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People v. Michael M.

Jury trial finding of Not Guilty of Unlawful Use of Weapon by Felon (UUW by Felon); Chicago, IL

My client was stopped for no reason by Chicago Police as he waited in his car in the drive-thru lane at a fast food restaurant. Police claimed they had observed him run a red light on 75th Street and Stony Island Avenue in Chicago. Police further claimed that they arrested him for not having a driver’s license, despite the fact that he did have a valid driver’s license. After ordering him from the car, police searched my client and recovered cannabis from his pocket. The car was searched and a handgun was recovered from the console area. We fought the prosecution in this case for over three years and litigated numerous pre-trial motions. Ultimately, we took the case to a jury trial.  After three days of aggressively defending my client, the jury agreed that the state had not proven the allegations beyond a reasonable doubt and found my client not guilty.

Effective cross-examination exposed significant inconsistencies between the testimonies of the officers. The police witnesses in this matter were members of the SOS Unit of the Chicago Police, which has since been disbanded because of corruption. The alleged traffic violation in this case was a mere “pretext” to pulling over my client’s vehicle.  After being stopped, the police testified that my client remained seated in his vehicle until their approach and request for his driver’s license and insurance. It is noteworthy that the police did not immediately order him out of the car. The police acknowledged that, at some point, they determined that client’s driver’s license was valid. My client was able to produce an insurance card and bond card. After my client produced a bond card, the intrusion should have been limited to issuance of traffic citations. At that point, there was no probable cause to arrest my client. Nonetheless, police impermissibly expanded the scope of the initial intrusion and ordered him from the vehicle, placed him under arrest, handcuffed him, and performed a custodial search which led to the recovery of a handgun.  Police claimed that my client made a statement admitting that he possessed the gun. The attorney, John McNamara, was able to show this statement was not believable by cross-examining each of the police officers about the specifics of the statement. After a persuasive closing argument, the jury agreed that the officer’s were not believable and found my client not guilty, which saved him from an extended period of incarceration.