Cook County Judge Kay Hanlon on Monday vacated an Elk Grove Village man's 2012 guilty plea to drug charges and his six-year sentence after defense attorneys called into question the credibility of the arresting officer, who is now facing drug charges of his own.
Hanlon also ordered the $50,000 bond for Victor Alvarado, 29, to stand -- meaning he should be released within a day or two from the Sheridan Correctional Center, where he has been held for the last 10 months.
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Prosecutors indicated they may appeal Hanlon's decision and that they have not decided whether they will move forward with the original case against Alvarado, which included testimony from former Schaumburg undercover officer Matthew Hudak.
Hanlon's ruling marks the latest fallout from the January arrest by DuPage County authorities of Hudak and two other former Schaumburg undercover officers, Terrance O'Brien and John Cichy. They face charges of criminal drug conspiracy, delivery of a controlled substance, armed violence and official misconduct among others. All resigned from the police department in January. They pleaded not guilty and have been released on bond.
Alvarado claimed during a pretrial hearing in January 2012 that Hudak never read him his Miranda rights when Schaumburg and Elk Grove police officers arrived at his home looking for drugs. Alvarado further testified that he never pointed out to the officers where drugs were located in the home he shared with three other people, said defense attorney Victor Ciardelli, adding that his client's testimony contradicted statements made by Hudak.
Cook County Assistant State's Attorney Celeste Stack argued that the indictment of the former officer didn't alter the circumstances surrounding the arrest of Alvarado, who court records show pleaded guilty to delivery of cocaine in 2006 and possession of cannabis in 2004.
"They're relying on a collateral indictment of a police officer to undermine a conviction," said Stack, who argued that "collateral impeachment is not sufficient to invalidate the plea."
Alvarado accepted the plea deal last June, after Hanlon found Hudak's testimony credible and denied defense's motion to suppress Alvarado's statements. Ciardelli said Alvarado pleaded guilty because he feared a conviction at trial might have resulted in a longer sentence.
Had prosecutors known Hudak had a credibility problem, they would have been obligated to disclose that to the defense, Hanlon said. If that was the case, "there is no doubt the guilty plea would not have been made," Hanlon said.
Ciardelli has not asked Hanlon to dismiss the drug charges against Alvarado, who next appears in court on May 1.