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Recently, Judge Shapiro (ret.) led a presentation on judicial decision making for the Chicago-Lincoln Inn of Court

Posted on: April 13th, 2016 by Olive Street Design

Recently, Judge Shapiro (ret.) led a presentation on judicial decision making for the Chicago-Lincoln Inn of Court (sort of a legal fraternity that promotes civility in the profession). The presentation included judicial deliberations by a sitting federal judge and retired Chief Justice of the Illinois Appellate Court. One of the cases was an actual appellate opinion the Chief Justice wrote in the mid-90s. The other was a federal sentencing involving a lawyer who, together with her husband, overbilled clients to the tune of millions of dollars to support their lavish lifestyle.

Instead of participating as a judicial decision maker in the presentation, Judge Shapiro (ret.) reprised his role as an Assistant United States Attorney by acting as the prosecutor in the fraudulent billing case. The federal judge ultimately (but fictionally) sentenced the lawyer to a year and a day in jail.

The lawyers in the Chicago-Lincoln Inn of Court sat in rapt attention as they got a behind-the-scenes look at how judges discuss and decide cases.

Not Guilty in a Felony Gun Case

Posted on: November 5th, 2015 by Olive Street Design

In October, 2015, James Shapiro obtained a not guilty verdict in a trial involving a gun on his client’s property. The gun was in a bag hanging from a fence on the property. The police officer who found the gun testified that the client told him the bag was his, and that there was no ammunition in it. After the judge denied our motion for directed finding at the close of the prosecution’s case in chief, a decision had to be made whether to put the client on the stand or not. In light of the judge’s ruling and the police officer’s arguably credible testimony, Mr. Shapiro advised his client to take the stand and conducted his direct examination. Although the judge found the police officer credible and said he would have convicted had the burden of proof been lower, he also found the client reasonably credible and acquitted him based on the beyond a reasonable doubt burden of proof. The client had no criminal history and had he been convicted of a felony would almost certainly have faced dismissal from a good job he held for over a decade.

One-week (seven-day) sentence for client facing 10-16 months under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines

Posted on: November 4th, 2014 by Olive Street Design

On October 30, 2014, I obtained a reduced sentence (called a “downward variance” in Federal Sentencing Guideline parlance) for a truck driver who stole a great deal of mail and gift cards contained therein from the Postal Service and its customers. He was facing 10-16 months in jail under the advisory sentencing guidelines, but a federal judge sentenced him to only one week after submission of the attached sentencing memorandum and successful arguments in court.Sentencing.Memo

Mentally-challenged man now out of jail

Posted on: August 15th, 2014 by Olive Street Design

I recently got a mentally-challenged man with a 69 IQ out of jail after a parole revocation hearing in Dixon, Illinois. The man’s parole had been revoked after he allegedly failed the notoriously unreliable and inadmissible in court polygraph examination, and allegedly failed to participate in his group therapy sessions in good faith. He was released from Dixon the day after his parole revocation hearing.

Expert witness on expert testimony

Posted on: August 15th, 2014 by Olive Street Design

Recently retained by one of Chicago’s top law firms as an expert witness on the contours of expert testimony for a disciplinary hearing before the American Academy of Forensic Scientists.


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