Cases & Deals

Client charged with identity theft finds some relief through the discovery of mitigating circumstances

Client(s) Client SS

In December 2010, the State's Attorney's Office charged SS with identity theft and attempted identity theft, alleging that she tried to withdraw funds from someone else's bank account using the account number and a fake driver's license. Given the charges and a prior conviction, SS was facing a two to five year prison term and a $25,000 fine.

Through extensive investigation, Jones Day associates discovered various mitigating circumstances. For instance, at the time of the alleged offense, SS, then seven months pregnant, was on the verge of being homeless and had been coaxed into participating in the event in question by others promising her a winter coat and other small benefits. SS also had long-standing mental heath issues, including a documented history of bipolarism and early on-set schizophrenia. With leave from the Court, a mental health evaluation was arranged, in an effort to determine SS's eligibility to receive a special probationary term including mental health services, in lieu of a lengthy prison term. The evaluation showed that SS was in fact eligible and thus became the centerpiece of the presentation to Judge Linn during a recent negotiation / settlement conference conducted pursuant to Illinois Supreme Court Rule 402.

Despite the prosecutor's assertion during the conference that a 2-5 year sentence was appropriate, the Judge clearly credited the presentation and represented that, if SS were to plead guilty, he would sentence her to a 180-day term of imprisonment (90 days with good time credit) and authorize her participation in mental health probation. This is the sentence that was imposed today upon SS's guilty plea. In the meantime, Jones Day worked with SS's relatives and DCFS to ensure proper care for SS's infant baby during the prison term.

This is obviously an excellent outcome -- looking both backward and forward -- under difficult circumstances and owes much to the diligence and creativity displayed by Chicago associates from the inception of the case.