Last week I won a Motion to Quash Arrest on an Aggravated Unlawful Use of Weapon case pending in the Maywood courthouse. The case involved an 18 year old young man who was facing a felony conviction for carrying a gun on the streets. The arresting officer, an officer with the Cook County Sheriff’s Department, was part of a group of officers who were patrolling a “high crime” area known for its gangs and guns. The officer testified that he, along with the other officers, approached a group of approximately ten males who were standing on a street corner. The officer testified that he made eye contact with my client who he said looked away from him and started walking away from the officers as they were approaching. The officer testified that he told my client to come back and produce his identification. At that time my client started running away. The officers gave chase and went after my client as he ran away. The foot chase lasted about two minutes. The officer testified that while my client was running away he saw him putting his hands near his waist like he had something concealed. Near the end of the chase the officer lost sight of my client for “a few seconds” as he was running around a garage in an alley. The client tried to climb a fence but was apprehended by the officers. When they placed my client into custody the officers looked around and saw a gun on the ground protruding from underneath a grill. The grill was located in the area where the officer lost sight of my client. The officers recovered the gun and arrested my client and charged him with UUW. I filed a Motion to Quash his arrest alleging that my client was arrested without a warrant and without probable cause that he had committed a crime. I cross examined the officer at length and established that the officer never saw my client with the gun. Not only that, but the officer did not see my client throw the gun or ever have the gun in his possession. Even though the officer insisted that the gun belonged to my client, I was able to show that his belief was based on a mere hunch and was not based on facts. I argued that this was a high crime area and the officer did not have any specific articulable facts to justify an arrest of my client. At the close of the evidence and arguments, the court agreed with me and threw out the arrest of my client and any and all evidence the state intends to use that was obtained after my client was arrested. About five hours after my client was arrested, the state had informed me that they were intending to use a statement that my client allegedly made at the station to one of the officers in which he admitted that the gun was his. This was an oral statement that was uncorroborated even though the officer had ample opportunity to reduce the statement to writing and have my client sign a piece of paper. The court’s ruling means that the state will not be allowed to introduce that statement into evidence.
The case has been continued for later in the month for the state to make a decision about whether they want to appeal the decision of the court, proceed with the case in light of the court’s ruling, or dismiss the case.
James Dimeas is an award winning Chicago criminal defense attorney and author with more than 23 years of experience aggressively representing his clients in UUW cases. If you have a UUW case in Illinois, contact me in Chicago (312-229-5500), DuPage and Kane (630-504-2096) or Lake (847-696-6458) for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your legal options.