Lawyers for Howard Morgan presented arguments to Judge Clayton Crane on Oct. 19 to dismiss all charges against their client, who was shot 28 times on Feb. 21, 2005, by four Chicago Police officers at a stop sign in the Lawndale neighborhood. Morgan was accused of going the wrong way on a one-way street. The four police officers testified that, during the altercation, Morgan shot at them and Morgan testified he never shot a firearm at all.
Morgan’s lawyers, retired judge Leo Holt, Sam Adam and Sam Adam Jr. presented their motion based on the Constitution’s fifth and 14th amendments and the Illinois Constitution, Article One, sections 2,8, 10, and 13, and Illinois Revised Statutes, 2007. Morgan was charged with four counts of attempted first degree murder, and three counts of aggravated battery.
On May 11, 2007, in three separate verdicts, the jury found Morgan not guilty of three counts Aggravated Battery with a Firearm against the police officers. During the trial, as a result of problems with deliberations, Judge Crane finally polled each juror. But the four counts of attempted first degree murder have yet to be decided, and prosecutors plan to try Morgan on those counts.
During the lawyers’ motion to dismiss, they cited numerous case law and stated that a new trial would violate Morgan’s constitutional rights to be free from being twice tried on the same offenses. They also say that if he was found not guilty of aggravated battery with a firearm, he couldn’t be guilty of attempted murder.
Judge Clayton Crane denied without explanation the motion to dismiss. The next court date will be Tuesday, Nov. 13 at 26th & California, Room 201.
Rosalind Morgan, Howard’s wife, says their faith has sustained them throughout the ordeal. Mrs. Morgan, however, said she has been disappointed with some in the religious community for not reaching out to them. A very religious family, Mrs. Morgan’s father is a bishop and her sister, Pastor Bensa, leads The Church of The Living God at 1738 W. Marquette Rd.
“I often wonder where are the ministers. Our family would certainly reach out to any religious denomination if they were going through what my family is,” Rosalind said, adding, “My husband was shackled to his hospital bed for six months, he was shot 28 times, he was made to sleep on the floor at the Cook County Dept. of Corrections despite the tremendous pain, our van he was driving that night was destroyed by the city and personal belongings were destroyed, we had a witness who was so afraid she was missing for months. During the trial it was noted no gun residue was ever found on Howard’s hands, yet they claim he fired a gun. I must keep God in my heart because I know an injustice anywhere is an injustice everywhere.”
The Morgans were honored on Oct. 13 with the Human Rights Award by the National Alliance Against Racist & Political Repression/Chicago Branch. Keynote speaker for the event was Cynthia McKinney, former congresswoman from Georgia. Also awarded the Human Rights Award at the event were Gloria Johnson-Ester and Virginia Clements, mothers who are fighting for justice for their incarcerated sons. Montell Johnson, son of Gloria, is allegedly being denied proper health care for his chronic progressive multiple sclerosis and dementia. Mark Clements, son of Virginia, has been in prison for 26 years, for a crime his mother and others say he did not commit. Awards also went to Dr. Connie Mennella and Mary Muse who are Correctional Health Care champions.
Howard Morgan said he was elated to receive this honor and attributes this recognition to his wife, two daughters and his entire family. “I’m a lucky man to have the tremendous support from my family. I don’t think I could have survived without them, especially Rosalind my wife.”