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Jury selection for Des Plaines man accused of attempted murder now underway

Jury selection for the trial of 20-year-old Des Plaines resident Daniel Dion began last Monday, October 31. Dion made a not guilty plea by reason of insanity to attempted murder charges in relation to allegedly stabbing and critically wounding a 24-year-old Vernon Hills woman outside the Century Theater in Deer Park.

Although the burden of the proof of the crime always lies with the prosecution, proving an insanity plea is on the shoulders of the defense. Under Illinois law, a jury or judge can find an accused not guilty by reason of insanity if the accused is ailing from a disease or defect of the mind “such that he lacks the substantial capacity to appreciate the criminality of his conduct.”

Our criminal defense lawyers at the Bruno Law Offices, who provide legal services in Champaign-Urbana and other areas in Illinois, handle criminal defense cases such as gun crimes, violent crime, homicide and murder charges, and battery, among others. Call our offices today at (217) 328-6000 to learn more about your legal options and discuss your situation.


Man charged with DUI after accident causes death to woman and unborn son

Normal, Illinois resident Lance Pitsch, 27, was charged with aggravated driving under the influence that resulted in death and reckless homicide in Christian County. The charges come after he caused a vehicular accident on Illinois 48 near County Road 600 North in Morrisonville at approximately 3:20 p.m. on Friday, October 21. The crash resulted in the death of 25-year-old Jessica Tyson Ragan and her unborn son.

Ragan and the unborn child, who she planned to name Jovian when she gave birth in December, succumbed to mortal injuries at Taylorville Memorial Hospital around 4:20 p.m. the same day as the accident. Pitsch was also airlifted to a hospital, but he was able to appear in court on Monday, October 24. His next day in court will take place on October 31, and his bond was set at $500,000.

Our attorneys at the Bruno Law Offices, who provide legal services for our clients in Champaign-Urbana and other areas of Illinois, handle criminal defense cases such as car accidents and wrongful death suits.


Champaign landlord to receive sentencing in fraud case

Seventy-three-year-old Champaign, Illinois landlord and architect Gene Hardwick is scheduled to appear at the United States District Court in Urbana on Friday, October 14. If found guilty, Hardwick will have to spend 24 months in federal prison for defrauding Longview State Bank after he is sentenced by U.S. Judge Colin Bruce.

According to court documents, Hardwick made a loan of $3.9 million from Longview Bank in 2007 to allegedly erect a 64-unit apartment building at 611 E. Park Street, C. However, when a bank examiner from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. inspected the address to assess Longview’s loan portfolio, the examiner “discovered an empty parking lot.”

The bank had already paid out around $2.4 million when the fraud was discovered. A major dispute between the prosecution and the defense was the amount of loss, with the prosecution saying that it was “at most, $391,349” and the defense saying its “unauthorized personal expenses was $43,417.”

If you have been charged with a criminal offense in Champaign or another area in Illinois, get in touch with our criminal defense attorneys at the Bruno Law Offices by calling our offices today at (217) 328-6000.


Derrick Rose’s lawyers say accused rape was consensual

The legal counsel for 28-year-old New York Knicks player Derrick Rose insisted on Wednesday, October 5 that the woman bringing rape charges against Rose willingly had sex with him at Rose’s mansion in Beverly Hills. The plaintiff is also accusing two of Rose’s friends with the rape of an impaired woman.

Rose’s lawyers said the text messages the woman sent to Rose after a party indicated that the woman was lucid and not intoxicated after leaving Rose’s mansion. A clip from a deposition showed Rose saying “No” when asked if he understood what consent meant. The plaintiff’s attorneys argued  “His friends may have pushed this issue, but all three certainly knew that she was severely intoxicated, she could not consent and she would have never consented.”

If you have been charged with a criminal offense in Illinois, hire the legal services of our attorneys at the Bruno Law Offices by dialing (217) 328-6000 today. Schedule an initial appointment with a qualified member of our legal team as soon as you can.


Sexual abuse lawsuit against scout leader allowed to proceed in court

Illinois Appellate Court decided on Friday, September 30 that a civil lawsuit lodged by former members of the Oak Lawn Boy Scout troop in Cook County can proceed to trial. Their trial concerns the members’ claims that they were sexually molested by their scout leader, Thomas Hacker, in the 1980’s.

The lawsuit was filed in 2013 by 16 former Boy Scouts of America – who are now adult men – after the agency released a list of names of hundreds of pedophiles in the scouting system. The complaint alleges that the BSA oversight committee made it possible for Hacker to gain access into the upper echelons of the organization and molest many young boys.

Our attorneys at the Bruno Law Offices dedicate our personalized and undivided attention to every single detail of the cases we take on. We know the details can spell the difference between an acquittal and a conviction for our client. Get in touch with our criminal defense lawyers today by calling our Champaign offices at (217) 328-6000.


Man walks free after DNA evidence exonerates him from murder charge

Fifty-five-year-old Chicago resident Mark Maxson was released from Stateville Correctional Center last Tuesday, September 27 after a Cook County judge ruled Maxson did not commit his crimes. Maxson went to jail for the 1992 rape and murder of six-year-old boy Lindsey Murdock, but DNA evidence showed he was actually innocent.

The Cook County District Attorney’s Office supported exonerating Maxson, noting that no physical evidence linked Maxson to the crime. In addition, defense attorney Elliott Zinger said a re-investigation discovered Maxson’s confession was merely coerced by members of the Chicago Police Department under John Burge.

If you are a resident of Champaign-Urbana or another area of Illinois and you are in danger of going to prison for a crime such as a sexual offense, murder, or assault, trust the attorneys at the Bruno Law Offices to competently handle your case. Call our offices today at (217) 328-6000 to schedule an initial appointment with a qualified member of our legal team.


My client is not a South Side gang leader – defense lawyer

Gregory Chester is one of six defendants who are on trial for racketeering and other charges for being allegedly leaders of the Hobos gang in South Side in Chicago, Illinois that federal prosecutors say killed and tortured their way to gain control of the city’s drug markets; another is Paris Poe.

In his trial, which began last Wednesday, September 14, defense attorney Beau Brindley said that Chester was not a gang leader but a small-town drug pusher who was framed by the police when he refused to reveal the real gang leaders. Brindley said Chester, who was born with physical disabilities, sold drugs to people that he knew, but that he was not a gang leader.

If you are facing criminal charges in Champaign or other areas of Illinois, contact our team at Bruno Law Offices for aggressive representation. Call our offices at (217) 328-6000.


Urbana man sentenced to prison time for performing sexual act on unconscious woman

Twenty-one-year-old Urbana, Illinois resident Markel Brown was sentenced to three years of imprisonment on Thursday, September 8 for performing sexual acts on a woman who was passed out in a house in the 1100 block of Austin Drive in Urbana on Feb. 3, 2016.

Judge Tom Difanis disgusted with the act, said it was “outrageous” and that the sentence was necessary to prevent others from “taking advantage of a woman who is passed out”.

Despite a three-year sentence, Brown could be released after a year if he attains maximum credit for good behavior and time already served. He will have to register as a sex offender after being released.

The girl testified to drinking before arriving at the house where she and Brown were going to hang out. She is not sure whether it was Brown or other 21-year-old Urbana resident, Gerald B. Jackson, who assaulted her.

Our attorneys at the Bruno Law Offices, who provide legal services to our clients in Champaign or other areas in Illinois, handle criminal defense cases such as gun crimes, theft and burglary, drug possession, sex offenses, and homicide and murder charges, among others. Call our offices today at (217) 328-6000.


Nurse cleared of forgery charges

Two years after he was arrested, 47-year-old Danville resident and family nurse practitioner Michael C. Wagner was cleared of charges of one count of forgery and one count of unlawful acquisition of a controlled substance. Both of the felonies were in relation to accusations that Wagner prescribed medication that he wasn’t licensed to prescribe and signed prescriptions with another medical representative’s name.

Wagner was supposed to be tried for the charges on Monday, August 22. However, in a hearing on Friday, August 12, Vermillion County State Attorney Randy Brinegar dropped the charges against Wagner. Michael C. Wagner was allowed to continue his nursing practice at Central Illinois Family Practice at 603 N. Logan Avenue in Danville under Dr. Dennis Silver, whose name Wagner was accused of forging.

The state filed the charges against Wagner in January 2014 after a two-year investigation by the United States Drug Enforcement Agency and the Vermilion Metropolitan Enforcement Group.

Our attorneys at the Bruno Law Offices provide legal services for our clients in Champaign-Urbana, and handle criminal defense cases such as drug possession and white collar crimes, among others. Call our offices today at (217) 328-6000 to discuss your situation.


Convicted molester search continues

Thirty-five-year-old Urbana resident Kinzie Lee Schwab, who was convicted last Thursday, August 25 of criminal sexual assault and child pornography by a Champaign County jury, is currently at large.

Schwab was not present for any of his trial dates, which started last Tuesday, August 23. He made a court appearance last Monday, August 22 in Judge Tom Difanis’ courtroom with his legal counsel, Urbana attorney Evan Bruno, who was told to be ready for the Tuesday trial before Judge Hugh Finson. Even though Schwab failed to make an appearance during the trial days, the jury was instructed to disregard his lack of appearance and move on with the trial as planned. Bruno said he did not know of his client’s whereabouts, saying, “Myself and the Urbana Police Department have been in contact with several of his family members. From what we know, they don’t know where he is.”

The attorneys at the Bruno Law Offices, who provide legal services for our clients in Champaign and other areas of Illinois, handle criminal defense cases such as drug crimes and sex crimes, among others. Call our offices today at (217) 328-6000 to speak with a qualified member of our legal team.

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Bruno Law Offices
301 W Green St
Urbana, IL 61801
Tel: (217) 328-6000
Fax: (217) 328-6765

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