weapon, Not Guilty

By Giovannini & Olshansky posted in Criminal Law on Tuesday, January 29, 2013

In the Cook County Criminal Law Case of The People of the State of Illinois v. C.D. a judge on January 29, 2013 found our client Not Guilty of Aggravated Unlawful Use of Weapons.  As charged, under Illinois Statute 720 ILCS 5/24-1.6, the defendant was looking a mandatory minimum of 1 year in the State Penitentiary with a maximum penalty of 3 years.  There were 2 witnesses that testified during the Bench Trial at 26th and California in Chicago's District One Courthouse.  

The allegations were that Chicago Police Officers were on a Theft from Motor Vehicles Mission on the 800 West Block of Huron when they were walking through parking lots looking for evidence of thefts.  A police officer claimed that at approximately 4:00 a.m. while looking for evidence of vehicle thefts in the valet parking lot of a local nightclub he shined his flashlight into the defendant's unoccupied parked vehicle and observed the butt of a handgun protruding from the passenger side door panel.  The officer then established a place of surveillance and waited for the owner of the vehicle to return.  Sometime later a valet driver brought the vehicle back to the front of the nightclub where the officer waited for the occupants to enter the vehicle and start to drive away before curbing the vehicle and searching the occupants and the driver.  Our client was that driver of the vehicle, which was a car rented from Avis, and allegedly gave an oral statement to the police admitting the gun was his.

Our client testified on his own behalf and contradicted the statements of the police involved in his arrest.  In his ruling the judge found both or client's version of events to be credible and also the officer's.  In criminal law cases the standard of proof is not guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.  The judge ruled that not knowing exactly what occurred when both versions of events were logical and there were multiple people with access to the area where the firearm was allegedly recovered that he could not find the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

Our client expressed his gratitude to the court and is hopeful to get this arrest expunged from his record and continue with the small business he owns with his mother. 

Criminal Law: Motion to Suppress Granted, charges dismissed

By Giovannini & Olshansky posted in Criminal Law on Thursday, January 24, 2013

On Wednesday January 23, 2013 a Judge in the Circuit Court of Cook County Fifth District Court located in Bridgeview, Illinois dismissed the charges against the defendant in a Search Warrant Case which revealed 86.8 grams of Cocaine and a handgun after a pretrial Motion to Suppress was argued by Dennis Giovannini.

In Criminal Law Case No. 10 CR 6181 the judge granted Giovannini & Olshansky's Motion to Suppress Evidence. The defendant was charged with Possession of a Controlled Substance with Intent to Deliver and Unlawful Use of of a Weapon by a Convicted Felon under Illinois Statutes 720 ILCS 570/401(A)(2)(A) and 720 ILCS 5/24-1.1(E) and was looking at a 9 to 40 year sentence in the State Penitentiary.  Chicago Police Officers executed a search warrant on the 9100 Block of South Essex St. in Chicago and upon knocking and announcing their office forced entry.  Once inside they encountered two individuals who they searched and discovered some narcotics from the defendant, then discovered a firearm and a large amount of cocaine in plain view on a counter.  The 86 grams of cocaine was packaged in 24 items alleged by the police to be for resale.  The defendant was not the "Target" of the search warrant, meaning that he was not the person whom they went to that location with information and an authorized warrant for arrest.  Giovannini was able to argue that because he was not the target that the search of his person that revealed the narcotics in his pockets was unconstitutionally invalid.  When the judge granted the motion to suppress the narcotics found on his person the state determined there was no other way to tie the defendant to the other contraband found in the location because he was not the target of the search warrant.

Giovannini was quoted saying, "A search warrant isn't a ticket to jail, it is merely a piece of paper with writing on it that needs to be challenged like all other evidence against someone in any criminal case."
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