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Prison sentence reduced  for Waukegan man

Freddie Ramirez

Freddie Ramirez

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Updated: January 20, 2013 6:20AM

A former Waukegan man was able to reduce his prison term by half when he took a plea deal Tuesday before Circuit Judge Victoria Rossetti.

Freddie Ramirez, 31, had filed a post-conviction petition alleging that he took a plea deal for the Nov. 13, 2000, shooting of Victor Chavez based on bad advice from his now-deceased attorney Barbara Cahn.

He took 34 years for the shooting death. Some of the evidence against him was taken from his own mother, who wore a wire while he was behind bars for an unrelated weapons charge in 2001.

His mother recorded her son’s confession to the shooting.

“We believe there was some truth to (Ramirez’s) allegation regarding ineffective council,” Assistant State’s Attorney Stephen Scheller said after Tuesday’s court hearing.

Ramirez’s post-conviction petition was granted. His first-degree murder conviction was vacated as was his 34-year sentence. He instead pleaded guilty to aggravated battery with a firearm and was sentenced to 20 years in prison.

However, Rossetti said he will serve that at 85 percent, meaning he will only serve 17 years in prison.

He also will get credit for every day he has been in prison since he was first incarcerated July 19, 2001, Rossetti said.

“We think it was a fair disposition. He’s taking responsibility for what he did,” Scheller said.

Ramirez’s mother misrepresented to her son why she was visiting him when she obtained his confession, defense attorney David Weinstein said.

“She held herself as being my agent, saying his attorney needs to know what happened. She had some criminal issues of her own,” Weinstein said.

Scheller said there were question as to whether or not using the recording violated Ramirez’s Constitutional rights.

Chavez, 23, of Waukegan was shot to death after he answered the door at his apartment in the 700 block of Walnut Street, Waukegan. He was shot four times.

Ramirez admitted to firing a handgun in that shooting when he pleaded guilty to aggravated battery with a firearm.

He will be finished serving his time in about five and a half years.

“This is very good for my client. He’s happy with this resolution,” Weinstein said.

Ramirez is in custody at Lake County Jail awaiting transport to Illinois Department of Corrections.

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