Defenses to Conspiracy to Commit Murder

Posted on in Murder
Illionois defense attorney,  Illinois criminal defense lawyerThe news of Joaquin Guzman, better known as ‘El Chapo,’ starting his life sentence this week made news around the country, and around the globe. The sentence came after Guzman was found guilty of a number of crimes, including conspiracy to commit murder. While a jury found Guzman guilty and he was largely known as a very violent criminal, not everyone accused of conspiracy to commit murder actually committed the act. Fortunately for these individuals, there are defenses available. What Is Conspiracy to Commit Murder? The federal crime of conspiring to commit murder is covered under 18 U.S. Code Section 1117. Under this code, it is unlawful to conspire, or plan, to kill internationally protected persons, law enforcement or government officials, or any other person. It is important to understand that the act of murder does not have to happen in order for the prosecution to press conspiracy charges. The government must simply show that a person had plans to kill another person. If the murder did take place, a person will likely face both conspiracy charges and murder charges. In a conspiracy case, the prosecution must prove the intent of the defendant, which is very difficult to do. If a person is unaware they are part of a conspiracy, they cannot be convicted of a crime. However, a person also does not need to be made aware of all the elements of the crime, either. As long as they know they are part of a conspiracy, they can face charges. For those convicted, conspiracy to commit murder has very harsh penalties. There is no minimum sentence, and a person could spend the rest of their life in federal prison. Due to this, it is important any individual charged speak to a federal criminal defense attorney that can help. Defenses to Conspiracy to Commit Murder One of the most effective defenses in conspiracy to commit murder cases is abandonment or withdrawal. If the defendant can show that they communicated to their co-conspirators, in no uncertain terms, that they no longer wished to play a role in the conspired crime, this can be used as a defense. When using this argument, the defendant must also show that they took positive action to remove themselves from the conspiracy. They must also show they no longer communicate with their co-conspirators. This withdrawal must occur prior to the conspired act taking place. Like all criminal cases, mistaken identity can also be used as a defense in conspiracy to commit murder cases. Sometimes, law enforcement and the prosecution simply get it wrong. When they do, and they accuse the wrong person of conspiracy to commit murder, it can be used as a defense to conspiracy to commit murder. When law enforcement has persuaded someone to partake in conspiracy to commit murder, this is also a useful defense. To use it, the defendant must show they had no intention of committing a crime before communication with a law enforcement officer. They must also show the conspiracy was suggested by the officer first, and that the officer persuaded the defendant to conspire to commit the act. Charged with a Federal Crime? Call an Illinois Federal Criminal Defense Attorney

Like all federal crimes, there are valid and effective defenses to the crime conspiracy to commit murder. However, no one should ever try to argue them on their own. A skilled Chicago federal criminal defense lawyer can give defendants their best chance of success in court. If you have been charged with a federal crime, call the Law Offices of Hal M. Garfinkel at 312-629-0669 today for your free consultation. We are dedicated to helping those accused of crimes retain their freedom, and we want to help with your case, too.



Federal Murder Charges

Posted on in Murder
Illionois defense attorney, Illinois federal crimes lawyer, Illinois criminal defense lawyerMurder cases are often tried in state court because in general murder is a state crime. However, there are some circumstances where a murder trial will occur in federal court. These instances are spelled out in federal law and are quite specific. Federal prosecutions often have a larger budget and a different set of laws will be in effect. It is important that the accused hire counsel that can mount a strong defense and who fully understands federal laws of evidence and the elements of federal crimes.

Ten Types of Federal Murder Charges

  1. Killing of an elected or appointed federal officeholder. Federal charges will result if the victim is a congressman, senator, president, vice president, a cabinet officer (for example Secretary of Defense), or a Supreme Court justice.
  2. Killing of a federal judge or law enforcement officer. If the victim is a federal judge or a federal law enforcement officer, the trial will be heard in federal court.
  3. Killing of an immediate family member of a law enforcement official where the assailant was attempting to pressure the law enforcement official to stop an investigation.
  4. A killing meant to impact the outcome of a court case. Federal courts have jurisdiction over the killings of court officers and jurors, or murders that are meant to thwart testimony. Federal courts also have jurisdiction over murders committed in retaliation for testimony made at a legal proceeding.
  5. A killing carried out during a bank robbery. Because bank robbery is a federal offense, a murder that happens during a bank robbery will also be considered a federal crime.
  6. Killing related to rape, child molestation, and sexual exploitation of minors.
  7. Murder on a ship. This law usually applies to piracy but can encompass other situations such as when a U.S. national is killed on a ship no matter where the ship is located.
  8. Drug trafficking-related killings. This is a common reason why a murder case will be tried in federal court.
  9. Murder for hire. If the murder can only be carried out by a person crossing state lines, or if the requested hit job is communicated by phone, mail, or the Internet, the murder-for-hire could be charged federally.
  10. Murder by mail. If the assailant utilizes the postal service to transmit deadly items (such as explosives or biological hazards), federal charges could result.

Contact a Chicago, IL Murder Charge Defense Attorney

If you or someone you love is under investigation for committing a murder, you should seek qualified legal counsel quickly. Our firm’s Chicago, IL murder charge defense lawyer will fight hard for you and put his years of experience to work in your case.

Contact our firm today at 312-629-0669 to schedule your free consultation. Our telephones are answered 24 hours a day. We also offer appointments offsite and on nights and weekends.




murder, criminal charges, Illinois criminal defense attorneyA homecoming celebration turned tragic this past weekend when a car plowed into a crowd of spectators, killing four and injuring dozens. Three adults and a two-year-old child were killed when the vehicle driven by a 25-year-old woman suddenly crashed into a throng of people watching the Oklahoma State University homecoming parade on Saturday in Stillwater. The driver was arrested on charges of driving under the influence and was held over the weekend on four counts of second-degree murder. She is expected to appear in court this week for arraignment.

Murder Charges in Illinois

As the OSU community seeks to heal following the tragedy, the case may serve to highlight some important facets of criminal law here in Illinois. Charges for murder in Illinois can be brought against a defendant in the first or second degree. First degree murder is committed when a person kills another:


Understanding Murder Charges in Illinois

Posted on in Murder

first degree murder, second degree murder, Illinois Criminal Defense AttorneyMurder may be the most serious crime of which an individual can be accused. The unlawful taking of another’s life directly impacts not only the victim and his or her family, but can result in the most severe penalties allowed by law to the perpetrator.

Under Illinois law, there are two degrees of murder charges and conviction requires the demonstration by prosecution that the accused intended to kill the victim or knew his or her actions could cause major harm to the victim. The exception to this requirement would be a death occurring in the act of committing a felony, such as rape, arson, or burglary. In such a case, murder charges may still be brought against the perpetrator regardless of intent.

First Degree Murder

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