|Joaquin Urcino was sentenced to eight years in federal prison after he allegedly tried to shoot rival gang members. Federal prosecutors said he “has a predilection for violence…that he has demonstrated time and again.”|
The story of a Cook County judge who nixed a repeat gun offender’s no-bail order, set bail at $100,000, then released him without requiring that he actually pay bond is even more ridiculous than we knew.
It turns out that the defendant in the case not only has a lengthy criminal history in Illinois, but he also did eight years of federal time for being a felon in possession of a handgun.
As CWBChicago reported exclusively on Tuesday, 47-year-old Joaquin Urcino was arrested in July after prosecutors say he fired a handgun from the second floor of his home in Little Village. Cops say they found a gun in his pants pocket, another gun near a window where they saw him standing, as well as five grams of cocaine in his backpack.
A judge ordered him held without bail, but Urcino had much better luck when he appeared in front of Judge Carol Howard on Aug. 22. That’s when Howard agreed to strike the previous judge’s no-bail order and set a new bail of $100,000. Then, Howard did something special. She told Urcino that she would put him on electronic monitoring “in lieu of bond” and agreed to let him come-and-go to work, too.
The Cook County Sheriff’s Office confirmed that Urcino “did not have to pay any portion of the bail in order to be placed on electronic monitoring. ” In fact, he technically has a $10,000 balance remaining for the bail bond that Howard waived.
Howard gave Urcino the cushy arrangements even though he’s on parole for driving with a revoked license after being convicted of reckless homicide. He has also done state time for aggravated battery with a firearm, violation of an order of protection, narcotics, possession of a stolen motor vehicle, and reckless homicide. He’s a proud member of the Two Six street gang, according to multiple law enforcement officers.
Since publishing our story, CWBChicago has learned that Urcino was sentenced to eight years in federal prison after a jury convicted him of being a felon in possession of a firearm that traveled through interstate commerce.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Chicago wrote in court filings that Urcino and his girlfriend went walking in the Lawndale neighborhood on June 20, 2007. They were near an area where Two Six turf bordered rival Latin King territory.
Three members of the other gang approached the couple and an argument broke out.
At one point, Urcino pulled out a loaded .22-caliber handgun, pointed it at one of the Latin Kings, yelled “King Killer,” and pulled the trigger. The gun jammed.
“Despite fears of gang retaliation, [two] citizens contacted police because…they were concerned for the safety of the children outside playing,” federal prosecutors said.
Urcino gave the gun to his girlfriend. The couple fled in separate directions.
Cops caught up with Urcino. He tried to cut a deal during questioning: He’d give police an assault rifle if they’d let him go. Meanwhile, his girlfriend gave police permission to search the apartment the couple shared. Inside, officers found an assault rifle and a 9-millimeter handgun, federal prosecutors said.
As Urcino sat in jail, authorities recorded his outgoing phone calls as he allegedly discussed the guns and tried to get his girlfriend to lie about the case.
In a sentencing memorandum, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said Urcino “has a predilection for violence and criminal conduct that he has demonstrated time and again.”
Shortly after Urcino left federal prison, he was charged with driving on a license that was revoked after he crashed a stolen car during a high-speed chase and killed a man.
His federal supervised release was “terminated unsatisfactorily” in June 2018.
It all makes you wonder what Judge Carol Howard was thinking when she decided to set bail at $100,000 and then let Urcino go with a wink and a “you don’t really need to pay it.”