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July 20, 2024

Shelby County – Michael Williams Criminal Case – The Rest Of The Story

By Kirk Allen & John Kraft

On April 11, 2023

Shelby Co. (ECWd) –

For years we have seen attempts from people from all over the country to create social media pages for the sole purpose of presenting only information supporting their agenda.  These sites typically ask all kinds of questions of the public after they first present a narrative designed to create concern against a certain matter without ever once going to the source to get the rest of the story.  This was standard practice for a particular woman in Florida who later found herself on the losing end of multiple lawsuits as a result of her propaganda.

On a local Shelby County social media page which has blocked us so we cannot even send them a question for comment, a very concerning post was provided to us. Concerning because there has been zero communication with the very person being discussed or the one handling the case. Had they done so they would know there is a whole lot more to the story which ties to the bedrock of our laws. The information sent to us is the following. 

” As the new SA compiles a track record, we have a better understanding of Mr. Hanlon’s handling of methamphetamine charges in the county. The most significant of his cases involving methamphetamine to date, is the case of Michael E. Williams, Jr. (case # 2021-CF-1). Mr. Williams had six felony counts of methamphetamine delivery and possession, including Class 1 felonies (4-15 years) and Class X felonies (6-30 years), dismissed; he had seven counts of Armed Violence (all Class X felonies) dismissed as well. Williams’s case alone accounts for thirteen felony charges dismissed, six of which were methamphetamine charges. We want to emphasize: 6 felony charges involving methamphetamine dismissed by the State’s Attorney’s office in Mr. Williams’s case alone..”

What is missing from this informational post to the citizens of Shelby County?

Mr. Williams was arrested for the above-referenced charges in 2018, however, there is no corresponding docket entry for a 2018 case against him in Shelby County.

Williams was the target of an Illinois State Police and Federal Drug Enforcement investigation as outlined in this formerly sealed Federal criminal complaint. He was ordered to be detained on January 26, 2018, as confirmed in this Temporary Detention Order. 

Williams was indicted by a federal grand jury as found in this indictment dated February 6th of 2018.  Note that there are only three counts to the indictment. He then plead guilty to the charges as found in this plea agreement on April 18, 2018, and was sentenced to 120 months in Federal prison according to this Detention Order.

In December 2020, Williams sought a compassionate release from Federal Prison for COVID-19 related medical concerns due to his health conditions.  That motion was granted according to the amended judgment which can be viewed at this link.  His judgment was revised to time served plus 72 hours and subject to Supervised Release which includes 4 years on each of Counts 2 and 3, to run concurrently.

In January 2021, the Shelby County Assistant State’s Attorney filed a case against Williams as found on the Disposition page of his case file.  Note that all the alleged charges date from the same 2018 time frame as found in the federal case but substantially more charges and include 6 gun-related charges, the same number of guns listed seized and forfeited in the Federal case.

The county case was assigned to the appointed special prosecutor who took the steps to dismiss the case on March 20, 2023.  Why is such a dismissal appropriate?

Our United States Constitution has a provision known as the Fifth Amendment, which includes what is known as the Double Jeopardy provision. In short, “The Double Jeopardy Clause in the Fifth Amendment to the US Constitution prohibits anyone from being prosecuted twice for substantially the same crime. The relevant part of the Fifth Amendment states, “No person shall . . . be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb . . . . “ Source= Cornell Law School

It is beyond clear, the charges brought after Williams’ release from Federal Prison were for substantially the same crime, which clearly triggers the Double Jeopardy provision in our US Constitution as any competent defense attorney would raise.

After speaking with multiple attorneys, including those in the Shelby County State’s Attorney’s office, the action taken by the appointed special prosecutor, not the State’s Attorney, dismissing the state charges, was the proper action.

If anyone believes they have caselaw to the contrary we welcome that information, as to date of publication no one has been able to provide such information nor have we located any that would support ignoring the Double Jeopardy provision, including the State Police who took issue with the dismissal.








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