Houman Fakhimi

Aleman v. Village of Hanover Park Highlights Need for Aggressive Irvine Criminal Defense

A recent case out of Illinois shows just how devastating bad police work can be on a defendant charged with murder. We bring this up because it's possible that something like it could happen to anyone, including a person charged with murder in Irvine, sex crimes in Newport Beach or other felony crimes.

In Aleman v. Village of Hanover Park, a man who ran a day care out of his home was charged with murder after police not only did a bad job, but also covered up key facts that would show his innocence during the investigation.

Cases like these reinforce to our Irvine criminal defense lawyers the notion that not all police officers can be trusted. While many do their jobs well, other investigators simply break rules because of the desire to make an arrest. In some cases, that desire is put ahead of upholding suspects' rights, which can lead to dropped charges and not-guilty verdicts.

Aleman ran a daycare service out of his home. At the time of this case in 2005, he had done so for about five months. But the man also had five children ages 3 to 15 at the time, so he was equipped to watch children.

On the September day in question, a mother dropped off her 11-month-old son at the house and he was feverish and lethargic. Not long after being dropped off, the boy began gasping for air and collapsed. Aleman attempted CPR, but wasn't able to help. An ambulance took the boy to the hospital, where he died four days later.

When police arrived at the house that day, they asked Aleman and his wife to come to the station for questioning. He agreed. After 45 minutes sitting in an interrogation room alone, he asked if he could leave and return in an hour. They told him no, that he was under arrest. After five hours, they finally came in the room to talk with him.

He said he wanted to talk to a lawyer and they permitted the call, but began preparing a waiver of rights form. His lawyer told him not to give a statement and the man relayed that to police. But they kept asking. He made several more calls and again to a lawyer. Eventually, he relented and talked with detectives for four hours.

In that conversation, according to court documents, the man admitted, sheepishly, to maybe shaking the baby after detectives told him he was the only one who could have shaken the boy after they spoke to three medical experts, which was a lie.

The man was arrested with aggravated battery of a child, which was upgraded to murder after the boy died. But it became obvious in short order just how poor a job these officers did. One officer knew that the boy's mother had a violent history, including convictions, had been known to shake the boy and made comments about not wanting him, covered that up. He told her not to talk to other investigators who were working the case.

A medical examiner ruled that based on the injuries, the boy must have been harmed before the date in question, but she changed her opinion after that officer told he the boy had no health problems that morning. She changed it back after realizing she had been lied to.

Eventually, the charges against the man were dropped. But, this episode may have destroyed his business and caused many problems for him in the community. It is a travesty and one that could easily have been avoided with sound police work.

Contact Houman Fakhimi trial attorney at (714) 705-6701 as soon as possible if you are charged with a crime. Protecting your rights and setting up an aggressive defense at the beginning stages is critical in defending against criminal charges.