A judge in Illinois, who is awaiting sentencing in federal court on drug
charges, has been sent a message, that he will almost certainly be sentenced
to prison. Illinois State Circuit Judge Michael Cook was charged in federal
court in May of 2013 with felony distribution of drugs and possession
of a firearm by a prohibited person: drug user. At his arraignment in
federal court, Cook, wearing cut-off jean shorts (also known in some circles
as "jorts") and a t-shirt emblazoned with "Bad is my middle
name" pleaded not guilty to the federal
drug charges. Even though federal prosecutors requested that Cook be detained at a
medical facility, the United States Magistrate allowed Cook to be released
with certain conditions.
Parties Attempt To Resolve Drug Charges
Last November, federal prosecutors and Cook's criminal defense lawyers
crafted a plea negotiation that envisioned Cook pleading guilty to one
count of misdemeanor drug possession and one count of felony possession
of a firearm by a prohibited person - in this case, a drug user. The plea
agreement contemplated a term of incarceration of six months or less.
It also contained controversial language that bound the judge's sentencing
discretion. Known as a binding plea, it allows the judge to either accept
the plea, as is, or reject it and require the parties to proceed to jury
trial, or craft a new plea agreement. Recently, the federal judge presiding
in the case, U.S. District Court Judge Joe Billy McDade, indicated that
the sentence contemplated by the plea agreement was "not sufficient"
and that the facts of the case warranted a longer sentence. He gave the
parties until March 19 to craft a new plea agreement.
The Potential Impact Of Drug Charges
All drug charges, even
drug possession involving small amounts, should be taken seriously. Convictions for most,
if not all, drug charges frequently follow a person throughout their life.
Employment, educational opportunities, and fundamental civil rights can
all be adversely affected by a drug conviction. If facing drug charges
in Las Vegas, or the surrounding area, call the attorneys at Oronoz, Ericsson
& Gaffney, who have a proven track record of successfully defending
drug charges of all types.
Contact Oronoz, Ericsson & Gaffney for a
free case evaluation today!