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updated: 11/27/2012 4:16 PM

Man seeking new murder trial years after guilty plea

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A Waukegan man serving 34 years in prison for murder is seeking a new trial, claiming his defense attorney misled him into taking a guilty plea in 2002, authorities said Tuesday.

Freddie Ramirez, 31, who has been behind bars since 2001, admitted to murdering 23-year-old Victor Hugo Chavez in 2002 during a secret tape recording by Ramirez's mother, authorities said.

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Steve Scheller, the chief of the Criminal Division for the Lake County State's Attorney's Office, said the woman wore a recording device given to her by police during a prison visit with Ramirez while he was serving a separate sentence.

After the recording, defense attorneys for Ramirez convinced him to admit guilt because the tape would be admissible in court, Scheller said. However, Ramirez now believes he was mislead by the now-deceased defense attorney and that the wire tap would not have been allowed, Scheller said.

Scheller said Ramirez has asked for a new trial on the advice of a new attorney.

"We need to go over everything and determine if his defense council was ineffective," he said. "If it's true, then we'll take steps to remedy the situation."

He said the Lake County State's Attorney's Office is reviewing the case, and will decide whether to offer Ramirez a new plea deal.

The two sides are expected to return to court Dec. 11.

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