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

Busted! DEA’s Use of “Stingray” Cell Phone Locator Without a Warrant is Illegal!

US v. Raymond Lambis, 15cr734 (SDNY, Judge Pauley, July 12, 2016). In 2015, the Drug Enforcement Administration (the “DEA”) conducted an investigation into an international drug-trafficking organization. As a part of that investigation, the DEA sought a warrant for pen register information and cell site location information (“CSLI”) for a target cell phone. CSLI allows…

Loss Amount Calculation: Money Paid Back to Victim Before Fraud Detected NOT Counted at Sentencing

USA v. Christian Peterson.  No. 14-3716. Before running into legal trouble, Christian Peterson, an entrepreneur doing business in Madison, Wisconsin, owned several manufacturing and realestate development firms. He misused corporate finances, frequently making unauthorized intercompany loans and occasionally using corporate funds to pay off his personal gambling debts. Eventually all of his business ventures failed,…

Supreme Court Ends Government’s Illegal Use of Pretrial Asset Forfeiture

Sila Luis v. US,  No. 14-419.  (United States Supreme Court March 30, 2016) A federal statute provides that a court may freeze before trial certain assets belonging to a criminal defendant accused of violations of federal health care or banking laws. See 18 U. S. C. §1345. Those assets include: (1) property “obtained as a result…

Practice Tip: Always Poll That Jury!

US v. Lemurel Williams.  15-1194 (7th Cir. 2016).  Lemurel Williams was convicted of being a felon in possession of a gun.  We agree with Williams’s that a new trial is needed because the totality of the circumstances regarding the jury’s verdict was impermissibly coercive. After three hours of deliberating, the jury returned a guilty verdict, which…

Residential Drug Abuse Program – BOP Changes Make Allow Greater Inmate Participation

SUMMARY: The Bureau of Prisons (Bureau) revised the Residential Drug Abuse Treatment Program (RDAP) regulations to allow greater inmate participation in the program and positively impact recidivism rates. DATES: This rule is effective on May 26, 2016. 550.55(b) Inmates not Eligible for Early Release. As an exercise of the Director’s discretion, the following categories of…

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…

USSG 2D1.(b)(12) Stash House Enhancement – Boilerplate Rules

US v. Acasio Sanchez.  No. 15-1356 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…

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…

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…