Showing posts with label T.J. Perlick-Molinari. Show all posts
Showing posts with label T.J. Perlick-Molinari. Show all posts

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

Friday, April 4, 2008

Drug Charges Dismissed

Melanie is a young woman from Kenosha, WI who was hanging around with bad friends for years. One night in 2006 she was at her apartment when the cops showed up and searched the place after her roommate consented to the search. Cops found marijuana, cocaine, and drug paraphernalia. She was not charged at the time.

She then moved to Arizona for personal reasons, mainly to get away from the antisocial behavior that she was surrounded by in WI. Kenosha County DA files charges a year and a half later, charging her with marijuana, cocaine, and drug paraphernalia.

Melanie calls me after she receives the criminal complaint in the mail. She decides to retain the firm. I call the DA on her behalf. I demand dismissal and DA asks why he should dismiss. I provide the DA with a letter regarding Melanie’s life before and after the incident, showing the personal and professional improvements she has made and how the charge would only hamper her progress. Letter outlines essentially why prosecution is inappropriate. DA decides to dismiss the case outright without and initial appearance or further argument.
It is absolutely essential as a defense attorney to examine each case thoroughly and determine what role the defendant played in the act, and how that relates to her current position, especially when charging has come as late as it was in this case. DAs have an interest in whether the defendant is changing from an antisocial lifestyle to a prosocial lifestyle and will look very favorably on that positive transformation. Reasonable minds prevailed in this case and charges were dropped.

"TJ" Perlick-Molinari
Birdsall Law Offices, S.C.
135 W. Wells St., Ste 214, Milwaukee, WI 53203
801 E. Walnut St., Green Bay, WI 54301
414.831.5465 -

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Your Right to Remain Silent - Use It

Question: Is it ever appropriate to make statements to the police?

The the short answer is no. Here's why.

In our criminal justice system there are two parties: the state and the defendant. This is what is known as an adversarial system. What does this mean? The police are not your friends. The average officer starts building a case against you the second he sees you drive down the road, or look at him funny. Why help the man out? Giving a statement rarely accomplishes anything. More often than not, you are nervous, and not in any position to help yourself. Most people's hearts start beating when they realize that they were going over the speed limit when they passed a deputy on the freeway. So amplify that times 100 when an officer is staring you in the face alleging that you are drunk, or the main suspect in a burglary down the street.

The police will even try to be your friend and give you whatever you want to eat or drink in order for you to cooperate with them. It's because if you cooperate it makes their job 100% easier. They know that. You should know that too. Keep remembering this is State v. You and not State and You. They also know that if you ask for an attorney that they have to stop questioning you, so until you say the magic words, "I want to speak to an attorney" don't think they are done with you.

In the end, you may decide that you want to cooperate, but that decision should only be made after a consultation with an attorney. Don't let the officer convince you that he'll put a good word in for you with the district attorney or the judge. The only time I ever see a police officer in court saying something is when he is on the stand testifying against the defendant.

TJ Perlick-Molinari, Birdsall Law Offices, S.C.
135 W. Wells St., Ste 214, Milwaukee, WI 53203
414.831.5465 -

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Drunk Driving Cops in Wisconsin

So Are Police Officers Just Better Drunk Drivers?

When most of us get pulled over by a police officer we get nervous. Apparently, when an off duty officer gets pulled over, he has nothing to worry about. Just this week in Milwaukee County on St. Patrick’s Day, an on duty officer pulled over an off duty officer on suspicion of drunk driving. What is really appalling here is that the off duty drunkard thought he was just going to get away with it and be on his merry way home. After insisting that if he pulled an off duty officer over he would let them go, and has over 100 times, he begged the on duty officer to do the same for him.

The Frank Jude case has been society’s most recent opportunity to publicly see the culture of protecting one’s own in the police department. There is no doubt in my mind that this brotherhood extends to all officers and not just officers within the same department. I also know that the police department is no different than any other profession when it comes to looking out for one’s own.

Sadly, I am sure there is truth to the statements of the drunk deputy when he explained that he has let off duty officers go after he realized who they were. This cannot be an acceptable practice. I applaud the Hales Corners Police Officer who had the guts to arrest this man and take him into custody the same way any one of us would have been taken into custody if we were that intoxicated and behind the wheel swerving on the road.

We expect more from officers because of the important role they play in society. Cops who break the law themselves are hypocrites who do not deserve the respect of wearing the uniform and carrying the badge. They apply to be police officers to enforce law and order. And while I, as much as anyone can understand that we are all human and we all make mistakes, people who rely on other people’s mistakes to make their living should be smarter. They see it every day and know the consequences.

As a defense attorney, especially one who deals with OWI offenses, I know that if I get pulled over, I am getting the special treatment. And it is not the kind of special treatment that apparently off duty officers regularly get. While I do not believe this man should lose his job over this, he certainly should not be on highway duty arresting people for something of which he may be guilty of himself.

TJ Perlick-Molinari, Birdsall Law Offices, S.C.
135 W. Wells St., Ste 214, Milwaukee, WI 53203
414.831.5465 -

Monday, March 10, 2008 Goes Live

Ta-da!! Introducing our new website,, that went live today. features information about many of the criminal law areas in which we practice, and there is plenty more information to come. We've also provided information about a few of our past cases.

John A. Birdsall, Birdsall Law Offices, S.C.
135 W. Wells St., Ste 214, Milwaukee, WI 53203
414.831.5465 -

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Who Really Body Slammed Who?

On Friday, November 2, 2007, Coach Crawley will appear in Milwaukee Court for an intake hearing on two misdemeanor charges alleging he abused a child and acted disorderly.

However, Coach Crawley and several other witnesses say that never happened. This is just another case of the media sensationalizing a story for the ratings.

Reporters have been contacting Attorney John Birdsall, Crawley's criminal defense lawyer, asking questions and searching for more dirt on the story.

Crawley has been a coach for several years. Before being allowed to coach, the school conducted a complete background check on Crawley. And since becoming a coach, several parents say that he has positively impacted their children's lives.

When you remove the press wrapping from the story, it goes like this. Crawley was teaching his boys a new play. One of those players has repeatedly played dirty in the past, and on the day of this scrimmage, he targeted the coach's son as he had done in the past, and delivered a whopping impact with his shoulder. That impact was so strong that the responsible player wore a sling given to him by his mother after he had been checked out at the hospital to determine that there were no injuries and he did not need a cast.

Meanwhile, the coaches son, who was slammed to the ground by the blow and who lay screaming in pain while the responsible player looked over and laughed, was injured very badly. The responsible player was up to practice the following day and played in a final heated game two days later. However, the coach's son is still out with a very deep bruise to his thigh, and scheduled for an MRI.

So, who is the real responsible party here?

Is it the coach for being upset over his son being the target of a dirty player, getting seriously injured, and moving the assaulting player out of the way so that he could get to his and take him to the hospital?

Is it the dirty player who targeted the coach's son? Who laughed after he had knocked him to the ground, despite the fact that the boy he smacked to the ground with his shoulder blow lay screaming in pain? Who had previously played in this fashion?

Is it the coach who said that the dirty player would not play again?

Or the boy who lives to play football, despite his cheap shot methods?

Or is it the mother, who really wants to see the coach put in jail?

Perhaps there is much more to the real story than a single question about who body slammed whom. Perhaps the coach had talked to the dirty player's mother about the player's ethics on the field, and indicated to her that the cheap shots had to stop, or the boy would be removed from the game. And perhaps that mother told her son, which is what caused him to want to take the coach's son out. Vindictiveness seems to be playing a major role in this case. From the boy who wears his mother's sling to practice the next day - after hurting his own shoulder while taking a cheap shot on the coach's son and not being able to get a sling from the hospital - to the mother's repeated visits and calls to the police station to ask for the coach's arrest, things just don't add up the same way as the media has led you to believe when you know the whole story and the identity of the responsible player.

John A. Birdsall, Birdsall Law Offices, S.C.
135 W. Wells St., Ste 214, Milwaukee, WI 53203
414.831.5465 -

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Mike Crawley - A Father First

Sometimes there is much more to a story than meets the eye, or that is first reported by the news media in a slanted viewpoint that begins trying a case in the public eye, even before charges are officially filed.

On October 24, 2007, the media began a rapid dissemination of unfounded facts about the incident involving Coach Mike Crawley (coach) and a player who alleged that coach assaulted the eighty-five pound player, grabbed his face mask, whirled him in the air, and slammed him to the ground.

However, coaches Jeff Stegal and Shane Wieplowski say that the body slam described in the police report and later broadcast by the news media never even happened.

According to the police report (Incident #I07-1885), the alleged complainant is a minor and a player on a football team, whom we will refer to as "player". Player was learning a new position as a split end. The police report states that during a play, player admits he made a block on another student, who he identified as the son of coach. Player alleges that he made a legal block on the son of coach, after which the son of coach fell to the ground and began screaming in pain, and "appeared to be injured while on the ground after player blocked him".

Coaches Jeff Stegal and Shane Wieplowski, also witness to the incident, identified the block as a very serious and illegal chop block. The block was described as a "cheap shot". The blocking player rams his shoulder into the knees of the targeted player, which can blow the targeted player's knees out.

That was the block that player used against the son of coach. That was not the block that was being taught.

While the son of coach lay on the ground screaming in pain, player stood over him and laughed.

The police report includes statements accusing player of having hit son of coach in a "cheap shot way" before the October 24th incident, and believes that player is a dirty player who probably did the hit intentionally.

Coach willingly met with police to provide a statement. Coach stated that he saw the cheap shot hit on his son, identifying it as an illegal chop block, the result of which injured his son. After the hit, Coach then ran out on the field. He asked player, "What are you doing?" numerous times on his way to the pile. Upon arriving at the pile, he observed player kneeling over his son and laughing at his son. Coach asked player what he was doing, and player turned and laughed at coach. Coach said that he "lost it" and grabbed player by the face mask and threw him behind him to get him away from his son.

As a result of the hit by player, the son of coach was severely injured, and immediately taken to the hospital where they found a deep thigh bruise. Son of coach is scheduled for an MRI on his left hip, and still remains out since the Wednesday evening attack.

Player was taken to the hospital after giving his police report for possible injuries. Player was given a sling by his mother to wear on the arm that he said was sore. Player played in a game on Saturday afternoon following the Wednesday evening attack, but without a sling.

The Cudahy Police Department sought criminal charges against Mike Crawley for criminal child abuse and disorderly conduct.

According to the police report, player's mother checked with the Cudahy police on more than one occasion to ask for a status update on the case, and to inquire as to why coach Crawley had not already been arrested and placed in custody. She also asked for information about a restraining order, but she did not take any action on the restraining order at that time, nor has any been taken yet - now 7 days after the incident.

John A. Birdsall, Birdsall Law Offices, S.C.
135 W. Wells St., Ste 214, Milwaukee, WI 53203
414.831.5465 -

Friday, September 7, 2007

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