Cook County Judge Kay Hanlon on Friday vacated a Schaumburg man's 2012 guilty plea to drug charges after his attorney raised questions about the credibility of the arresting officer, one of three former undercover officers facing criminal drug conspiracy charges of their own.
Before his plea, Sean Cerami, 49, claimed former Schaumburg officer Matthew Hudak had made false statements to obtain the search warrant that led to Cerami's arrest, said his attorney Victor Ciardelli. When Hanlon found Hudak's version more credible, Cerami pleaded guilty in April 2012 to the manufacture and delivery of cocaine in exchange for a four-year prison sentence.
Vacating the plea is the first step toward either getting the case retried or the charges dropped.
Cerami is currently staying at a halfway house in Chicago, Ciardelli said. The attorney also indicated his client will likely appear for an Aug. 16 hearing before Hanlon to determine if Hudak made false statements in his affidavit to obtain a search warrant.
In January, DuPage authorities charged Hudak and former fellow officers John Cichy and Terrance O'Brien with criminal drug conspiracy after they say the trio skimmed drugs from seizures and sold them through a former informant. The three men resigned from the police department. They pleaded not guilty and are currently out on bond. Cook County prosecutors earlier this year dismissed a number of pending cases in which the former officers were involved.
After the hearing, Ciardelli said he in no way blames the judge or prosecutors for what happened to his client, who at the time was represented by another attorney.
"They had no way of knowing," said Ciardelli, adding that he feels optimistic that the charges against Cerami will be dismissed.