Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The Tragedy of Gang Violence

Today, I was reminded once again that crime does not pay. A young Spanish Cobra was on trial for allegedly shooting a Latin Kings member. I represented the young Spanish Cobra. This case, like so many, revolved around the issue of whether or not the jury believed the testimony of the Latin King gangster. This victim of gang warfare and violence had in fact been shot. There was no doubt about that. The bullet was still in his body. The real question was, who did it.

At the hospital after surgery, the Latin King made no affirmative identification of his shooter. He told the jury he was planning on taking care of this in the streets, and not cooperating with the police investigation. Turns out, he was already cooperating with the federal government regarding the indictment of his fellow Latin Kings. Part of that cooperation included being offered a proffer letter. This letter allowed him to make statements that could not be used against him unless they turned out to be false. In exchange for these statements, the government would give him consideration at sentencing.

In all gang investigations, the three things that investigators are most keen about are armed robberies, homicides, and shootings. It just so happens that this was a shooting case, albeit the shooting case of the victim in this case.

The victim decided to testify in this case and confront his alleged aggressor. During cross examination, he made statements that seeing Spanish Cobras die or go to prison would make him, “very happy.” He talked of his disdain for rival gang members and how he had been involved with his gang for many years, constantly fighting with other gangs to establish territory.

The result of that lifestyle was an indictment by the federal government. Trying to spare himself some time in prison he decided to cooperate. It just so happens that only after he had been under the proffer letter I talked about earlier did he pick his own shooter out of a lineup.

He insisted he knew the guy and that he lived at a certain address on the south side, and further that he would be able to identify him. All of this is well and good, but it was quite obvious to everyone on the jury that of course this victim is going to know members of his rival gang. He did not dislike my client starting the day he got shot. He had his hatred for this man for quite some time.

Ultimately, his credibility was torn to pieces during cross examination. Because the state did not have any other witnesses or direct evidence, the jury felt that while they did not care for my client, they really did not care for the victim or find him to have one ounce of credibility.

The victim in this case nearly lost his life. But that was a gamble he made years ago when he decided to live a life of deceit and violence as a member of a dangerous street gang. As for my client, not guilty was the verdict.

Attorney Theodore J. "TJ" Perlick-Molinari
Birdsall Law Offices, S.C.
135 W. Wells St., Ste 214, Milwaukee, WI 53203

State of Wisconsin charged:
Count 1: 940.23(1)(a) - 1st Degree Reckless Injury - Felony D
Found Not Guilty at Jury Trial

Count 2 - 941.29(2)(a) - Felon Possess Firearm - Felony G
Found Not Guilty at Jury Trial


Jodi Golisek said...

Congratulations, TJ! A tremendous victory for your client and you!

Anonymous said...

bravo, all the cobras I know are honorable families , and given the circumstancies I would be the same/am as they are Unfortunately people believe what they see hear and are told by the News Media. The writers don't live in this world yet still continue to print what the other authors have already printed. Its a visious bigotted racist classist world. With the insidious judiciary making all those decisions without access to the variables fill the prisons, mental instituitions, streets and early graves with the debris of those uninformed decisions, yet If I were them I am not convinced that I would be any different than them. I say its time the world woke up, Their are too many people and not enough jobs. A good person loves their own famiy first, then their neighbor, and so on. Unfortunately some people believe themselves to be better than the others. A serious mistake.---may the spirit of truth be with you in always