Teens Trash Ex-NFL Player’s House During Wild Party

Brian Holloway’s home in upstate New York was the scene of a pretty wild party over Labor Day weekend, but there was one really big problem – Holloway wasn’t there.

Holloway, a former left tackle for the New England Patriots and Oakland Raiders, spends most of his post-NFL days at his residence in Florida, but he also owns a vacation home in Stephentown, New York. Holloway was in Florida when an estimated 300 teens broke into his vacation home and used it to throw a huge rager.

After breaking into the residence, the teens engaged in illicit behavior, including drinking alcohol, smoking marijuana, theft and property damage. According to Holloway’s estimate, the teens caused over $20,000 in damages.

‘They all committed a crime,” said Holloway. ‘There are going to be repercussions that will be significant for some and infinitely significant for others.”

HelpMeSave300.com

Holloway said he didn’t realize how many people were inside his house until pictures and tweets started circulating on social media. You can see some of the pictures from the party, and the resulting damage, below.

window dumbkid
cleanup trashIn an attempt to identify the teens and teach them a lesson, Holloway created the website HelpMeSave300.com. The website, aimed at identifying the perpetrators in order to educate them about the dangers of alcohol and drugs, features multiple pictures and screenshots of individuals who claim to have been at the party.

Holloway used his site to invite the teenagers who trashed his place back to the home to help clean it up. Only four teens showed up to help.

Holloway said he tried to reach out to the teens and to their parents, but they have refused to accept responsibility for their actions. Three weeks after the incident, Holloway has decided to press charges.

”Everyone that broke the law, I’m pressing charges against,” Holloway told The Associated Press. ”The parents had a chance and students had chance to come forward, and only four did.”

Surprisingly, Holloway isn’t the only one seeking legal action. Some of the teens’ parents have threatened Holloway with a lawsuit for posting pictures and Tweets on his website.

Sean Sullivan comments

My guess is some of these kids or their parents were known to Mr. Holloway and I applaud his efforts to post these pictures online in an attempt to resolve this matter without resorting to full legal means. I handle plenty of disputes between neighbors or once-close friends in civil litigation matters. I always do my best to attempt to resolve these disputes short of filing a full on lawsuit. Litigation is expensive and unpredictable. I find that I can best serve my client and reach a reasonable resolution to their cases by settling out of court.

Mr. Holloway has simply tried to do that himself here with this unique idea of posting the pictures. Sadly, sometimes the other side is unreasonable and refuses to resolve a situation, and you are left with no choice but to sue them, or in Mr. Holloway’s case, file criminal charges.

Related sources: Fox Sports, Dailymail.co.uk, NY Daily News

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Changes Would Impact Family Law in Illinois

CC image Wikipedia.orgThis post was written by Sean Sullivan, head of the Family Law department at Appelman & Associates. Sean is committed to providing his clients with the best representation in a variety of civil matters. For more information about Sean, check out his bio or give him a call at (630) 717-7801.

House Bill 1452 is up for consideration in Springfield in this fall’s veto session. It is the culmination of decades-long suggestions by practicing family law attorneys to enact changes to Illinois Law to reflect the changing culture of today’s families. If this bill passes, there are several significant points of law that will greatly impact the practice of family law going forward, including:

  • Grounds for Divorce – This is one of the most significant changes that this bill encompasses. No longer would there be any grounds for divorce other than irreconcilable differences. Gone are the days when one party could gain an upper hand against the other by alleging their spouse is at “fault” for causing the divorce through infidelity or by inflicting mental cruelty. Currently, irreconcilable differences is really the only reason cited when filing for dissolution of marriage – this bill would simply incorporate a law that has, for the most part, already been enacted.
  • Custody or Visitation – These terms would be thrown out the window and replaced by the term “parental responsibilities.” This is simply a change in terminology. The concept of custody and visitation will remain the same.
  • Presumption of Residential Parenting Time – Unless proven otherwise, as a matter of law, both parents will be allocated no less than a 35% split in parenting time.
  • Parenting Plan – Divorcing spouses with children will now be required to file with the court a copy of a parenting plan within 90 days of filing for a divorce. This is a huge change from the current state of affairs in which joint parenting agreements are always required to be filed, but not within any specific timed deadline. This will force divorcing spouses and their lawyers to work together quicker to resolve parenting issues.

These are only some of the major changes being proposed by House Bill 1452. This list only highlights the issues that would impact the majority of typical divorce cases we handle at Appelman and Associates LLC. There are still many other changes that are being proposed that may apply to your divorce case.

Family law is growing more complex than ever, and the law may be changing. If you are contemplating a divorce or need help with child custody issues, you should consult us so that we can help you navigate through your divorce.

Alleged Rapist, Murderer Released after Prosecution Drops Charges

CC image Wikipedia.orgTwo Illinois men, one serving time on a rape charge, the other serving 82 years for his role in a fatal shooting, were released from prison Tuesday after prosecutors dropped the charges against both men.

Carl Chatman and Lathierial Boyd were ordered to be released immediately after deeper investigations into their cases revealed that there was a strong likelihood the men were innocent.

Sound Familiar?

Rape is one of the most heinous crimes a person can commit, and oftentimes these trials come down to a “he said, she said” argument. In the case of Carl Chatman, a homeless man with a history of mental illness, the jury chose to believe the story of the alleged victim, even though there was no physical evidence to tie him to the crime.

Although the victim said Chatman sexually assaulted her, authorities never found any DNA or evidence of sexual assault on the victim, and nobody reported seeing the man in the building where the alleged attack took place. Authorities caught a break in the case when Chatman admitted to committing the crime, but doctors who analyzed the homeless man said he suffered from schizophrenia and had a low IQ, which made him susceptible to providing a false confession.

What’s disturbing about the case is what was later uncovered by a deeper investigation. It was revealed that the rape claim came only weeks after the victim was served an audit by the IRS, and Chatman’s attorney said the victim also had thousands of dollars in casino losses.

“There was no rape. This never happened,” said Russell Ainsworth, who represented Chatman during his appeal. “This was fabricated by a vindictive woman who did this for monetary gain.”

In fact, this wasn’t the first time the woman claimed to be raped by someone who had little means to defend themselves. The woman claimed a janitor raped her in 1979, and the similarities between the alleged assaults are striking. In both cases:

  • The victim arrived at work early in order to take care of some extra business.
  • She claims a man threatened her with a weapon (in one case, a scissors, in the other, a knife) when she was alone at the office.
  • The defendants said they believed the allegations were motivated by money.
  • The victim sued for monetary damages after the criminal charges were brought.

In the 1979 claim, the victim was a Polish national who fled the United States before his trial. Before leaving, he penned a note to the judge, strongly asserting his innocence. He claimed he only fled because he could not possibly raise the money that would be required to defend himself in court, and he said he believed the claim was an attempt by the victim to get a quick paycheck.

“If she only made this whole thing up to make some money, she should earn money honestly and not like this,” the janitor’s letter said.

The woman later reached a settlement with the county building commission and a private security firm that was tasked with guarding the building during the first assault. One of the defense attorneys who worked on the case said his team concluded the woman made a false accusation, but they were never able to prove it.

Ainsworth said the second rape charge should have raised many red flags when it was first brought to court.

“It just seemed odd that both rapes were under almost identical circumstances,” he said.

Who Pulled the Trigger?

Lathieral Boyd was sentenced to 82 years in prison in 1990 after a jury ruled he killed one man and injured another over a drug debt. The strongest evidence against Boyd was provided by the wounded man, who initially told police he didn’t know who shot him, but later changed his story and said it was Boyd.

Furthermore, when Boyd was placed in a police lineup, none of the nine witnesses identified Boyd as the shooter. He claimed he was at his sister’s home watching a basketball game at the time of the shooting, and both his sister and a Cook County sheriff’s deputy testified to Boyd’s presence at the home, yet the jury still convicted him.

Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez said the decision to vacate the conviction was due in large part to a separate investigation launched by the Conviction Integrity Unit, which works to reverse wrongful convictions.

“Above all else, our work as prosecutors is about seeking justice even if that measure of justice means that we must acknowledge failures of the past,” she said.

Sean Sullivan comments

What troubles me most about the cases is the startling lack of evidence in them. I am at a loss to understand how the cases were brought in the first place. Reasonable doubt is a term everyone knows from television and movies, but I do not think people truly know what it means in the context of a criminal trial. It means if there is any reason or uncertainty as to any fact proving someone is guilty of a crime, then the case should be dismissed. In these cases, there seems to multiple instances of reasonable doubt.

Particularly so in the case of Mr. Boyd. He should have been cleared as a suspect early in the investigation such that his case should never have gone to trial. He had a solid alibi confirmed by credible witnesses, and was never identified by any witness despite participating in multiple lineups. It is awful to think that innocent men can be imprisoned.

Related source: Chicago Tribune