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Chicago Criminal Law Blog

New law could mean parole for young offenders with lengthy sentences

A significant change is coming to Illinois criminal justice on June 1. That’s when most young adults who were sentenced to lengthy prison terms will start to become eligible for a parole review after they have spent 10 years behind bars.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker recently signed the measure that will soon take effect. "This historic legislation will create a long-awaited and vital new parole system for youth facing long sentences," he said at a bill-signing event in Chicago’s West Side Lawndale neighborhood.

Arrests on drug trafficking charges after raid on Illinois home

There is no doubt that some of our Chicago readers attended Western Illinois University in Macomb. While the town is usually sleepy (except for student parties, of course), it woke up recently to news of arrests on drug-trafficking and firearms charges.

Law enforcement officials said that after a month-long investigation, officers and a SWAT team executed a search warrant at a residence while the Illinois National Guard provided a helicopter to assist with the raid.

Insurance fraud allegations filed against three suspects

There are a number of different types of fraud that interest Chicago, Illinois and federal investigators, including schemes involving mortgages, health care, taxes, embezzlement and more. We read recently of allegations that three people far south of us participated in an insurance fraud involving motor vehicle identification numbers (VIN).

The three suspects have been charged with insurance fraud, as well as theft by deception and falsification of identification numbers.

Chicago schools touched by college admissions fraud scandal

Chicago’s news outlets have featured headlines over the past few days about the college admissions scandal. Fifty people have been indicted, including actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin, on charges of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud.

A pair of Chicago schools have connections to the scandal: the son of William Singer, the CEO of the college admissions prep company at the epicenter of the scandal, has a son who graduated from DePaul two years ago. The elder Singer donated at least $150,000 to the school while his son attended classes at the Lincoln Park campus.

Federal drug charges in Chicago case could mean life sentences

According to federal prosecutors, heroin in Chicago was just a phone call away. Potential buyers simply had to call a number and their drug of choice would arrive at a predetermined location (usually in the West Garfield Park neighborhood), ready to be purchased.

Prosecutors recently unsealed criminal complaints in U.S. District Court in Chicago against 22 defendants for federal drug trafficking offenses involving heroin and fentanyl. An additional 13 people have been charged in Cook County Criminal Court with Illinois state complaints.

Ex-Chicago cop faces drug charges 15 years after he fled trial

Former Chicago police Sgt. Eddie Hicks took off 15 years ago rather than face trial. But the manhunt that went from Cook County to Texas to Brazil came to an end a few months ago in Detroit. Now the former officer faces federal charges of racketeering conspiracy, drug-trafficking conspiracy, theft of government funds and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug crime.

Law enforcement officials believe Hicks ran a renegade group of cops who robbed drug dealers and then re-sold the stolen goods.

Chicago man facing drugs and weapons charges

Just outside of Chicago’s northwest city limits sits the village of Rosemont. Known mainly for its convention center and venues for sports and concerts, it doesn’t typically generate a lot of headlines. A recent arrest there garnered some media attention, however.

The 21-year-old Chicago resident now faces eight charges, including possession of a controlled substance and manufacturing or delivering cannabis. He also faces two weapons-related charges, law enforcement officials said.

More Chicago drug convictions overturned in police scandal

Many of our readers will recall a Chicago police scandal from last year that resulted in a number of people having their convictions overturned. The story is getting national attention because the courts are once again exonerating those who were convicted in drug cases based on arrests made by the crooked Chicago police sergeant and an officer on his team.

Last week, 14 men had their convictions tossed. When added to previous exonerations, 63 people have had their convictions vacated because they involved the criminal actions of Sgt. Ronald Watts and Officer Kallatt Mohammed.

Two accused Mexican cartel figures face Chicago court dates

After the list of guilty verdicts had been read, Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman turned to his wife and the couple exchanged thumbs-ups. Despite the momentary bravado, the guilty verdicts could mean life behind bars for the legendary Mexican drug cartel figure after a jury found him guilty of involvement in not only billion-dollar drug trafficking, but murders, bribery and more.

Attention now turns to two men in Chicago and their impending court cases. They are accused of being Guzman’s top associates in the Sinaloa drug cartel.

Illinois marijuana legalization bill proposed

According to the Chicago Tribune, a new proposal by an Illinois lawmaker has kicked off the latest round of debate on marijuana legalization here. Rep. Carol Ammons has filed a bill to legalize recreational weed use and would also allow licensed businesses to grow and sell cannabis. It would also enable state residents to grow up to two dozen plants at home.

The bill would also allow businesses to create weed consumption areas in which their customers could imbibe.

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Darryl A. Goldberg
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