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Hearsay Keeps Gangland Killer Behind Bars

The hearsay of fellow gang bangers is enough to keep a convicted killer behind bars, according to a majority of First District Appellate Court judges, who upheld a 2010 jury verdict that hinged on their testimony. While no member of the Two-Six street gang saw Dennis Jaimes fire at two members of a rival gang, they testified his behavior before and after led them to believe he committed the crime that left William Diaz dead on a Chicago street corner. Only at trial did the member of the Latin Kings who dodged a bullet in the attack also finger Jaimes as the gunman.

After Cook County Associate Judge Domenica Stephenson rejected a request for the pattern jury instructions that would have absolved him of the murder charge, the panel failed to find Jaimes guilty of firing the gun that killed Diaz. Along with statements made by his cohorts that cops would charge them if they refused to cooperate, Jaimes appealed the verdict citing the co-conspirators exception to the hearsay rule. Appellate judges split on affirming the conviction, with Justice Robert Gordon writing that confusion among jury members expressed in a series of notes to the bench during deliberation was enough to merit a retrial.