Attorney: Drop conviction for ex-Schaumburg cop in drug case
Attorneys for Matthew Hudak, the second of two former Schaumburg cops to plead guilty to skimming drugs from police seizures and then using an informant to sell them on the street, are seeking to have his conviction vacated.
The attorneys say their push is based on about 80 new pages of information they received after DuPage County prosecutors dropped all charges last month against a third Schaumburg officer, John Cichy.
Hudak's attorney, Thomas Glasgow, filed the post-conviction petition late Monday in which he alleges ethics breaches by a former DuPage assistant state's attorney. The petition seeks to have Hudak's plea and conviction vacated and to bar prosecutors from retrying his client.
The petition will be heard at 9 a.m. March 19 before Judge Liam Brennan.
"You never want to have to file something like this," Glasgow said Tuesday. "It's just so disheartening to see what I saw."
Hudak pleaded guilty in April 2014 to unlawful delivery of a controlled substance, official misconduct, burglary and armed violence and was sentenced to 26 years in prison.
Glasgow said police used a confidential informant during their investigation of Hudak, Cichy and Terrance O'Brien. The informant, while being arrested in Kane County on an unrelated drug trafficking case, then told police he could "give them a police officer who was selling drugs."
But after their arrest, Glasgow said, the former prosecutor and Carol Stream police ended up investigating the informant for separate theft and wire fraud charges.
According to the eight-page petition filed Monday, the informant is accused of stealing a treadmill from a gym where he worked and selling it to a couple who were under investigation for cannabis trafficking. The treadmill was found during the trafficking investigation.
During the wire fraud investigation, the informant was accused of misleading gym patrons by running their credit cards into his account when they thought they were paying membership dues. Glasgow said 33 of 38 attempted transactions were accepted.
The informant was never prosecuted in either case and the investigations were never disclosed to Glasgow, the petition said.
"The irony of this is you had (an assistant) state's attorney who was jumping up and down about how these guys broke the law and in order to try to convict them, instead of playing it straight up, she broke the law herself," Glasgow said. "She had a duty to disclose this stuff. If she hid evidence here, what else was not tendered?"
Former Assistant State's Attorney Audriana Anderson, whom Glasgow did not name and who is not named in the petition, declined to comment Tuesday when reached at her private practice.
Glasgow said the failure to disclose the information is important because Hudak always has maintained he was entrapped by the informant and was never able to present a valid defense because the information about that informant was not disclosed.
"That plays a big factor here, and a big enough factor for the state that ... they ended up throwing out essentially the same charges against Mr. Cichy," Glasgow said. "So the state thought it was important enough. Why shouldn't Mr. Hudak think it was important enough?"
DuPage State's Attorney Robert Berlin declined to comment Tuesday "while (the petition) is pending." But Berlin has said the late disclosure of information relating to the informant in Cichy's case had no legal bearing on the guilty pleas and sentences of O'Brien and Hudak.
Glasgow said he is not maintaining Hudak's innocence but does believe his client was unjustly sentenced when he pleaded guilty.
"The standard here is not whether it will affect his guilt or innocence," Glasgow said. "The standard is, would it tend to negate the guilt of the accused or would it tend to lessen the punishment that was imposed upon him?"
Hudak was arrested in January 2013 along with Cichy and O'Brien. A U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration investigation found evidence that for at least six months the three officers stole cocaine and marijuana from dealers and police seizures and then resold the drugs through an informant.
The investigation began Jan. 2, 2013, when police found about 9 ounces of cocaine in a Carol Stream storage unit. The search led to a former informant who said he'd been helping the Schaumburg officers deal marijuana and cocaine skimmed from busted drug dealers.
During the next two weeks, investigators captured the officers on video and audio surveillance as they made plans and carried out drug deals, often in police vehicles and while wearing their service weapons.
All three resigned from the police department shortly after their arrests.
Hudak was the first to plead guilty and was sentenced to 26 years. O'Brien was sentenced to 24 years after pleading guilty to identical charges on March 21, 2014. All charges were dropped against Cichy on Feb. 13.
O'Brien's attorney, Paul DeLuca, called Glasgow's petition "an eye-opening motion."
"We're going to do our research as well and if we're going to do anything, it will be shortly," DeLuca said. "We've got a team working to expedite things, but Terry will make the ultimate decision."