Former Schaumburg officer continuing efforts to have conviction vacated

  • Terrance O'Brien, one of three former Schaumburg cops accused of shaking down drug dealers and peddling narcotics in DuPage County, enters the courtroom for his arraignment at the DuPage County Courthouse in Wheaton on February 4, 2012.

    Terrance O'Brien, one of three former Schaumburg cops accused of shaking down drug dealers and peddling narcotics in DuPage County, enters the courtroom for his arraignment at the DuPage County Courthouse in Wheaton on February 4, 2012. Bev Horne | Staff Photographer

  • Terrance O'Brien

    Terrance O'Brien

 
 
Updated 4/11/2019 5:20 PM

DuPage County prosecutors are objecting to a former Schaumburg police officer's attempts to have his conviction vacated and charges dismissed.

In a one-page motion to dismiss and an accompanying 13-page memorandum of law filed Wednesday, prosecutors argue Terrance O'Brien's petition is "untimely." Additionally, they argue O'Brien's petition for post-conviction relief fails to "make a substantial showing of constitutional violation" necessary for the his petition to move forward.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

O'Brien was the first of two former Schaumburg cops to plead guilty in 2014 to skimming drugs from police seizures and then using an informant to sell them on the street.

O'Brien was arrested in January 2013 along with John Cichy and Matthew Hudak. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration alleged that for at least six months the three officers stole cocaine and marijuana from dealers and police seizures and then resold the drugs through the informant.

Attorney Paul DeLuca said the amended post-conviction petition he filed in DuPage County in January is based on roughly 80 new pages of information he received in March 2013 after DuPage County prosecutors dropped all charges against Cichy.

O'Brien, 52, of Palatine, pleaded guilty in March 2014 to four of 17 counts against him in exchange for prosecutors' dropping other charges.

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He pleaded guilty to unlawful delivery of a controlled substance, official misconduct, burglary and armed violence. He is serving a 24-year sentence that could be cut in half with good behavior.

In their opposition, prosecutors say the law required O'Brien to file a direct appeal by March 21, 2017, within three years of the date he accepted his plea deal. O'Brien filed his initial petition for post-conviction relief in April 2018.

Former officer Matthew Hudak pleaded guilty to similar charges and was sentenced to 26 years. His attorney filed a similar post-conviction petition on his behalf but was unsuccessful.

DeLuca's filing points to the use of a confidential informant during the police investigation. O'Brien, in the filing, argues that his guilty plea was rendered "not knowing, voluntary and intelligent" by prosecutors' failure to disclose the impeachment evidence regarding prior uncharged criminal conduct of the confidential informant.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The informant, who was arrested in Kane County in an unrelated drug trafficking case, told police he could "give them a police officer who was selling drugs."

But after the Schaumburg officers were arrested, the former prosecutor and Carol Stream police ended up investigating the informant on separate theft and wire fraud charges. The informant was never prosecuted and the investigation was never disclosed to O'Brien's previous attorney.

Prosecutors, in their argument, point to a 2002 federal court ruling that "the Constitution does not require the government to disclose material impeachment evidence prior to entering a plea agreement with a criminal defendant."

O'Brien's attorneys now have until May 28 to respond to the prosecution's objection before the process can proceed before Judge Liam Brennan.

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