Champaign Criminal Defense blog

October 4th, 2016

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...

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September 29th, 2016

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...

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September 15th, 2016

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...

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September 12th, 2016

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...

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September 1st, 2016

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...

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August 30th, 2016

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’...

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August 16th, 2016

Ex-ISU student acquitted of rape charges

24-year-old former Illinois State University student William Wells was acquitted of sexual assault charges on Friday, August 12 in McLean County Circuit Court in Illinois. After a deliberation of about four hours, the jury returned with a not guilty verdict in the case of Wells, who was accused of raping a woman in February at his...

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August 8th, 2016

Harvard man sentenced to one year of jail for burglary charges

Thirty-two-year-old Harvard, Illinois resident Nathaniel Clem, who broke into some businesses in Eau Claire County, was sentenced to one year of imprisonment and three years on probation for a felony count of burglary on Friday, August 5 in Eau Claire County Court. Judge Michael Schumacher said the imprisonment term of Clem – who was on...

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August 4th, 2016

Illinois’ new law about marijuana-impaired driving requires stiffer evidence for conviction

Local attorney Jeff Hall said that a new law in the state of Illinois regarding marijuana and impaired driving, has only slightly reduced the legal dangers – including longer prison terms – of causing a fatal vehicular accident after taking the drug. Four individuals have been convicted since 2012 of causing a death while driving...

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July 21st, 2016

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...

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