Sometimes, even the most unlikely cases are appealed. While there may seem to be no hope in overturning a ruling, that a mountain of evidence is in favor of the court’s initial decision, and momentum in the defendant's favor is gone due to unfavorable public opinion, there is still a chance that an appeal will be successful. Not all cases can go to appeal. There needs to be some proof of wrongdoing or mistake on the behalf of the court, prosecution, or the defense. If you believe that such mistakes happened in your case, contact an experienced Chicago criminal appeals attorney with Barney and Hourihane today .
38-Year Sentence Appealed at Appellate Court in Ottawa
A former Bolingbrook, Illinois, police sergeant was convicted of murder in 2012. He was sentenced to serve 38 years in prison for killing his third wife in 2014, and was later sentenced to an additional 40 years when it was found that he had attempted to hire a hitman to kill the state attorney who originally convicted him. However, his case went to appeals court. The initial court decision was upheld by the Third District Appellate Court in Ottawa, according to the Chicago Tribune. Allegations that the lead defense attorney had a conflict of interest and that his counsel was ineffective were found to be untrue. However, the story does not stop there.
No Confession, No Eyewitness, and No Known Time of Death
The death of the defendant’s third wife was initially thought to be an accident. However, when she was unburied, signs of foul play were detected. The defendant's fourth wife came forward with allegations that he had murdered the third wife, but she went missing and was never able to give testimony in court. Her disappearance was thought to be the work of her husband, and in order to admit her testimony in court, prosecutors admitted it with a 2010 hearsay law, called Drew's Law, that allowed her witness testimony to be heard “beyond the grave.” Despite there being no confession, eyewitnesses, or known time of death, prosecutors were still able to convict this man of murder, though not without a prolonged fight.
Case Taken to Illinois Supreme Court
After the appellate court ruled in favor of the initial court’s decision on a 38-year sentence for murder, the former police sergeant's attorneys took the case to the next step up. The defendant’s arguments were heard before the Illinois Supreme Court on Tuesday, November 12th. Just getting the hearing was rare, as 95 percent of appeals requests are rejected by the Illinois Supreme Court, according to Chicago 5. A decision is expected to be reached at some time next year, according to ABC 7 Eyewitness News.
Contact a Chicago Criminal Appeals Attorney Today
Was your trial rushed through? Was their key evidence not taken into account, or bias within the courtroom? Contact a Chicago civil rights attorney at Barney and Hourihane law today at 312-854-0906 for immediate assistance.