Prosecutors reject carjacking charges, leading a misdemeanor court judge to ask why: ‘The facts of this case sound much more like an aggravated vehicular hijacking’

After hearing a prosecutor detail the allegations against a man who was being charged with misdemeanor criminal trespass to a vehicle on Thursday morning, Cook County Judge Barbara Dawkins was curious.

“Is there a reason this defendant is coming though misdemeanor bond court as opposed to felony bond court?” she asked.

An assistant state’s attorney told her that the Cook County State’s Attorney’s felony review office had “rejected” carjacking charges.

“The facts of this case sound much more like an aggravated vehicular hijacking than a criminal trespass to motor vehicle,” Dawkins said later. “Nonetheless, we’re here in misdemeanor bond court.”

The defendant in the case is Trevale Robinson, 32.

Trevale Robinson | IDOC

He’s currently on parole for a pair of nine-year sentences he received for two counts of home invasion causing injury in 2016. He previously received a 10-year sentence for carjacking in 2009 and a 7-year sentence for narcotics distribution that same year.

Around 10 p.m. Tuesday, a woman was in a parking lot in the 3600 block of West Congress when another woman approached and began arguing with her, according to CPD records. During the argument, the offender punched the victim in her face, causing her to drop her phone and car keys, prosecutors said.

At that point, Robinson approached the victim from behind and took her keys and phone while displaying a gun, the assistant state’s attorney told Dawkins. The victim allegedly saw Robinson get into her car and drive away.

When cops located the car via OnStar, Robinson was driving it, prosecutors said. The police arrested him.

But, the state’s attorney’s felony review unit rejected vehicular hijacking charges. Instead, Robinson is charged with a misdemeanor.

Despite the lightweight charge, Dawkins handed down heavyweight bail: $80,000 plus electronic monitoring. Robinson must post 10% of the bail amount to go home on an ankle monitor.

Dawkins explained why she set such a high bail for a misdemeanor: “I’m looking at the actual facts of the case. I’m looking at this defendant’s background. I’m looking at the alleged violence that was perpetrated upon the complaining witness.”

Robinson is due back in court on June 9.

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