When I start working on a case, the first thing I do is question everything. Could a witness really have seen what he says he saw? Did a witness send text messsages that contradict the story he told police officers? The examination of facts should never end with the evidence provided by the opposing side. Leave no stone unturned. I apply this approach to every case I work on, whether it is a felony criminal case or an eviction.
I have experience handling a wide variety of matters including civil, criminal, and transactional. I have tried numerous cases to verdict or disposition including city of Chicago ordinance violation hearings, misdemeanor bench and jury trials, civil trials, and felony bench and jury trials (DUI, aggravated battery, attempted murder, murder, etc.).
People v. L.R
Charge: Attempted Murder
Verdict: Not Guilty
Our client was charged with attempted murder after he defended himself against a former tenant who attacked him. At trial, we cross examined the alleged victim and his daughter, who had different stories of where the fight happened, and who both testified that the alleged victim started the fight. We also presented character evidence that the alleged victim was the aggressor and that he bore a grudge against our client for evicting him ten tears ago. The judge agreed that the victim started the fight and simply lost the fight; he found our client not guilty.
People v. N.H.
Charge: First Degree Murder
Verdict: Not Guilty
Our client was charged with first degree murder after a man stepped out of a truck and shot another man on the Southwest side of Chicago. Our client was charged after 4 witnesses who were with the victim identified our client as the shooter. Facing life in prison, we decided to have a jury trial. At trial, we showed that the eyewitneses had conflicting accounts of the incident and the identifications of the shooter were based on seeing our client at a nearby restaurant several minutes before the shooting. Using surveillance videos from the restaurant, we showed that our client did not match the description of the shooter, but also that there was another vehicle in the area around the time of the shooting that matched the description of the vehicle the shooter was driving. We also presented an expert in gang actvity who testified about several key pieces of evidence that nobody else could explain. The jury found our client not guilty.
People v. W.G.
Charge: Possession of a controlled substance and delivery of a controlled substance
Our client was charged with selling cocaine to an confidential informant. The police gave the informant money and sent him/her into our client's apartment complex to buy cocaine from our client on three different dates. After the third alleged buy, the police arrested our client and charged him with selling the cocaine to the informant. Our client maintained that he never sold anything to the informant but he had no way to prove it. Villalobos & Associates investigated and saw that our client posted a picture of himself and his girlfriend on a date on one of the dates and times that the informant was supposedly buying cocaine from him. He also produced the GPS data from the picture that proved that he took the picture using his phone far away from where the alleged buy occured. This evidence completely destroyed the informant's credibility and the state had no choice but to dismiss the delivery charges.
People v. H.S.
Charge: Possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver
Verdict: Not Guilty
Our client was charged with possession of 200 pounds of marijuana in his car. A police officer testified that he was parked and saw our client meet with another person in his car parked in a parking lot across the street from the officer. We rented the same car the same car driven by our client, parked it in the same spot in the parking lot, and hired an investigator to take pictures from where the officer said he was parked. At trial, the investigator presented the pictures that showed that tall bushes and a fence made it next to impossible for the officer to have seen what he claimed he saw. The prosecutor tried to introduce Google maps photos that did not show any bushes but we rebutted by accessing Google maps that were back-dated to the month of the incident that showed that the bushes were just as high as the day when we took our pictures. The client was found not guilty.
People v. Z.M.
Charge: Possession of Controlled Substance
Verdict: Not guilty
My client as charged with possession of a blunt after police found one in an alley near my client. At the hearing, the judge found that there were other people in the alley and there was no way to know how long the blunt was in the alley or who threw it there so our client was not guilty.
People v. E.D.
Charge: DUI/Reckless Driving
Verdict: Not guilty
Our client was charged with DUI after Chicago police pulled him over for having a broken tail light and he admitted to the police that he drank 6 beers. His truck was towed and he was charged over $2000 in towing fines and fees, which he had to pay to get his truck back. The police said that he failed the field sobrietyt tests but his breathalyzer only showed a BAC of .05- under the legal limit. First, we demanded a hearing and the city had to pay him back the towing fees and fines. Next, we demanded trial and the state dismissed the DUI charge but charged him with reckless driving. At trial, I cross examined the officer who testified that my client did not commit any moving violations, did not show any signs of impairment, and that he drank the 6 beers over 6 hours. I argued that under Illinois law, there is a legal presumption that you are not under the influence of alcohol if you have a BAC of .05 or under. The judge agreed and found my client not guilty.
People v. C.B.
Charge: Aggravated Unlawful Use of a Weapon
Verdict: Motion to suppress granted, state dismissed the case
Our client was charged with a felony charge of having a gun. Chicago Police knocked down the door to my client's house and claimed they found an assault rifle. After listening to the 911 calls and the policce dispatch recordings, we filed a motion to suppress the evidence - the gun. At the hearing, the police officers testified that they saw my client carry a gun to the basement of the house. However, we presented photos of the house that showed there were no basement windows and played the Chicago Police dispatch recording that showed that our cleint didn't even match the description of the person who allegedly had gun. the judge granted our motion and the state had no choice but to dismiss its case.
People v. L.J and F.J.
Charge: Domestic battery
Verdict: Not guilty
Two men were charged with pushing a woman outside of a bar then pushing her out of a moving car. At trial, careful cross examination of the alleged victim and a witness revealed that the supposed victim started the fight, then chased people into a car and was trying to pull them out when she fell. When the state rested its case, we argued that the state failed to even present a prima facie case. The judge agreed and our clients were found not guilty.
TNT v. M.V.
Our client was being evicted after her landlord lost the building to foreclosure. She was late to court and the bank obtained a judgment agianst her. After hiring us, we vacated the judgement and filed a motion to dismiss the eviction under the Keep Chicago Renting and Illinois Tenants in Foreclosed Buildings laws. Because the bank did not comply with those laws, the bank dismissed the case and our client and her family were able to stay in the apartment long enough to buy their own house.
R.B and R.M. v. ESP
A landlord refused to give back a security deposit to a tenant who moved out of an apartment. Under the Chicago Residential Landlord Tenant Ordinance, there are very strict rules for security deposits when the landlord does not live in the property. When we demanded that the landlord return the security deposit, he claimed that the ordinance did not apply to him because he lived in a basement apartment in the building. To prove that he could not possibly live there, I drove to the building and took photos of the property, I obtained records from the City showing that there was not an apartment in the basement, and that there was no way one could even be legal. The landlord ultimately gave back the money plus damages.
Landlord tenant disputes
Breach of contract
Small business disputes and organization
Northern District of Illinois
University of Illinois (B.A. French)
Chicago Kent College of Law (Juris Doctor)