Our client was charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon in the United States District Court of the Northern District of Illinois. He was charged with having a loaded firearm, including full ammunition, in his home while being a convicted felon and a lifelong member of a notorious Chicago street gang. Federal agents raided his Englewood home and found packaged marijuana and a loaded Taurus firearm hidden inside. Our client was then arrested.
In the federal criminal system, the charge of Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon is a serious charge that carries a statutory maximum of 10 years in prison. But the statute is only one part of the sentencing parameters; a complex calculation is made under the United States Sentencing Guidelines to determine, based on the offense itself and the defendant’s criminal background, what sentencing range is advisable. There is also a plea agreement in place that allows both sides to argue for whatever they choose. The Guidelines are advisory, but most judges still sentence within the Guidelines.
Our client hired Wigell Criminal Defense to represent him in this case. Guns are a hot-button issue in Chicago, especially under the current presidential administration and the current Attorney General, who has ordered federal prosecutors to file the toughest charges and to seek the highest sentences they can.
This proved true in our case. Our client had a rap sheet that some would say was a mile long, which was guaranteed to increase the suggested Guideline range. Although a plea agreement was negotiated, the sentencing range was still very much the subject of argument.
The Government, citing the fact that our client’s convictions numbered easily in the double digits, that he had been in and out of jail and prison since he was a juvenile, that he had been convicted of being a felon in possession before without learning his lesson, and that he was a lifelong member of the Conservative Vice Lords, made strong arguments for an increased sentence of 96 months in federal prison, which was in well in excess of the Guideline range.
The Government maintained that our client was irredeemable, a danger to the community, and that the public needed to be protected from him by way of a lengthy prison sentence.
This was not the version of our client that we knew. At Wigell Criminal Defense, we believe in holistic approaches that take into account the entirety of the person and their life story. A person’s history, characteristics, and an explanation as to why they may have committed an offense, are very important when it comes to federal sentencing.
With multiple and regular meetings with our client, attorneys Raymond Wigell and Huma Rashid drafted a detailed sentencing memorandum that explored the client’s life history, including the tragic death of his two older siblings while they were all children, walking the family dog, as well as our client’s 6 children, all of whom are productive citizens, workers, and students.
Following an impassioned argument for a sentence less than the requested 96 months, the federal judge complimented Attorney Huma Rashid in her eloquence in presenting information about our client’s life and his struggles, saying that he learned a lot about who our client truly was thanks to the detailed and holistic filings from the Wigell Criminal Defense Team.
After hearing all arguments, the federal judge ordered a sentence of 66 months in federal prison, well below the Government’s request of 96 months. With credit for time served, our client has 3 and a half years left to serve. He was pleased with the result, knowing he’d soon be back to his family and be able to move forward and start anew.
Thanks to the detailed mitigation work and the holistic defense strategies employed, Wigell Criminal Defense was able to save our client 2 .5 years of his life.