Peel's sentencing hearing re-set for Nov. 19

Steve Gonzalez Nov. 13, 2007, 3:44pm

Gary Peel

United States District Judge William Stiehl has set Gary Peel's sentencing for Nov. 19. It is the fifth time a hearing date has been scheduled.

On Nov. 1, Stiehl took under advisement evidence presented to him regarding Peel's sentencing.

Peel was scheduled to learn his fate before Stiehl on that day, but after both sides presented their arguments Stiehl said he wanted to review all of the documents and make written orders on Peel's objections to the presentence investigation report (PSR) that was filed on May 21.

Peel, a former employee at the Lakin Law Firm in Wood River, was found guilty on four counts of obstruction of justice, bankruptcy fraud and possession of child pornography by a federal jury in East St. Louis on March 23.

He was prosecuted for blackmailing his ex-wife Deborah Peel with nude photos taken of her 16-year-old sister in 1974. He faces up to 40 years in prison plus fines up to $250,000.

Peel was originally scheduled to be sentenced on June 25. On June 6, Phillip Kavanaugh, chief federal public defender, asked Stiehl to delay the sentencing for at least 30 days so that he could file objections to the PSR. Stiehl granted the motion and set a new date for Aug. 3.

However in July, prosecutors asked Stiehl for more time to reply to Peel's objections to the PSR. Stiehl granted that motion and set the sentencing date for Oct. 1.

At the Oct. 1 hearing, Peel asked Stiehl to appoint him a new lawyer so that he could file an appeal arguing that his three federal public defenders were "inadequate."

Stiehl obliged Peel's request and on Oct. 9, appointed Daniel R. Schattnik of East Alton to consult with Peel at $94 an hour. He reset the sentencing for Nov. 1.

At the Nov. 1 hearing, Stiehl relieved Schattnik of his duties after advising Peel that he could not make a direct appeal to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals for ineffective counsel until all other aspects of the trial have been completed.

Peel said he agreed with that advice and indicated he was ready to proceed to the sentencing with his public defenders representing him.

Stiehl also told Peel that during the trial he thought the public defenders were "very diligent" and that they provided Peel a "vigorous defense."

The sentencing is scheduled at 1 p.m.

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