Ridiculous: Cook County judge sets $100K bail for alleged gun offender (then tells him he doesn’t really need to pay it)

Joaquin Urcino | CPD

UPDATE SEPT. 5 — There’s even more to this story. CWBChicago has now learned that Joaquin Urcino was sentenced to eight years in federal prison after he allegedly tried to shoot rival gang members in 2008. More on that development is posted here.
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A Cook County judge conjured up a Very Special bail arrangement when a six-time convicted felon appeared before her on multiple gun charges.

The man had been ordered held without bail. But after his attorney filed a motion for bail review, Judge Carol Howard reduced his bail to $100,000. Then, she told him he didn’t need to pay it and set him free on electronic monitoring.

First things first.

Generally speaking, there are three ways to get out of jail after being charged with a crime in Cook County. There’s an I-Bond, which requires no money down. There’s a D-Bond, which requires a deposit equal to 10% of the bail amount. Least common is the C-Bond, which requires 100% of the bail amount to be paid.

Then, there’s the Carol Howard special.

Around 4:30 a.m. on July 12, ShotSpotter technology detected four gunshots near the 2500 block of South Keeler in Little Village. Police say they arrived on-scene to find 47-year-old Joaquin Urcino leaning out of his home’s second floor window. Cops asked him if he had a gun with him. He reportedly admitted that he did, then he went downstairs to talk with the officers, according to his arrest report.

Police allegedly found a pistol in his back pocket during a pat-down search. Another gun and four spent casings were reportedly found inside the home near the window where officers first saw him. They say he’s a member of the Two Six street gang.

And, cops say, Urcino told them, “I fired it to get everyone’s attention.”

Urcino was charged with felony use of a firearm by a felon while on parole; felony reckless discharge of a firearm; and felony possession of a controlled substance (police said they found five grams of cocaine in his backpack).

At the time of the incident, he was on parole for driving with a revoked license after being convicted of reckless homicide. State records show he was previously sentenced to prison for six years in 2001 for shooting someone; one year for violating an order of protection in 2000; one year for narcotics in 1996; five years for possessing a stolen motor vehicle and a concurrent five years for the reckless homicide in 1991.

After his arrest last month, the Illinois Department of Corrections revoked his parole. Urcino was sent back to prison for a few weeks until he was re-paroled on Aug. 22. Standing before Judge Howard that afternoon, Urcino’s attorney asked that his bail be reduced. Howard agreed. She nixed his no-bail status and set a new bail of $100,000. Ordinarily, that would require a $10,000 deposit to secure Urcino’s release.

But that’s not what happened.

Instead, Howard put Urcino on electronic monitoring “in lieu of bond,” according to court records. She also gave him permission to travel for employment.

So, on paper, Urcino is listed as having a fairly significant $100,000 bail. In reality, though, he is free on his own recognizance.

The Cook County Sheriff’s Office confirmed Urcino’s bond arrangements. Their records actually show that he has a “remaining balance” of $10,000. But, a sheriff spokesperson said, “he did not have to pay any portion of the bail in order to be placed on electronic monitoring.”

Urcino is due back in court on Sept. 26.

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CWBChicago was created in 2013 by five residents of Wrigleyville and Boystown who had grown disheartened with inaccurate information that was being provided at local Community Policing (CAPS) meetings. Our coverage area has expanded since then to cover Lincoln Park, River North, The Loop, Uptown, and other North Side Areas. But our mission remains unchanged: To provide original public safety reporting with better context and greater detail than mainstream media outlets.