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Category Archives: Criminal Defense

Standards-Setting Appeal on Plain Error Fails in 7th Circuit

A federal appeals court denied a bid by a convicted murderer to rescind the confession that put him in prison or 96 months on a weapons charge. Charles Williams asked judges in the US Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit to set a new standard for plain-error review in light of a 2019 US… Read More »

Federal Judge Cites Probable Cause in Upholding Investigative Alerts

Failure to include more than his own case in a Civil Rights claim over the legality of the Chicago Police Department’s investigative alert policy isn’t enough to prove that cops acted maliciously when the arrested Robert Taylor on weapons charges in 2011. This according to a ruling in US District Court that deemed the CPD’s… Read More »

Judge Sides With Jury in CPD Civil Rights Case

A man who claims Chicago cops detained him illegally can move to collect $750,000 in damages after a judge in federal court said the determination of witness credibility lied with the jury that rendered the verdict in his civil rights claim. In denying a motion to dismiss the case as a matter of law, US… Read More »

Heck Rules in 7th Circuit Habeas Corpus Claim

An exonerated man’s pursuit of the Peoria cops who framed him for double murder will move forward after judges in federal appeals court said his civil rights claims for damages fell within a two-year filing window allowed him under  habeus corpus rules. Johnnie Lee Savory spent three decades behind bars after being convicted as 14-year-old for the 1977… Read More »

Judicial Missteps Mean Resentencing for Former Chicago Cop

A bent cop who saw bids for a reduction in jail time denied in district court will be resentenced thanks to a ruling that revives an appeal over changes that affect his case. Former Chicago Police Department Officer Alex Guerrero, who got almost 20 years for faking busts and turning the recoverd dope and guns… Read More »

No Class Actions for Undocumented CPD Detentions

A federal judge has ruled that those improperly detained at a notorious Chicago Police Department facility may not band together to sue the city. US District Judge Robert Dow said a pair of class actions involving the CPD’s Homan Square center failed to satisfy procedural guidelines around the certification of grouped complaints. Home to SWAT,… Read More »

Procedural Error Stays Ruling in Warrantless Search Appeal

Prosecutors seeking to pin weapons offenses on a Chicago man will have to content themselves with convictions for motor vehicle violations after judges in the 1st District Appellate Court ruled that cops failed to follow procedure when searching a car where a gun was found. Cops never asked Terrence Davis for proof of insurance after… Read More »

Era of Legal Weed Opens with Pot Pardons

More than 11,000 residents saw their records cleared of convictions for minor marijuana offenses as Illinois became the 11th state to legalize recreational use of the drug. Officials from the city and state gathered on New Year’s Day at a church on Chicago’s South Side to celebrate the end of what Gov. J.B. Pritzker called… Read More »

Split Ruling Highlights Conditions and Cautions in Terry Stops

A divided appeals panel cited common sense and Constitutional scholarship in upholding the conviction of a Chicago man for unlawful use of a weapon. Steven Spain was collared in a Terry Stop by cops responding to reports of gang activity on a Canaryville street in 2016 and given a year behind bars after a Cook… Read More »

Concurrent Jail Terms Deemed Reasonable on Appeal

A convicted drug offender must serve out a pair of sentences he received after repeatedly violating conditions of his release, according to a federal appeals panel that rejected his claim that additional jail time didn’t fit the offense he’d committed. After breaking parole following a concurrent stretch for a pair of convictions and being resentenced… Read More »