Chicago’s Most Dangerous ‘L’ Stops

Michael J. Petro – Chicago Defense Attorney According to the news, Chicago is a dangerous place. So dangerous that an outsider could easily envision a massive free-for-all, with bullets flying everywhere. But anyone who’s spent any amount of time in the Windy City knows a far different reality. Yes, Chicago violence is well documented. But the majority of the crime is isolated to certain areas of town – particularly in neighborhoods on the south side and the west side. Dangerous …
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Female Genital Mutilation Charges

A grand jury investigation into female genital mutilation has expanded to three more states — including Illinois — as federal agents identify additional Doctor suspects. The new targets of the investigation reportedly live in Chicago, New York and Los Angeles. Female genital mutilation is defined as the intentional injury or alteration to female genitals for reasons that are not medical. The practice can result in serious complications, such as infection, psychological harm, and a greater risk of problems during childbirth. …
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Map of Chicago Homicides 2006 – 2016

Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney Michael J. Petro provides a useful map for analyzing murders in Chicago neighborhoods in 2016. In the chart below, Mike analyzes how Chicago neighborhood gun crime correlates with murders committed in the City of Chicago. Summer is a bittersweet time for Chicago. The city celebrates the beautiful lakefront, the Taste of  Chicago, Lollapalooza and much more. However, the warm weather always brings a major burden for the city: the rise in violent crime. Chicago consistently made …
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Writ of Coram Nobis – Boilerplate Rules You Need to Know

US v. Brian Wilkozek, No. 15-1537.    In 2003 Brian Wilkozek pleaded guilty to one count of mail fraud for his participation in a mortgage-fraud scheme. By the time the third-party lenders uncovered the scheme, all they could do was foreclose and sell the properties. They suffered losses of more than $700,000.     After Wilkozek was caught and pleaded guilty, he was ordered to pay restitution to the victims—namely, the thirdparty mortgage lenders. That restitution went unpaid, so the government asked the district …
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Posted in 7th Circuit Criminal Law Alert, Asset Forfeiture, Federal Crimnal Procedure, Fraud, News, Press Releases, Restitution

Expunging Your Federal Conviction – Rules You Need to Know

U.S. v PFEIFFER, Case No. 04 CR 793, U.S. District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division. (Editor’s note:  This is a District Court decision NOT 7th Circuit Court of Appeals.) April 7, 2016 In 2007, Brian Pfeiffer pled guilty to possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance, Ecstasy. Pfeiffer now moves to expunge the records of his conviction. The Court denies Pfeiffer’s motion. Pfeiffer had been successful in putting his past behind him and maintaining uninterrupted employment. In 2015, Pfeiffer …
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Posted in 7th Circuit Criminal Law Alert, News

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 to park. That understanding of Illinois law was wrong, but the district court decided that the mistake was reasonable and denied Stanbridge’s motion to suppress the drugs. …
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Posted in 7th Circuit Criminal Law Alert, News, Search and Seizure

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 the reliability of eyewitness identifications. For the reasons that follow, we hold that it did. The evidence of defendant’s guilt consists solely of two eyewitness …
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Posted in 7th Circuit Criminal Law Alert, Eyewitness Identification, News, Press Releases

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 40 months’ imprisonment. Sanchez argues that the district court erred by applying a two-level enhancement for “maintain[ing] a premise for the purposes of manufacturing or …
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Posted in 7th Circuit Criminal Law Alert, News

U.S.S.G. Section 3C1.1 Obstruction of Justice – 7th Circuit Brief Filed

PRESS RELEASE (Chicago).  On December 9, 2015 Chicago Federal Defense Attorney Michael J. Petro filed a brief in the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals on behalf of his client Charles Thomas. US v. Charles Thomas, 15-1142.  In sum, Mr. Thomas states that the district court erred in applying the United States Sentencing Guidelines Section 3C1.1 Obstruction of Justice enhancement.  Specifically, Mr. Thomas states that he should not have received a higher sentence for having co-defendant Domingo Blount testify at his …
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Chicago Police Officer’s Firing Leads to NOT GUILTY

PRESS RELEASE (Chicago).  On December 4, 2015, Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney Michael J. Petro won a trial in a Bridgeview court room.  Before trial, the Cook County State’s Attorneys’ Office was forced to admit that a key Chicago Police Officer witness was fired because the officer was convicted of a crime!  Despite this incredible change of circumstances, the Cook County State’s Attorneys’ Office presented the testimony of one Chicago Police Officer to try and convict Mr. Petro’s client .    On cross-examination of this officer, …
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Posted in News, Press Releases