Officers’ arrests cause ripple effect in Cook County courts

For months after authorities arrested three undercover Schaumburg police officers on charges they sold drugs skimmed from seizures, the fallout rippled through the Cook County criminal court system.

The January 2013 arrests of former Special Investigations Unit members John Cichy, Matthew Hudak and Terrance O’Brien on charges including criminal drug conspiracy and official misconduct led Cook County prosecutors to drop pending narcotics cases against 19 individuals, citing concerns over the officers’ credibility.

Cichy, Hudak and O’Brien, who resigned after their arrests, have pleaded not guilty and are free on bond.

The dismissed cases represent a fraction of the more than 300 drug-related cases Schaumburg officers brought before the courts over three years, said Schaumburg police spokesman Sgt. John Nebl.

At least five former defendants arrested by one or more of the former officers have filed federal lawsuits against them and the village alleging false arrest, conspiracy and constitutional rights violations. The suits seek compensatory and punitive damages.

Following the former officers’ arrests, several former defendants — who pleaded guilty to drug charges because they feared a longer sentence if convicted at trial — successfully petitioned the courts to have their pleas vacated and their sentences set aside. .

The cases against Cichy, Hudak and O’Brien are pending in DuPage County court. If convicted of the most serious charges, they face up to 30 years in prison.

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