In an unorthodox legal move, a man who was allegedly shot in the legs by Thaddeus “TJ” Jimenez is suing the reputed gang leader, who already faces criminal charges from the shooting.
Jimenez, who won $25 million in a wrongful conviction lawsuit in 2012, faces criminal charges in state and federal court in connection with the Aug. 17 shooting on the Northwest Side.
Earlier this week, the alleged victim, Earl Casteel, sued Jimenez in Cook County Circuit Court, seeking at least $50,000 in damages.
“The shooting occurred during the middle of the day, in broad daylight, while our client was visiting a friend with his child, on a residential street in the Albany Park neighborhood,” said Kevin O’Brien, one of Casteel’s attorneys.
Police say Jimenez and another man, Jose Roman, were both armed when they approached Casteel on a Northwest Side street. Jimenez allegedly shot Casteel in both legs because he refused to rejoin the Simon City Royals, prosecutors said.
Jimenez tossed the pistol he used in the shooting after he fled from police in a Mercedes, police said. He and Roman have been charged with aggravated battery and weapons charges in state court — and illegal gun possession in federal court.
Casteel, a 33-year-old convicted felon and former member of the Simon City Royals, is no longer involved in criminal activity, said Judson Graham, another one of his attorneys.
“He has lived a pretty simple life since getting himself out of trouble,” Graham said.
The lawsuit filed Monday sends a message to Jimenez that he can lose everything he owns — in addition to facing the possibility of prison — for shooting someone, Graham said.
“For Mr. Jimenez, his actions have put him in a position where we or someone else will separate him from his assets for his behavior,” he said.
Casteel, who is using a wheelchair as he recovers from surgery to his legs, is willing to testify against Jimenez in criminal court, Graham said.
“Our client is dumbstruck by the audacity of this guy to pull a gun and shoot him in both of his legs,” he said.
Jimenez, 36, of Des Plaines, was released from prison in 2009 after serving 16 years for a murder he says he did not commit. A federal jury awarded him $25 million in his lawsuit against the city in 2012.
He was imprisoned at age 13 for allegedly killing a 19-year-old on the Northwest Side in 1993.
Since his release from prison, he’s been convicted of two drug felonies. Police said he bought a stable of cars, including Bentleys and Lamborghinis, and used his fortune to recruit members to his gang.
But he recently told federal authorities that his lawyers took half of his $25 million judgment and he currently doesn’t have any asset. The judge presiding over his federal case said he doubted that.