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

Medical Marijuana in Illinois: Qualifying Conditions

The following  have been approved as qualifying conditions under Illinois’ Medical Marijuana Law: Alzheimer’s disease Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) Arnold Chiari malformation Cachexia/wasting syndrome Cancer Causalgia Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy Complex regional pain syndrome type 2 Crohn’s Disease Dystonia Fibromyalgia Fibrous dysplasia Glaucoma Hepatitis C HIV/AIDS Hydrocephalus Hydromyelia Interstitial Cystitis Lupus Multiple Sclerosis Muscular Dystrophy […]

Drug Conspiracy: Buyer/Seller Arrangement Alone is NOT Enough

US v. Herberto Pulgar,  No. 14-3503 . Drug-distribution conspiracies hold a unique position in our legal sufficiency jurisprudence. In these special cases, we will overturn a conviction when the plausibility of a mere buyer-seller arrangement is the same as the plausibility of a drug-distribution conspiracy. See United States v. Johnson, 592 F.3d 749, 755 (7th Cir. […]

Automobile Search and Seizure: Police NOT Allowed to Prolong Traffic Stop to Search for Illegal Contraband

SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES RODRIGUEZ v. UNITED STATES,   No. 13-9972. Decided April 21, 2015 Facts: Officer Struble, a K–9 officer, stopped petitioner Rodriguez for driving on a highway shoulder, a violation of Nebraska law. After Struble at­tended to everything relating to the stop, including check­ing the driver’s licenses of Rodriguez and his passenger […]

Rod Blagojevich: Political Logrolling Is Not Illegal

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA v. ROD BLAGOJEVICH, No. 11‑3853 DECIDED JULY 21, 2015 EASTERBROOK, Circuit Judge. Rod Blagojevich was convicted of 18 crimes after two jury trials. The crimes include attempted extortion from campaign contributors, corrupt solicitation of funds, wire fraud, and lying to federal investigators. The first trial ended with a conviction on the […]

“Deliberate Indifference” Instruction and/or the “Ostrich Instruction” – Boilerplate Rules

UNITED STATES V. MACIAS, No. 13-2166 POSNER, Circuit Judge. The defendant was convicted of conspiring to distribute at least five kilograms of cocaine, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 846 and 18 U.S.C. § 2, and of conducting an unlicensed money-transmitting business in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1960. He was sentenced to 300 months (25 […]

Brief Filed in 7th Circuit Court of Appeals: USSG 2D1.1(b)(12)

On June 15, 2015, Chicago Federal Criminal Defense Attorney Michael J. Petro filed his brief in the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals on behalf of Acasio Sanchez. USA v. Acasio Sanchez, No. 15-1356. Mr. Petro represented Mr. Sanchez in the District Court. At issue is the “stash house” enhancement to United States Sentencing Guidelines’ Section […]

Drug Penalties in Illinois

ACCURATE AS OF FEBRUARY 20, 2015 Possession of Methamphetamine’s Weight                              Statute                                                           Class                   Time 0-5 grams                          720 ILCS 646/60(b)(1)                                 Class 3                2-5 years 5-15 grams                        720 ILCS 646/60(b)(2)                                 Class 2                3-7 years 15-100 grams                     720 ILCS 646/60(b)(3)                                 Class 1                4-15 years 100-400 grams                   720 ILCS 646/60(b)(4)                                 Class X                6-30 years 400-900 grams                   720 ILCS 646/60(b)(5)                                 Class […]

Motion to Reconsider Sentence Does NOT Stop Appeal Filing Deadlines

United States v. Townsend. No. 13-2677. Background. Louis Townsend pleaded guilty to possessing a firearm as a felon and was sentenced to 71 months in prison. He challenges his sentence on several grounds, but the government questions whether the appeal is timely. Townsend’s deadline for filing a notice of appeal was July 22, 2013. On […]

Honest Services Fraud: Use of Word “Reward” In Jury Instruction Leads to Reversal

USA v. Thomas Hawkins and John W. Racasi,  No. 14-1892 & 14-1908. Thomas Hawkins and John Racasi were employed as analysts on the staff of Larry Rogers, a member of the Cook County Board of Review, when they accepted money from Ali Haleem, a corrupt Chicago police officer acting as an undercover agent. The Board […]