• "If it wasn't for Hal I would be in prison today." D.R.

    Contact Hal

    Contact Hal
  • "I am a free man today. I owe my life to Hal." J.O., Class X Narcotics Client.

    Contact Hal
Hal Garfinkel is retained as the defendant's lawyer in the Chicago high profile murder case of Marlen Ochoa-Lopez. Read more...
Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in homicide

Posted by 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 312-270-0999 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.



Illinois defense attorney, Illinois criminal lawyer, Illinois criminal statistics,Have you ever wondered which crimes are the most prevalent in the state of Illinois? While gun violence and homicide rates have captured the media’s attention lately, new numbers released by the Illinois Department of Corrections may indicate which crimes are actually the most popular in the state. The department surveyed the state’s inmate population of over 45,000 inmates spread across 25 correctional facilities, and recorded their offense in one of 28 categories, including murder, robbery, and burglary. Based on their findings, here are the top ten most common crimes committed by Illinois inmates. Robbery

Number of Inmates: 1,616

Percent: 3.3 In Illinois, robbery is theft of money or property through the use of violence of fear. Aggravated or armed robbery indicates a deadly weapon may have been used, or the victim of the robbery was injured. DUI

Number of Inmates: 1,651

Percent: 3.4 Drivers found operating a vehicle with a blood alcohol content of over .08 percent in Illinois will be charged with a DUI. While DUI rates have declined in America over recent years, DUIs still remain a common violation, and drugged driving rates are on the rise. Residential Burglary

Number of Inmates: 2,110


violent crime, chicago crime, Chicago Criminal Defense LawyerIn a period of about 15 hours, beginning this past Monday night, 14 people were shot in the Chicago area, including six who were killed. The shootings come on the heels of two consecutive weekends in which more than 50 people were shot in the Windy City. More than 40 were shot during each of four consecutive weekends in August, as well. The rash of violent crime has not gone unnoticed by city officials, who are insistent that it is time to take action to get the violence back under control.

Sobering Statistics

According to Chicago Tribune estimates, some 2,300 shootings have been reported in the city of Chicago this year, up by nearly 400 from the same time last year. The number of homicides, through Sunday, stood at 359, a 21 percent jump from 2014, Chicago police data indicates. The problem, it seems, is not limited to Chicago, as homicides are on the rise in in major cities across the country, including Saint Louis, which is up 60 percent, Baltimore, up 56 percent, and a staggering 76 percent in Milwaukee. While the issue seem magnified when contrasted with last year’s near-record low homicide rates, there is little question that concern is certainly warranted.


Illinois criminal defense attorney, Illinois defense lawyer, federal hate crime charges, Numerous national media outlets reported on the recent murder of three Muslim students. According to investigators, a man allegedly shot and killed the three Muslim students as the result of a parking space dispute. While a number of individuals (including the surviving family members of the deceased) want to see the shooter charged with a hate crime, others doubt that this particular type of crime fits the definition of a hate crime.

Basic Principles Governing Hate Crimes

As a previous post described, a hate crime is a crime committed against another person or group of people where the crime is motivated by a bias against that person or group. That bias can be on account of that person or group’s race, religion, sexual orientation, ethnicity, or gender. Because of the nature of these crimes, hate crimes are often punished more severely than a normal crime.


reckless homicide, Illinois defense attorney, Illinois criminal lawyer,Most individuals know that taking another human life without a defense or justification is a crime. But not all takings of life are punished in the same manner. Depending on the circumstances surrounding the taking of another life, a person can find him- or herself charged with any one of a variety of homicide-related offenses. Obviously, the more serious the homicide offense, the more severe the penalties a criminal defendant can expect to face. Aggressive and knowledgeable defense counsel can help defendants by arguing the facts support a less-severe form of homicide and ensure their clients face the least severe penalties as possible.

First Degree Murder

First degree murder occurs when an individual kills another and:



PHONE: 312-270-0999

FAX: 312-924-0201