case summaries
case summaries

People v. J.A. — Defendant was charged in DeWitt County with misdemeanor criminal trespass to vehicle and disorderly conduct after a mundane dispute with an in-law. The prosecution refused to dismiss the charges despite the incident being trivial. Attorney Carter set the matter for trial, told his client’s side of the story, pointed out the absurdity of the charges and left it up to the jury to decide. Shortly after closing arguments, the jury returned a verdict of not guilty.

People v. M.K. and People v. L.S. — Two co-defendants were charged in McLean County with misdemeanor possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia. After meeting with the defendants and reviewing the police reports, it was discovered that the officer used some questionable tactics to grant himself access to the co-defendants’ property and garage to obtain and secure evidence. The officer then used this small amount of evidence to obtain a search warrant. Attorney Carter filed a motion to suppress the evidence seized during the search as “fruit of the poisonous tree” based on 4th amendment violations of the initial illegal search and seizure. After a court hearing on the Motion, the Judge granted the defendants’ motion suppressing the illegally seized evidence. Because the State was left with no evidence, the charges were dismissed against both clients.

People v. S.M. — An officer was stationed across the street from the bar Defendant was visiting following a wedding reception. Upon defendant’s departure, he failed to signal out of the parking lot and the officer began to follow him, noting other minor traffic violations such as stopping over the white stop-line. The officer used these violations as probable cause to initiate a traffic stop. Defendant, still dressed in his rental tuxedo and shoes after a long day participating in the wedding festivities, performed field sobriety tests at the officer’s request. He was subsequently arrested for DUI. Defendant refused to submit to any breath tests. Attorney Carter set the matter for jury trial. Attorney Carter argued defendant’s sobriety through witnesses and explanation of field sobriety test performance. The jury agreed with attorney Carter’s explanation of events and determined there was not enough evidence to convict the defendant of driving under the influence by issuing a not guilty verdict.

People v. G.P. — Defendant was pulled over in McLean County for an alleged violation of failure to use a turn signal. The Officer then searched the Defendant’s vehicle and Defendant was charged with a misdemeanor possession of marijuana. Attorney Carter issued a Subpoena for video evidence of the traffic stop and search to ensure there was probable cause to stop, detain and arrest the defendant and be certain there were no 4th Amendment violations. The police department responded to the subpoena that video evidence was no longer available, which is a violation Illinois Statutes on maintaining evidence. Attorney Carter filed a Motion to Dismiss the case based on the destruction of pertinent evidence. The Judge ruled that the evidence seized should be suppressed based on the evidence violations, which ultimately lead to the dismissal of the charges against the Defendant.

People v. A.S. — Some cases are not a matter of guilt or innocence, but are centered on securing the best disposition possible for a client who has already admitted to a serious crime. In this case, the defendant was charged in Champaign County with a Class X felony for bringing a controlled substance into penal institution, and a Class 1 felony of bringing electronic communication device into a prison. Defendant was facing a mandatory prison term of 6-30 years on a Class X felony which she had already confessed to during police interrogation after her arrest. Through negotiations, Robert Carter was able to secure a deal on lesser charge for 24 months probation and no jail time.

People v. P.S. — Defendant was arrested and charged in McLean County with Aggravated Battery after a melee broke out during a New Year’s Eve party near a college campus. The Defendant was identified in a photo lineup by several “eyewitnesses”; however, there were many discrepancies between the descriptions these witnesses gave and their accounts of the events. Because of the arrest, the Defendant was expelled from his out-of-state college and forced to move back to Illinois, costing him a promising job in the process. Attorney Carter set the matter for a jury trial and pointed out the numerous discrepancies in each of the witnesses’ accounts of the events of that night. The State called three eye witnesses and ten occurrence witnesses. Mr. Carter cross-examined each and every witness and destroyed their credibility. After a week-long trial, the jury returned a verdict of not guilty and the Defendant was able to begin rebuilding his life.

People v. K.T. — Defendant was arrested in McLean County for possession of marijuana and possession of paraphernalia. The Defendant’s friend was pulled over on I-55 for speeding as they were heading home from a concert in Bloomington. Ultimately, the Officer searched the vehicle and occupants finding the paraphernalia and marijuana. Attorney Carter filed Motion to Suppress based on a 4th amendment violation illegal search and seizure due to the Officer exceeding the scope and purpose of the initial traffic stop for speeding. The Judge granted the Defendant’s Motion and Ordered the seized evidence suppressed. Because the State was left with no evidence, the charges against the Defendant were dismissed.

People v. J.Y. — Defendant was arrested on Clinton Lake in DeWitt County for Operating a Watercraft Under the Influence (OUI). The defendant was on a jetski, and refused to submit to the field sobriety tests that the officer demanded, as that is what Defendant was always told to do by friends and various attorneys. Through negotiations with State including presentation of evidence of the circumstances of arrest, overwhelming evidence of sobriety, and strong character evidence, attorney Carter was able to secure a dismissal of the charges.

People v. D.Y. — Traffic offenses can be a serious ordeal for any Commercial Driver’s License holder, especially if an accident is involved. Defendant was ticketed in McLean County for failure to yield right-of-way when turning from a private drive. The Defendant was making a left turn onto the main road and when his turn was over halfway complete, he was t-boned by an oncoming car. The main road did have several rises and drops, and Defendant did not see the other vehicle until he was well into his turn. Attorney Carter set the matter for a jury trial. He demonstrated the circumstances of the accident and explained to the jury that just because an accident happened, does not mean that one party has to be at fault. The Defendant attempted to complete a safe left turn when the road was free of oncoming traffic. By time the Defendant saw the other car, there was no where he could go, and the oncoming car took little to no evasive action to avoid the accident. The jury understood Attorney Carter’s explanation and returned a not guilty verdict.

People v. L.Z. — Defendant was stopped for speeding down Main Street in McLean County when he was returning from visiting at a friend’s house early in the evening. The officer claimed to smell an odor of alcohol on the Defendant and began a DUI investigation. Defendant completed the field sobriety tests at the direction of the officer. The officer determined the Defendant failed the tests and placed him under arrest for DUI. The Defendant refused the evidentiary breath test at the police station on the advice of Attorney Carter from previous interactions. After a full evidence review, Attorney Carter set the matter for jury trial. At trial, Attorney Carter pointed out the officers attempts to confuse the Defendant during his field sobriety tests and questioning, and how Defendant had clear enough thoughts to catch on to this. Carter highlighted the positive performance during the tests, and the Defendant’s ability to speak clearly and efficiently answer the officer’s questions. After both sides presented evidence, the case was handed to the jury. The jury returned a not guilty verdict.

People v. M.C. — After authorities executed a search warrant in Iroquois County, Defendant was found with numerous marijuana plants located within the fields of crops he farmed, and harvested marijuana drying in a shed located on the farmstead property. Defendant was arrested and charged with a Class X felony with a mandatory prison term of 6 to 30 years for manufacturing more than 5000 grams of marijuana. Through negotiations, Attorney Carter was able to convince the State to amend the charges to a lower class of felony so that the defendant received probation and 3 months county jail time. He was further able to negotiate the jail time so that the Defendant would not miss any planting or harvesting seasons.

People v. T.D. — The Defendant was arrested and charged with felony Aggravated Domestic Battery after his girlfriend claimed he strangled her during an altercation. The alleged victim presented herself at the police department to file a battery report with no signs of injury or struggle, but with a story that apparently convinced the officers enough to arrest the Defendant. Attorney Carter presented evidence to the State of inconsistencies within the alleged victims own report, evidence of prior incidents of violence perpetuated by her, and information witnesses could provide concerning prior confrontations the alleged victim initiated against the Defendant. The Defendant had no prior arrests. He was attempting to break up with the alleged victim and she sought revenge. In the end, Attorney Carter was able to convince the State that the Defendant’s account of the events that night was more credible, and the charges were dismissed.

People v. T.R. — Defendant was stopped in McLean County during a Traffic Safety Detail (roadblock) and was arrested and charged with Driving Under the Influence. After reviewing the police reports and DVD recordings from the Defendant’s arrest, Attorney Carter determined that proper procedure was not followed in conducting the breath test nor was it followed in Officer’s questioning of the Defendant. Attorney Carter then subpoenaed further information regarding the breath test machine to determine its accuracy. He used the evidence collected in his review to file a Motion to Suppress the breath test results. The Judge granted Defendant’s Motion. With most of the evidence being suppressed pursuant to Attorney Carter’s arguments, the State was left with little evidence to present and therefore dismissed the charges against the Defendant.

People v. K.S. — Defendant was pulled over by a State Trooper for improper lane usage and the trooper began a DUI investigation. The Defendant performed the requested field sobriety tests and refused to submit to the evidentiary breath test because she had always heard you should refuse. After reviewing the DVD of the Defendant’s arrest, Attorney Carter opened discussions with the State, particularly focusing on how well the Defendant performed the tests and her ability to speak clearly and understand instructions. After Attorney Carter set the matter for trial, he continued to point out the seemingly overwhelming evidence of Defendant’s sobriety to the State. After the additional prompting and the with the trial date approaching, the State finally did a more detailed review of the Defendant’s test performance and determined there was not enough evidence to pursue a DUI charge against her. The DUI charge was finally dismissed saving the client, as well as the Court, from a time consuming trial.

People v. B.S. — Defendant was pulled over for speeding and upon contact, the office began a DUI investigation. The Defendant completed field sobriety tests, but refused all breath tests, resulting in the officer placing the Defendant under arrest. Because this was Defendant’s 3rd DUI arrest, it increased the violation to a felony with mandatory jail or the possibility of prison time. The DUI arrest also triggered a petition to revoke the probation for a prior case of the Defendant. That means, if Defendant was found guilty of the DUI offense, he could be resentenced on his prior case as well. After reviewing all of the evidence, Attorney Carter set the matter for a bench trial. During Attorney Carter’s cross-examination of the officer and after the video of the arrest played, he was able to point out the Defendant’s ability to navigate his driving, his positive performance during field sobriety tests, his ability to think clearly and understand instructions and his overall presentation of sobriety. The State rested their case and Attorney Carter asked for a directed verdict, claiming the State did not prove their burden that the Defendant was operating a vehicle under the influence. The Judge agreed with Attorney Carter, granted his directed verdict and entered a not guilty verdict. The directed verdict also prompted the petition to revoke to be dismissed so the Defendant would remain on his previous term of probation without further penalty.

People v. L.J. — Defendant was involved in a motor vehicle accident when the tires of the trailer he was pulling slipped off the road onto a soft shoulder, causing him to lose control and overturn his SUV in rural McLean County. The responding officers began a DUI investigation after the Defendant admitted he had a couple beers early in the day. The Defendant completed all field sobriety tests and submitted to the preliminary (non-evidentiary) breath test which revealed a blood alcohol content of .270. Defendant, knowing he had not consumed that much alcohol, gained a distrust for the machine and the officers and refused to submit to the evidentiary breath test. This arrest was the Defendant’s third DUI violation and therefore his charges were upgraded to a felony. After reviewing the police reports and DVD recordings of Defendant’s field sobriety tests, Attorney Carter determined that the case should proceed to a jury trial to prove the Defendant’s innocence. Attorney Carter presented evidence focusing on the Defendant’s solid performance on the field sobriety tests, including how the Defendant maintained steady balance with no swaying, even after being tossed upside down in his vehicle. The case was turned over to the jury and the jury found the Defendant not guilty.