Even though Diesel Law, Ltd. is very much used to getting favorable results and winning cases for its clients, some victories are particularly memorable. Below is a list of some of the more notable wins accompanied with a brief description as to how the result transpired.
PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS V. CH - MOTION TO QUASH & SUPPRESS EVIDENCE GRANTED
The first time Anthony went to hearing on a Motion to Quash & Suppress Evidence, his motion was granted, forcing the State to dismiss the charge for possession of a controlled substance. In this case, after being pulled over for a minor traffic violation, Anthony's client was instructed to step out of the vehicle. After he complied with the officer's request, he immediately locked the vehicle's doors. In the police report, the officer alleged that Anthony's client gave the officer permission to search the vehicle, where heroin was then recovered. However, considering that Anthony's client immediately locked the doors upon exiting the vehicle, the officer's report seemed like a fabrication. After all, why would a person immediately lock their doors and then tell the officer that it was all right for them to search the vehicle? This did not make sense.
What really happened was, Anthony's client immediately locked the doors to the vehicle, and because he did so, the officer became suspicious to the point where he took it upon himself to open the doors to the vehicle and conduct a search. And while immediately locking the doors probably was very suspicious from the officer's perspective, that certainly did not create a legal justification for the officer to conduct such a search. Accordingly, Anthony's first Motion to Quash & Suppress Evidence was granted, paving the way for a very successful career.
PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS V. MP - MOTION TO DISMISS ON DOUBLE JEOPARDY GROUNDS GRANTED
In order to practice criminal defense, but more importantly, to be good at it, the attorney handling the case must be undoubtedly ruthless at times. While passion is necessary, the passion should be to win the case and nothing more. A good criminal defense attorney will generally not have strong feelings about the character of any specific client or the nature of the alleged crime they committed. If the case can be won, then their mission should be winning the case, regardless of the guilt or innocence of their client and regardless of the criminal allegations brought against them. And people do in fact always ask the stereotypical question: "How do you defend somebody that you know is guilty?" Presumably, there are some people that believe it would be somewhat immoral to defend somebody in a murder case, for example, and especially when the evidence shows a strong likelihood that the defendant on trial is in fact guilty.
In one of Anthony's cases, the State charged his client with a first-time, misdemeanor DUI, despite the fact that the client had four DUI convictions in other states. Immediately, Anthony's client entered a blind plea to the misdemeanor DUI. The client was then admonished by the court, the plea was accepted, and the matter was continued for sentencing. After reviewing the client's DUI evaluation, however, the State realized their error and immediately made an oral motion to dismiss the misdemeanor charge with the purpose of charging Anthony's client with felony Aggravated DUI, carrying a mandatory minimum sentence of 4-15 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections. Over objection, the court allowed the State to dismiss the charge, stating that the misdemeanor charge was void ab initio, and Anthony's client was then re-charged with felony Aggravated DUI.
The matter was then transferred to a felony room in the Second District Courthouse in Skokie, Illinois. Anthony filed a Motion to Dismiss, arguing that the Double Jeopardy Clause of the U.S. Constitution was violated when the court allowed the State to re-charge his client with felony Aggravated DUI after already having accepted a plea to misdemeanor DUI. And after a hearing on the Motion to Dismiss, the Honorable Judge Sullivan ruled that jeopardy did in fact attach when the plea was accepted by the court, and therefore, the Double Jeopardy Clause was ruled as having been violated when Anthony's client was re-charged with felony Aggravated DUI. In her written order, Judge Sullivan dismissed the indictment. And while the State chose to not appeal her ruling, in sort of a desperate fashion, tried to then charge Anthony's client once again with the misdemeanor DUI he was originally charged with. This did not work either, however, because Anthony argued in response that the statute of limitations in which to charge a defendant with misdemeanor DUI had passed by this time. And, once again, the court agreed with Anthony's argument. By the end, Anthony's client, even though he blew above the legal limit of .08 in the case and would most likely have been convicted at trial and sentenced to a mandatory minimum sentence of 4-15 years, walked scot-free on the charges.
Undoubtedly, most people would probably not view this as something to be proud of. A man that was caught drinking and driving for the fifth time did not suffer any consequences only because his lawyer was savvy enough to know that jeopardy would attach when his plea was accepted by the court. But as a criminal defense attorney, emotions about the popularity of the cause cannot cloud their ambition to win the case. A good criminal defense attorney will represent guilty defendants (or those they believe to be guilty), win the case, and still have no problems sleeping at night because their ambition to win is stronger than any moral objections they have to winning. If a criminal defense attorney has strong feelings about the morality of their client or the crime committed, it is probably best that they not practice criminal defense at all.
PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS V. JS - Not Guilty Finding in a Battery Case
Anthony's cell phone rang and it was a client who explained that he had been arrested for beating another man in a particularly brutal fashion. When Anthony inquired as to the reason, his client explained that while driving down the road, he accidentally cut off another driver, who proceeded to continually honk his horn and tail him for several miles. Anthony's client then pulled into a gas station in hopes that the man would just continue driving. To his dismay, the man pulled into the gas station behind him, exited his vehicle, and approached. Even though the other driver began screaming and cussing out Anthony's client, he chose to stay in the vehicle because he did not want any trouble. But then the other driver started to slam his hand down on the hood of his vehicle. This was when Anthony's client had enough so he then stepped out and got in the other driver's face. In any event, one thing led to another and the end result was pretty nasty. Anthony's client tuned up this other driver, breaking several blood vessels throughout his face and leaving it completely black and blue. Immediately after this, Anthony's client left the scene but was apprehended by the police a little later that afternoon. When questioned, Anthony's client told the police that the other driver swung first. But, of course, the other driver said that Anthony's client swung first. There were no third-party witnesses and the matter was not caught on video so nothing would have corroborated either of their stories anyhow.
On the day of trial, the State offered court supervision, and when given the pictures of this other driver's face in what turned out to be a relatively heinous beating, supervision was actually a pretty sweet offer. In response, Anthony told the Assistant State's Attorney that only one resolution would be agreed upon, and that would be an outright dismissal. Clearly the State was not amenable to that so the matter proceeded to a bench trial. While on the stand, this alleged victim admitted that he had followed Anthony's client for at least two miles and proceeded to follow him into the gas station. The alleged victim admitted to having exited his own vehicle first. He did not admit to slamming his hand down on the hood though and did not admit to was swinging first. He vehemently maintained that Anthony's client swung first. The arresting officer was the next party to take the stand. Because Anthony did not want to put his own client on the stand, he used the officer's testimony and the officer's written report to get the evidence in that his client denied swinging first and that the other driver slammed his hand down on the hood of his car.
Anthony did not put any witnesses on the stand. He proceeded to give a killer closing argument, and sometimes at trial, that means nothing more than pointing out the obvious. The fact is, the other driver followed his client for over two miles. The other driver exited his vehicle first. He started slamming his hand down on the hood of Anthony's client's vehicle. It begged the question: who was looking for trouble here? Certainly not Anthony's client. He was trying to avoid the situation by pulling into the gas station. And the Presiding Judge's ruling was similar, pointing out that the other driver should not have followed Anthony's client into the gas station. Moreover, the Judge also indicated that it was difficult to say who swung first in these types of cases when each party alleges that the other was the aggressor, especially when there is no third-party witness to testify or video of some sort that captured the incident. Almost predictably, the Judge found Anthony's client not guilty. But overall, this victory felt particularly good because the alleged victim in this case, in Anthony's opinion, truly got exactly what he bargained for.
PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS V. NE - Finding of No Probable Cause and Motion to Quash & Suppress Evidence Granted
This case involved particularly egregious behavior by the police, and this is the type of behavior that somewhat explains why some people have a negative view of law enforcement. In this case, Anthony's client was pulled over by an Orland Hills police officer for having a cracked windshield. For whatever reason, the officer asked Anthony's client for permission to search his vehicle, to which Anthony's client denied. After realizing he was not going to get consent to search the vehicle, the officer simply wrote Anthony's client a citation for the cracked windshield and let him go on his way. Approximately fifteen minutes later, Anthony's client was again pulled over by the Orland Hills police for having a cracked windshield, except the second time, it was a different officer. Not so surprisingly, this officer also asked Anthony's client for permission to search his vehicle. This time, however, Anthony's client cracked and allowed the officer to conduct a search. Meanwhile, the same officer that was denied permission to search the vehicle the first time pulled up on the scene to assist in the search.
Narcotics and paraphernalia were recovered and Anthony's client was charged with two counts of possession of a controlled substance and two counts for possession of drug paraphernalia. At the preliminary hearing in front of the Honorable Judge Kennedy at the Fifth District Courthouse in Bridgeview, Illinois, Anthony elicited testimony from the officer that his client was pulled over twice, by the same police department, within fifteen minutes, for the same exact reason. Immediately after hearing this, Judge Kennedy issued a finding of no probable cause and the matter was transferred to a misdemeanor room for the remaining two counts for possession of drug paraphernalia.
Anthony filed a Motion to Quash & Suppress Evidence for the drug paraphernalia. He put his client on the stand to explain that he was pulled over twice for the same reason, and subsequently, asked for consent to search his vehicle twice. In closing, Anthony argued that after his client was cited for driving with a cracked windshield and denied permission to search his vehicle the first time, that the second stop and subsequent search of the vehicle was illegal because he had already been stopped once by the same department for having a cracked windshield and had already once denied consent to search his vehicle. In other words, Anthony asked the court to read between the lines and make the obvious inference that the second officer knew Anthony's client was cited for having a cracked windshield, and that asking for permission to search the vehicle a second time made the consent invalid because it was coercive and involuntary. After all, his client already denied permission once. But when he was pulled over a second time for the same reason and asked for consent to search again, Anthony's client felt that he really did not have a choice.
The Honorable Judge Kane agreed with Anthony's argument and ruled that the behavior of the Orland Hills Police in conducting these stops did not seem legit. Accordingly, he granted Anthony's Motion to Quash & Suppress Evidence, forcing the State to dismiss the drug paraphernalia charges against Anthony's client.