Thursday, September 13, 2018

Gunday Funday: Our weekly look at how prosecutors and the courts are handling Chicago gun cases

How seriously do prosecutors and Cook County courts take Chicago’s gun cases? Here’s this week’s look at some recent filings:.

Rodriguez | CPD
First up, a previously-profiled case has been resolved in court: A 23-year-old parolee who ran from police after crashing his Jeep in Wrigleyville this spring is going back to prison. Cops tried to curb Luis Miguel Rodriguez around 3:15 a.m. on May 25th because his SUV looked similar to the one used in a series of robberies on the North Side. Rodriguez crashed in the 1100 block of West Roscoe and ran from the scene, police said.

Cops found a handgun on the floorboard of Rodriguez’s Jeep and he was charged with felony unlawful use of a weapon by a felon; felony possession of cocaine; felony manufacture-delivery of cannabis; and multiple traffic violations, according to a police spokesman. At the time of his arrest, Rodriguez was on parole after serving about half of a one-year sentence for narcotics.

In a plea deal approved by Judge Timothy Chambers, Rodriguez pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm with a previous conviction. He was sentenced to three years in prison with 98 days credit for time served while awaiting trial. Eight other firearms-related felonies were dropped in the deal. He is scheduled to be paroled on November 22, 2019.

Now, on to some new cases…

Bradford | CPD
• About 20 minutes after a man was shot to death across from the Near North police station on Saturday, officers allegedly saw Datahji Bradford sitting in a Lincoln Continental near the shooting scene. When a cop found a handgun under the driver’s seat where Bradford was seated, the 18-year-old took off running while holding his waistband, police said. Cops chased after Bradford, tazed him, and took him into custody.

Prosecutors charged Bradford with unlawful use of a weapon in a vehicle without a Firearm Owner ID card (FOID).  Judge Michael Clancy set his bail at $40,000, meaning that Bradford can go free to await trial by posting a $4,000 deposit bond.

Just three days before the gun arrest, Bradford pleaded guilty to selling crack cocaine on the West Side. A sentencing hearing was pending. In that case, he was allegedly caught carrying $1,643 cash and 28 bags of crack while engaging in hand-to-hand narcotics transactions.

Collins | CPD
• After shots were fired inside of Humboldt Park on the evening of August 28th, police pulled over 31-year-old Curtis Collins because his vehicle matched the description of a car seen near the gunfire, according to court records. Collins gave police permission to search his vehicle. Behind the unlocked back seat armrest, police found a loaded handgun and about $1,300 worth of pot, according to a CPD report. Collins allegedly told police that he carries the gun “for protection.”

Prosecutors charged Collins with being a felon in possession of a firearm, misdemeanor possession of cannabis, and misdemeanor counts of possessing a firearm and ammunition without a valid FOID card.

Judge John Lyke set bail at $3,000.  Collins needs to post a $300 deposit to go free.

Harris | CPD
• Police responding to a call of a fight in the 1500 block of North Milwaukee at 5 a.m. on September 2nd were told that a man crouching down in a nearby patio was involved in the brawl. A security guard told police the man had a gun. Officers approached the patio and detained 31-year-old Sedrick Harris Jr. A loaded handgun was found in his waistband, police said. Investigators later determined that the gun had been stolen in July.

Prosecutors charged Harris with being a felon in possession of a weapon, felony possession of a stolen firearm, and misdemeanor counts of possessing a firearm and ammunition without a valid FOID card.

Judge Clancy set his bail at $50,000, which will allow Harris to go free by posting a $5,000 deposit.

Gary | CPD
• After shots were fired in the 1300 block of North Hudson on August 25th, police officers monitoring pod cameras were able to track a green Chevy Tahoe as it sped from the shooting scene and eventually pulled over in the 1000 block of North Halsted. Police say they went to the Tahoe and detained its driver, Ray Gary Jr. Inside the car cops found narcotics packaging material, a digital scale, twenty-two hydrocodone pills, and 77 grams of cocaine worth $4,000, according to prosecutors.

One loaded handgun was found hidden in the driver’s door panel. Another was found in the passenger’s door panel, police said. Four spent shell casings were on the Tahoe’s floor, according to court records.

Gary, 42, is a Conservative Vice Lord who’s been on parole since July 2016 after serving a little more than half of a 15-year sentence for armed robbery, according to police and state records. He has previously served time in prison for narcotics, being a felon in possession of a firearm (twice) attempted burglary and an earlier armed robbery.

Prosecutors charged him with felony possession of more than 15 grams of cocaine and felony possession of a controlled substance. As for the two guns in his car, prosecutors only charged him with misdemeanor possession of a firearm without having a FOID card. Judge Sophia Atcherson called the decision to charge only a misdemeanor “somewhat puzzling” before setting bail for Gary at $75,000.

Fortunately, the state last week revoked Gary’s parole as a result of the incident on Hudson. He is now due to be released from prison in July 2019.

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