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Hal Garfinkel is retained as the defendant's lawyer in the Chicago high profile murder case of Marlen Ochoa-Lopez. Read more...
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Illionois defense attorney,  Illinois criminal defense lawyerSo, a grand jury has convened and determined that there is enough to indict you. It looks like you are headed to a federal criminal trial and there is no hope for anything else to happen. While it may seem that way, that is not always the case. At this point, you must speak to a federal criminal defense attorney. A federal attorney can advise you on the many options you still have, including those below that could have your case dismissed.

Biased Jury

Under the Fifth Amendment, you have the right to an independent, informed, and unbiased jury. If for any reason, your attorney feels as though the jury was prejudiced in any way, this is a reason for dismissal. For example, if your case is high profile in the area the grand jury was convened in, and the jury was not sequestered, this is enough reason to have your case dismissed.


Posted by on in Your Rights

Illionois defense attorney,  Illinois criminal defense lawyerReceiving a federal grand jury subpoena is very frightening. You must take action as soon as possible, as the consequences of doing nothing are great. You may not know whether you are the suspect in a criminal case, or if the federal prosecutor wants to speak to you as a witness. Taking action can help clear this up, and make sure you protect yourself. Below are a few tips that will help you do just that.

Contact the United States Attorney’s Office

After you receive your subpoena, there’s a very good chance that the U.S. Attorney’s Office will know much more about the case than you will. You will need to contact them, but it is likely that they will be very reluctant to discuss the case with you, particularly if you are a suspect in a criminal case. This task should be left to a federal criminal defense attorney that will understand how to handle the U.S. Attorney’s Office.


juryIf you have been charged with a federal crime such as healthcare fraud or federal drug trafficking, you may hear that the grand jury is convening over your case. This happens before a trial even begins, which confuses many accused individuals. Does the jury convene after the trial? What does the grand jury do?

In federal cases, there is a good chance that both a grand jury and a trial jury will hear your case. They both have very different functions, though, and are sometimes presented with different types of evidence.

The Grand Jury in Federal Cases


Posted by on in Federal Crimes
Illionois defense attorney,  Illinois criminal defense lawyerA federal indictment is a legal document charging someone with a federal crime. The prosecution can only obtain an indictment after arguing their case to a grand jury. The jury then convenes and determines whether or not there is probable cause that the individual committed the crime. If the grand jury determines there is probable cause, an indictment is issued. Receiving a federal indictment is very stressful and can cause those charged to think the worst as they imagine spending several years in federal prison. However, not every federal indictment ends this way. Those charged with a federal crime do have options, and they should discuss all of them with a federal criminal defense attorney. Dismissal This is the best chance a person has at retaining their freedom after receiving a federal indictment. When a case is dismissed in federal court, the charges are dismissed and the case is thrown out of court. According to the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, Rule 47, when the defense wishes to have a case dismissed, they must file a motion with the court. In order to obtain a dismissal of the case, the defense must show within their motion that the defendant should not have been charged with the alleged crime, or that their constitutional rights were violated. Obtaining a dismissal is much more difficult in federal court than it is in state court. This is due to the fact that in federal court, a grand jury consisting of 12 people has determined there is probable cause. In a state court, only one judge is convinced of probable cause. The law views the opinions of 12 people as more substantial than the opinion of just one. However, when the prosecution has a weak case, dismissals are still a possibility. Plea Deal Under Rule 11 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, the defense team and the prosecution can strike a plea deal. This is the best option when the defense believes they will not receive a successful verdict at trial. During a plea deal, the defense team will meet with the prosecution and agree to plead guilty to lesser charges in exchange for a lesser sentence. Certain sentencing factors, such as enhancements, are often thrown during the negotiation. It is important for defendants to understand that when a plea deal is made between the prosecution and the defense, the court must approve it. If the court decides not to approve it, the case will go to trial. Trial After receiving a federal indictment, many defendants think taking the case to trial is the worst option. This, however, is not always true. A jury made up of 12 people will determine a defendant’s innocence or guilt throughout the course of a trial. This means the prosecution must convince the entire jury of a person’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. When they fail to do so, the jury must find the defendant innocent. Going to trial is often the best chance a defendant has at beating the charges and retaining their freedom. Review Your Options After a Federal Indictment with a Chicago Federal Criminal Defense Attorney

Anyone that is indicted on federal charges may think they are out of options. This, however, just is not true. A passionate Chicago federal criminal defense attorney can help. If you have been indicted by a grand jury, contact the Law Offices of Hal M. Garfinkel at 312-270-0999. We know the many options available, and we will review them all with you to determine which one is right for your specific case. We offer free consultations, so call us today and we can begin discussing your case.



shooting, indictment, Illinois Criminal Defense AttorneyIn the wake of protests and civil unrest following police-related deaths in Ferguson, Missouri, and New York City, another high profile shooting death exploded into the public consciousness. Thanks largely to a bystander’s cell phone video, the police shooting of an African American man in North Charleston, South Carolina, captured headlines for several weeks beginning in early April. While the involved officer was fired and authorities promised an investigation, the future of the case was relatively uncertain until earlier this week when a grand jury officially indicted the former officer on a murder charge.

The indictment is related to a series of events on April 4th that left a 50 year old man dead following what seemed to be a relatively routine traffic stop. The officer’s dashboard camera indicated that initial stop for broken taillight was conducted without incident. A few minutes later, however, the driver emerged from his vehicle and attempted to get away. A cell phone video shot by a passerby showed the officer and driver involved in a physical altercation, after which the driver broke free again and ran. The officer fired eight times at the driver, ultimately killing him.

The cell phone video, understandably, went viral very quickly, prompting peaceful demonstrations and calls for police reform. The officer was fired from the police force while charges were pending, but has maintained that he feared for his life during the altercation. This week’s indictment by the grand jury ensures that he will stand trial for his alleged actions that day. If convicted of murder, the former officer faces from 30 years to life in prison without the possibility of parole.



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