Thursday, January 5, 2012

Report From 23rd District Court Advocates

photo of Cook County Courthouse courtesy of Flickr
We got some good news from the court advocates today:

"I don't know if many of your readers recall the case of Joseph Mbatchou, but there was a court decision today which made us really happy.  Mr. Mbatchou attacked a young woman in the ladies' room at Foster Avenue Beach in 2010.  He was on trial for Attempted Aggravated Criminal Sexual Assault with Bodily Harm.  Court advocates from the 20th District (where the crime occurred) and/or the 23rd District (where Mr. Mbatchou lived, at the now-closed REST Shelter) attended every court date at 26th & Cal for the past 15 months.

The usual sentence for this charge is 4 to 15 years, but because Mr. Mbatchou had a previous felony conviction for a burglary in Arlington Heights, he became eligible for a sentence of up to 30 years.  Rather than risk a trial, he agreed to a plea bargain sentence of 20 years behind bars.  He's already served 472 days in Cook County Jail awaiting a decision, so he will receive credit toward his sentence on time served.

Although it was a plea bargain, States Attorney Joy Repella went over the facts of the case in open court to read into the record what she would have said had there been a trial.  On September 21, 2010, Mr. Mbatchou followed a young woman into the ladies' room at Foster Avenue Beach.  He punched her, threw her to the ground so that her head hit the concrete floor, took her into a stall, and when she yelled for help, he choked her.

As she was beginning to pass out, the owner of the concession stand at Foster Avenue Beach ran into the bathroom because he had heard her screams.  He pulled Mr. Mbatchou off the victim.  Several other people heard the victim screaming and called 911, then remained at the scene so they could give their statements to the police.  One of them followed Mr. Mbatchou on his bike and pointed him out to the police.  When officers apprehended him, he told them that he was a Secret Service agent.  He also told the police, 'All I wanted to do was fuck the bitch, but she wouldn't cooperate.'  (I know those are ugly words, and I hesitated to include them, but it was an ugly crime.)

Through the pre-trial process, there were extensive DNA tests done on the clothes Mr. Mbatchou was wearing, and the blood on those clothes matched that of the victim.  He was also given psychiatric evaluations and was found to be sane, but his attorney pointed out that he had been ruled mentally ill in the past.  Judge Joseph Kazmierski asked Mr. Mbatchou if he had anything to say, and he apologized.  The judge said that in the event there are problems with Mr. Mbatchou's immigration status (he is originally from Nigeria), there is a possibility that he could be deported after having served his sentence.

The victim was in court today for the sentencing, and seemed upbeat and personable.  The court system provided a victim advocate for her, who was also there.  While it's a shame that she had to go through this, she said later that she would sleep well tonight knowing that her ordeal was over.

Good job to all involved, especially to those who rescued her; to those witnesses who provided the facts and were willing to testify if a trial had been held; to the victim for being willing to go through the court process; and to Joy Repella of the Northside Community Justice Center for her prosecution of the case.  I will be buying a lot of concessions at Foster Avenue Beach this summer to say 'thank you' to the owner!"

Uptown Update's coverage of the case is here.

Update:  The Tribune covered the story as well. So did CBS2 Chicago.


  1. OK. I know I won't be able to post what I really want here, but this guy is the biggest POS ever.

    I personally think the punishment should be more severe.... live removal of certain male parts.

    I am glad the victim can finally get some peace, and thanks to the court advocates.

  2. A huge thanks to the court advocates for putting in the time that the rest of us can't or won't. Great job by the vendor as well, a perfect example of how all of us need to react in times of crisis. Calling 911 immediately and giving a thorough description helps but intervening can save a crime from happening. I can't stress it enough, carry pepper spray at ALL times at the very least. Learn self-defense (such as MMA or Krav Maga) and carry other legal non-lethal weapons at the very most.

    Living in Uptown it might be a terrible and paranoid mindset to have but I consider almost anyone a potential threat. Stay alert especially at night. If your a guy, never let a female walk alone at night, not even 2 blocks to the L or out to her car in front of your place. When my sister lived in Uptown as well, I'd hear stories from her ALL the time about being cat-called and harassed during the day with people around!! So despite what anyone may say, I think females are at an even higher risk around here so keep on your toes.

  3. On another note, can you imagine being in a position where you are agreeing to 20 years in prison because it is a better deal for you? That would suck. Looking at a maximum of 30, why take the 20 year plea? I think I might take my chances at trial. You life is going to be over anyway. What's another ten years?

    Crazy shit.

    It is just a thought....I guess this is the liberal coming out in me. No offense to anybody.

  4. His former residence is certainly not a shocker.

  5. I plan on spending $$ at the Foster Ave. concession every chance I get. Talk about stepping up to the plate and protecting the community ! And follow the advice given by UptownAction, use pepperspray made by DefTec(Defense Technology) or Fox. It works.