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Former director of Tri-County Action Commission pleads not guilty

Sixty-year-old West Union Township resident Denise Birt pleaded not guilty on Friday, July 15 in relation to charges that she mismanaged the organization’s fund. Birt is the former director of the Tri-County Action Commission, a non-profit organization that provides services to people living in Logan, Champaign, and Shelby counties.

Birt’s five-count indictment includes three third-degree felonies – securing writings by deception, falsification, and theft – a fourth-degree felony count of theft, and misdemeanor charge of tampering with records. David Thomas, Birt’s defense attorney from Columbus, said imprisoning her was uncalled for. He noted, “It came as a complete surprise to us because we’ve been in communication with the Logan County Prosecutor’s Office, yet for some reason, they found it necessary to issue a secret indictment and a warrant to arrest a woman who is 60 years old and has no criminal record. She’s cooperated with the prosecutor’s office so far and there’s no reason to believe she will not continue to do so.”

The attorneys The Bruno Law Offices, handle criminal defense cases, including white collar crimes, all over Illinois and in federal courts. Call our offices today at (217) 328-6000 to discuss your legal options.

Former police officer pleads guilty to aggravated criminal sexual abuse

32-year-old Jerad Gale, a former police officer for both the Champaign City Police Department and the Monticello Police Department in Illinois, pleaded guilty on Friday, May 27 to two felony counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse in two separate cases involving two women in Champaign City Court.

Gale was given a jail sentence of six months, 48 months of probation, and a lifetime registration as a sexual offender as part of a deal that included a guilty plea on an identical Class 2 charge on another victim in Piatt County. His sentence began on Friday, June 3 in Piatt County, and will be served concurrently for all three charges. Gale was originally charged with aggravated criminal sexual assault of a 22-year-old woman with bodily harm, which included a strained neck and bruised arm. He was also charged with aggravated domestic battery for choking the victim and refusing to let her breathe while he sexually assaulted her.

The criminal defense lawyers at the Bruno Law Offices have a high success rate and are highly recommended by our clients. Should you have the misfortune of being charged with a criminal offense in Champaign, do not hesitate to employ the legal services of our attorneys by calling (217) 328-6000 to speak with a qualified member of our legal team.

Illinois lawmakers draft bill to protect rights of juveniles

Illinois lawmakers are considering the creation of a bill that would require the presence of an attorney when police officers interrogate juveniles who are younger than 15 years of age in murder or sex offense investigations in an attempt to lower the rate of false confessions.

The bill would mandate that when police question anyone younger than 15 regarding a murder or sex crime, the police must read a simplified Miranda warning that informs the accused of their right to remain silent and have legal counsel. The bill also seeks to require the videotaping of interrogations of juveniles suspected of misdemeanor or felony cases.

Director of training at the National Juvenile Defender Center, Tim Curry, claims teenagers and children often have no idea how to invoke their right to an attorney. Center on Wrongful Convictions of Youth co-director Laura Nirider agrees, saying “Children are vulnerable in the interrogation room and the result can be false confessions.”

The Bruno Law Offices have long been committed to protecting those accused of a crime in Urbana-Champaign and other areas of Illinois. To discuss how we can help you avoid a serious conviction, call our offices at (217) 328-6000.

Champaign police officer waives right to jury trial in sexual assault case

Thirty-one-year-old Champaign, Illinois police officer Jerad Gale, who is charged with sexual assault involving three women in two counties, waived his right to a jury trial in one of the cases, which was set to start the first week of May.

According to the Champaign News-Gazette, Gale made the request on Friday, April 29. He is charged with two counts of criminal sexual assault involving a 27-year-old woman with whom he lived in Monticello in a trial scheduled to begin on Monday, May 2. Evan Bruno, Gale’s legal counsel, has yet to say if Gale and local prosecutors are arranging a plea deal in lieu of a jury trial.

The attorneys at the Bruno Law Offices, who serve clients in the Champaign-Urbana area of Illinois, handle defense for offenses such as child pornography, sex crimes, gun crimes, and drug crimes, among others. Get in touch with a member of our legal team by calling our offices at (217) 328-6000 to discuss your legal options.

Downers Grove firefighter charged with child pornography

A twenty-five-year-old Downers Grove, Illinois resident and firefighter has been arrested and charged with five counts of possession of child pornography. He was taken into custody on Thursday, February 11 after authorities saw images containing child pornography on his personal computer.

The Du Page County State’s Attorney’s Office stated that the man, who worked as a contract paramedic/firefighter, including a stint with the Naperville Fire Department, was held on a $300,000 bond.

An investigation that was started in late 2015 by members of the Du Page County Sheriff’s Sexual Predator Electronic Exploitation Division (SPEED) as part of its bid to crack down the dissemination and possession of child pornography revealed that a computer belonging to the individual in question contained pornographic images of children.

Our attorneys at the Bruno Law Offices in the Champaign-Urbana areas of  Illinois, understand that each case we undertake is unique, and we strive to offer experienced and insightful advice and representation to all of our clients facing criminal charges. Call our offices today at (217) 328-6000 to learn more.

Judge overturns jury’s $3.5M verdict in Chicago police shooting case

Associate Judge Elizabeth Budzinski recently reversed the Cook County jury’s decision to award $3.5 million in damages to the estate of 19-year-old Niko Husband, who was allegedly gunned down by members of the Chicago Police Department in Illinois for no reason in July 2011 near 80th Street and Ashland Avenue.

Priscilla Price, Husband’s mother, has already asked her lawyers to appeal to Budzinski to reinstate the Nov. 6, 2015 verdict in favor of Husband and not the city. Judge Budzinski based her decision to reverse the jury’s ruling on their answer to a written question in which they indicated that they believed Officer Proano fear for his life before shooting Husband.

Police said Husband had a weapon on him and tried to resist arrest, necessitating their use of violence on him. Marco Proano, the veteran police officer who was identified as the one who shot three rounds into Husband’s chest at close range, was not only cleared by the city’s police oversight agency, but was also awarded a commendation for valor.

Our attorneys at the Bruno Law Offices in Champaign are very much experienced when it comes to defending clients in criminal cases. Call our offices today at (217) 328-6000 to learn how we can help you.

Tennessee Titans wide receiver Justin Hunter not guilty of battery & assault

Twenty-four-year-old wide receiver for the NFL’s Tennessee Titans, Justin Scott Hunter, was recently found not guilty of assault and battery charges filed against him in connection with a brawl that occurred on July 4, 2015 in his hometown of Virginia Beach.

According to a report from ESPN, prosecutors for the case argued that the brawl led to a man’s jaw being broken, although the victim testified in court that it wasn’t Hunter who gave him the most forceful punch.

Hunter’s legal counsel, Toby Vick, said the football player was singled out for the charges because he has the most money among the men involved in the fight, due to his status as an NFL player.

Sports information site Rotoworld thinks that Hunter will avoid being disciplined by the league, although it’s going to be a long shot, given the predisposition of NFL commissioner Roger Stokoe Goodell.

If you have had a run-in with the law and were charged with a criminal offense in the Champaign-Urbana area or elsewhere in East Central Illinois, our attorneys at Bruno Law Offices will make sure that your legal rights are well protected and that you have your fair trial in court. Call our offices today at (217) 328-6000.

Police turn to social media, video footage to find Illinois cop killers

Police authorities in Fox Lake, Illinois are currently on the lookout for three suspects in the fatal shooting of 30-year-old Police Lieutenant Charles Joseph Gliniewicz, announcing last Wednesday, September 2 that they are brushing through social media tips to look for the men suspected to be involved in the killing. Police are unsure if the suspects are still within the vicinity of the crime scene or if they have fled.

Lake County Major Crimes Task Force Commander George Filenko said that around 100 investigators have been scouring the 2-square-mile perimeter of homes, marshland, and railroad tracks in the village of Fox Lake, to catch Gliniewicz’s killers. Gliniewicz was shot last Tuesday, September 1.

Filenko noted that the suspects – who Gliniewicz had been pursuing before he was shot – were noted as two white men and one black man.

Our attorneys at Bruno Law Offices in Champaign, Urbana, and East Central Illinois are committed to getting our clients, who have been charged with criminal defenses, a fair chance of proving their innocence in court. Get in touch with us today by calling our offices at (217) 328-6000.

Suspect in South Carolina church shooting facing federal charges, including hate crimes

Twenty-one-year-old Dylann Roof, the suspected shooter in the Emmanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church killings in Charleston, SC, was scheduled to be arraigned last Monday, June 20 on new charges of obstructing the practice of religion, hate crimes, and firearms violations five weeks after the tragic killings of nine people.

It has been reported that Roof wants to enter a plea of guilty for the 33 counts he currently faces. His attorney has said that his team cannot advise Roof on this matter until they find out if the government will be seeking the maximum penalty. Of the 33 charges faced by Roof at this time, eighteen carry the death penalty, with the others carrying life sentences following conviction. In addition to these penalties, the charges against Roof could result in hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Bristow Marchant has entered a plea of not guilty for Roof. Marchant also accepted Roof’s indigent defendant applications, meaning the state will pay his attorney fees. Roof’s defense attorneys must file any pretrial motions by August 20. At this time there are no future hearings scheduled regarding Roof’s case.


Mattoon woman violates three-year probation in car theft case

Illinois resident Abby Mingus, 32, was re-sentenced to 3 ½ years of imprisonment after violating her three year probation for stealing a vehicle in January 2014, the Journal Gazette and Times-Courier reported on June 15.

Her sentence included a provision that required her to attend a treatment Alternatives for Safe Communities program. However, Mingus was charged with retail theft for allegedly stealing merchandise from a Wal-Mart store in Charleston in October 2014, causing the court to re-sentence her for her prior conviction. Mingus was also charged with obstruction of justice and driving with a revoked or suspended license on May 7, 2015.

If you are facing accusations of a crime, especially if you have a prior record, it is critical to quickly enlist the help of a criminal defense team. Call Bruno Law Offices in Champaign at (217) 328-6000 today to learn how our experienced attorneys may fight relentlessly for the best possible result from your case.

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Bruno Law Offices
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Urbana, IL 61801
Tel: (217) 328-6000
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Email: info@tombruno.com

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