Status Hearing August 6

The hearing began with the prosecution stating that they had filed the Fourth Supplemental Answer to Discovery (the long form answer) and that most of the remaining discovery has been tendered to the defense. This discovery includes the results of the handwriting and fingerprint analyses. The State is still awaiting one report from the FBI’s Regional Computer Forensic Laboratory (RCFL), which should be ready by this Friday. The other report was peer-reviewed and submitted to them, so they passed that on to the defense. The defense acknowledged the receipt of all the information submitted to them since the last status hearing.

The prosecution also reported to the judge that they had contacted the Chicago Police Department about additional reports that had been created about the searches of apartments in the same building as the apartment that had been raided when two of the defendants were arrested. The CPD claimed that no additional reports were created, so the prosecution said that there was nothing else to provide to the defense. Additionally, the prosecution said that all the contact cards that had been created about people questioned by the police had been tendered to the defense already and that there were no additional cards to tender.

The prosecution then said that they wanted to take photographs of all the defendants’ tattoos, as was their right to do. The defense strongly objected to this request since the tattoos were not relevant to the charges against the defendants, some of them had received tattoos during the time they have been incarcerated pending trial, and the relevance of any tattoos would be hard to show since it may be unclear which tattoos they had when. While the defense acknowledged the judge’s discretion in approving this request, they reserved their rights to contest the relevance and admissibility of these photographs if the order was granted. In response, the prosecution said they have the right to photograph the tattoos and do not need to know whether they would use them or how, although they would give the defense notice of their intent to use to photographs if they decide to do so. The judge granted the request and the photographs were scheduled to be taken in the holding area of the courtroom after the next hearing so the defense attorneys could be present. The judge also reminded the prosecution that the rules of evidence and sanctions for violations of these rules apply.

The judge then discussed a form he wanted each defendant’s lawyers to fill out and the prosecution to fill out for each defendant to ensure there was no confusion about any of the charges against the defendants or the potential sentences that could result from conviction. The judge ordered these to be filled out by the next status hearing and shared among all the lawyers on both sides, although they do not need to be filed on the record. These forms will specify the defendant’s name, each charge facing the defendant, the statutory citation for each charge, the statutory citation for the sentencing range for each charge, whether these sentences should be served consecutively or concurrently, whether any of the sentences are eligible for probation, any lesser included offenses for each charge, and any charges outside of this case that the defendants are facing in any jurisdiction. [The judge listed several other elements that should be included but we were not able to write them all down. – ed.]

Finally, the judge talked with the defense and prosecution to lay out this trial schedule:

  • Sept. 3: Next status hearing
  • Oct. 1: Discovery deadline
  • Oct. 15: Deadline for responses to discovery issues
  • Oct. 29: Deadline for submitting motions in limine
  • Nov. 12: Deadline for responses to these motions in limine
  • Nov. 26: Deadlines for submitting exhibit lists and trial briefs
  • Dec. 10: Final pre-trial conference
  • Jan. 6, 2014: Trial

The judge said that this schedule will remain in effect even if the trial date gets changed (there was still one unresolved scheduling matter with one of the defense attorneys at the time of this hearing).