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Hello everybody. I am Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney Michael J. Petro. To see more about me, visit my web site at

Every week I will be summarizing the latest criminal law cases decided by the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals.  For the full opinions visit the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals Web Site.

USA v. Christopher Jones, 05-4272.  Jones is in big trouble for a 50 plus gram delivery of crack.  The District Court uses prior sentences of Illinois Court Supervision in calculating Jone’s criminal history and denying him the safety valve.  HELD.  Illinois sentences of Court Supervision are properly included in criminal history calculation by USSG 4A1.2. 

USA v. Thomas Walker, 05-1812.  Walker tries to withdraw his plea after District Court Judge departs upward 30 months from USSG for stabbing four guards while in prison.  HELD: 1.  A defendant may withdraw his plea if he presents a fair and just reason for withdrawal.  FRCP 11.  Great weight is given to the defendant’s answers at the change of plea colloquy.  This is an uphill battle for any defendant and Walker loses;  2.  FRCP 32(h) requiring notice of upward departures to a defendant is obsolete post Booker.  Post Booker, defendants are permanently on notice that the court can depart upward without prior notice to the defendant.

For more about attorney Michael J. Petro, visit