Criminal Defense Attorney in U.S. Federal & Florida and Illinois Courts

Search and Seizure Traffic Stop – Suspicion of Texting While Driving Is Not Enough. Case Dismissed.

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA v. PANIAGUA-GARCIA, No. 15-2540 An Indiana statute forbids drivers to use a telecommunications device (a cellphone) to type, transmit, or read a text message or an electronic-mail message, Ind. Code § 9-21-8-59(a). All other uses of cellphones by drivers are allowed.  An Indiana police officer, in the course of passing a car driven by Paniagua-Garcia on […]

Search and Seizure Traffic Stop by Police: Officers Mistake Regarding Illinois Turn Signal Law Leads to Suppression of Evidence

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, v. LESHAWN STANBRIDGE, No. 15-2686. LeShawn Stanbridge appeals his conviction for possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute, 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1). The drugs had been found in Stanbridge’s car after police in Quincy, Illinois, detained him on the ground that he committed a traffic offense by not signaling continuously for 100 feet before pulling alongside the curb […]

FRE 701 Opinion Testimony by Lay Witnesses – Boilerplate Rules

United States v. Terry Joe Smith, Nos. 14-3744 & 14-3721.   Terry Joe Smith, a police officer in Putnam County, Indiana (roughly midway between Indianapolis and Terre Haute), was convicted by a jury in federal court of violating 18 U.S.C. § 242 by depriving two persons, under color of state law (which is to say in […]

USSG 2B1.1 – Honest Services Fraud “Value of Benefit Received” Explained

United States v. Harper, No. 14-2701.   The defendant pleaded guilty to fraud consisting of her having abused her position as a member of a Chicago public-school board by accepting kickbacks of more than $500,000 from bus companies to which she steered transportation contracts worth $21 million. The parties stipulated that the value of the benefit received from […]

Eyewitness Identification – Watershed Decision Identifies Fallibility of Eyewitness Identifications

People of the State of Illinois v. Eduardo Lerma, No. 118496. Editor’s Note –  This is an Illinois Supreme Court Opinion. The issue is whether, in light of the specific facts and circumstances of this case, the circuit court of Cook County abused its discretion when it denied defendant’s motion to allow expert testimony concerning […]

Requirements for Stash House Enhancement

(Editors Note:  Chicago Federal Criminal Defense Attorney Michael J. Petro represented Mr. Sanchez in the District Court and in the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals.) Acasio Sanchez pleaded guilty to conspiring to possess with intent to distribute and to distribute heroin and cocaine, 21 U.S.C. §§ 846, 841(a)(1), and was sentenced below the guidelines range to […]

Search Warrants and the Probable Cause Determination – Boilerplate Rules

US v. Roger Aleshire, No. 15-1192. After a sleepover at the house of Roger Aleshire, a nine-year-old girl reported to her mother having a “dream” that Aleshire had pulled down her pajama bottoms and photographed her “privates”. Her mother called the police.  A state judge issued a search warrant. After executing that warrant the police […]

Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney Michael J. Petro Successfully Suppresses Evidence

On November 21, 2015, Chicago criminal defense attorney Michael J. Petro successfully suppressed the admission of a gun in a Chicago courtroom.  Mr. Petro presented one witness and cross examined a ten year veteran Chicago Police Officer.  Mr. Petro expects this will lead to the dismissal of all eight criminal charges by the Cook County State’s […]

Government Breach of Plea Agreement Leads to REVERSAL

USA v. Salvador Guadalupe Navarro, No. 12-2606 Defendant-Appellant Salvador Guadalupe Navarro (“Navarro”) pleaded guilty to and was convicted of one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine. In the plea agreement, the government and Navarro both agreed to refrain from seeking a departure from the sentencing guidelines.  […]

Michael J. Petro argues in the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals on November 17, 2015

PRESS RELEASE (Chicago) – On November 18, 2015, Chicago Federal Criminal Defense Attorney Michael J. Petro will argue in the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals.  US v. Acasio Sanchez, 15-1356.  In his brief, Mr. Petro argues that the district court improperly sentenced Mr. Sanchez by applying the “stash house” enhancement in the United States Sentencing Guidelines.  This error […]