Notable Cases

People v. Caballes.
The defendant, Mr. Caballes, was convicted following bench trial in the Circuit Court, La Salle County, by the Honorable Chris Ryan, Jr., of cannabis trafficking. Mr. Caballes appealed. The Appellate Court affirmed and granted petition for leave to appeal. Justice Kilbride of the Supreme Court then held that the canine sniff during which the dog was alerted to marijuana in the trunk of the car unjustifiably expanded the scope of a traffic stop for speeding. All judgments against Mr. Caballes were reversed.


U.S. v. Carlisi.
Mr. Meczyk represented Brett O’Dell, a member of the Carlisi Street Crew, which conducted various criminal activities under the supervision of the Chicago Outfit. Mr. O’Dell was acquitted of the major RICO charges.


People v. Dowaliby.
The murder of 7-year-old Jacyln Dowaliby shocked the small suburban town of Midlothian, IL. Both Jacyln’s parents, Cynthia and David Dowaliby, were tried for their daughter’s murder. While Mrs. Dowaliby’s charges were dismissed, Mr. Dowaliby was convicted of first degree murder based only on the testimony of a bi-polar witness who had seen someone with his nose structure in an unlit parking lot on the night of the crime and on later-disproven evidence that a window in the family home was broken from the inside. The case was reversed outright for insufficiency of the evidence based on Mr. Mecyzk’s trial record.


People v. Ochoa.
Mr. Meczyk successfully argued to get both the arrests and the search of a truck quashed in a case involving more than a ton of marijuana.Read the full story here.


People v. Peterson.
Police charged former Bolingbrook police officer Drew Peterson with the murder of his third wife, Kathleen Savio, whose death was deemed an accident, after his fourth wife, Stacy Peterson, disappeared, despite the fact that there was no DNA or other physical evidence linking Peterson to Savio’s death. At trial, Mr. Meczyk delivered what The Chicago Sun-Times called "a long, aggressive, technical, and scientific interrogation," in which he was able to force the prosecution’s medical expert to admit that three different doctors disagreed with the assessment that Savio was murdered.


People v. Ratliff.
Mr. Ratliff was charged with attempted murder, aggravated battery, and solicitation to commit murder in the shooting of his girlfriend’s lover on Halloween in 1990. Before the trial, prosecutors elected to proceed only on the solicitation charge. "After prosecutors finished presenting their evidence, Meczyk put Ratliff on the stand to deny he had asked anyone to kill the victim, who had recovered from a bullet wound. ‘I was the one who did the shooting,’ Ratliff said. The jury, whose members included a Glenview police officer, deliberated about four hours before returning a verdict of not guilty," the Chicago Tribune reported.


Recent Cases

Family Secrets Trial.
In the high-profile Family Secrets trial of the Chicago Outfit, the infamous mob group, run by Frank Calabrese, and, earlier, Al Capone, Mr. Meczyk represented police officer Anthony Doyle. As The Chicago Tribune noted, "Deciding Anthony Doyle’s punishment didn’t really come down to whether he was a good cop or an Outfit handyman... In fact, Doyle might have been both." Mr. Meczyk fought prosecutors’ description of Doyle as a sleeper agent for the mob, which ultimately helped to reduce his prison sentence from 20 to 12 years.


People v. Hinojosa.
Drug Enforcement Agency officers working on a tip from an unnamed source brought a drug-sniffing dog to the outside of Mr. Hinojosa’s garage, then obtained a search warrant based on the dog’s reaction. They found 25 kilograms of cocaine, $250,000 in cash and a cache of automatic weapons. Mr. Meczyk argued that the DEA’s use of a drug-sniffing dog constituted a warrantless search. The motion was not granted. An appellate panel remanded the case to a trial court to determine whether a detached garage has the same Fourth Amendment protections as the house itself. Mr. Meczyk was also trial counsel.


People v. Martinez
Mr. Martinez, one of three Chicago teenagers charged with first-degree murder in the fatal stabbing of Martin Cruz in Little Village in 2010, was found not guilty by a jury of his peers. Prosecutors failed to meet their burden of proof in Judge Neera Walsh's courtroom. The trial began Friday August 28. The 2010 stabbing was allegedly the result of a gang rivalry, authorities said. Gonzalez was caught at the scene and confessed to the murder. Mr. Martinez and Lopez were later arrested for first-degree murder. Lopez and Gonzalez eventually pled to lesser charges and testified against Martinez. Mr. Martinez was found not guilty on September 3, having never stepped onto the witness stand.


People v. Olavarria.
Mr. Olavarria was charged as a habitual offender after police found guns and drugs in his Cicero home. The mandatory minimum was 15 years in prison, but Mr. Meczyk obtained jury acquittal on all charges.


People v. Schaffer.
Mr. Schaffer had a conviction for armed robbery, home invasion and sexual assault overturned and a new trial ordered after Mr. Meczyk successfully argued that the prosecutors in the first trial improperly questioned him. Mr. Meczyk was also trial counsel.


People v. Wasilenko
A former Elmwood Park Police Sergeant was acquitted of charges that he financially exploited a dementia stricken elderly man. Read the full story here.