Bridgeview Courthouse the Site of Two Recent Gun Incidents
Two recent gun-related incidents have caused serious security concerns at the 5th District’s Cook County Bridgeview Courthouse. While the first incident involved only a painful error by an officer exiting the courthouse, the second involved an attempt to bring a loaded gun into the busy courthouse.
Earlier in 2016, a Chicago police officer was at the Bridgeview Courthouse when a malfunctioning alarm sounded, nevertheless prompting evacuation of the building. While the evacuation was ongoing, the officer took his service weapon out of a storage locker. When doing so, the weapon fired, hitting the officer in the leg. He was taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
Later that month, 47-year-old Denise Smith attempted to enter the courthouse with a concealed, loaded revolver. Smith, reportedly entering the Bridgeview Courthouse to observe her son’s criminal trial, attempted to go through the metal detector, which sounded as she walked through. The officer who patted her down found the small revolver strapped to Smith’s ankle. Smith failed to possess a concealed carry license, or a FOID (Firearm Owner Identification) card, which all Illinois residents must carry while in possession of a gun. She claimed that the weapon was given to her by her father for protection, and that she had simply forgotten she was carrying the weapon when she went to the courthouse. Smith was subsequently arraigned on charges for aggravated use of an unlawful weapon on government-supported property.
Courthouses are intended to be highly secure locations. Carefully checking for weapons among those who visit a courthouse is a critical duty of law enforcement overseeing courtroom security. While only a small number of individuals making court appearances on criminal matters are actually dangerous, appearances in court are essentially the only time individuals in custody are not being held behind bars. As a result, keeping a courthouse free of weapons is a high priority for law enforcement, and attempts to bring any type of weapon or even something that may be considered to be a weapon, have been met with harsh punishment by officials. If you are accustomed to carrying a weapon, even if you have a conceal and carry permit, and are planning to attend any matter at the Bridgeview Courthouse, avoid incurring criminal charges by making sure you leave such items at home.
If you or someone you love is facing a criminal matter before a judge at the Bridgeview Courthouse, make sure that your rights are protected and that you receive the best possible result by finding a Cook County defense attorney with your best interests at heart, and contact Bridgeview and Markham area criminal defense lawyer John Fairman based in Homewood and Oak Lawn for a consultation on your case, at 708-799-4848.