News and Press Releases

Conviction and Sentence of Former Madison County Attorney Affirmed

February 7, 2012

Stephen R. Wigginton, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, announced today that on February 6, 2012, the conviction and sentence of former Madison County attorney Gary E. Peel, 67, was affirmed by a panel of the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals.

Peel had been convicted by a jury of various federal crimes in March, 2007. On his first appeal, the Court ordered that Peel be re-sentenced on some counts, but did not disturb the conviction for possession of child pornography (dealing with Peel’s use of explicit photographs taken of his then underage sister-in-law). Peel was re-sentenced on August 1, 2011. At that time, Peel was again given a term totaling 144 months in prison.

The Seventh Circuit, in its opinion, noted, “When one considers the ugliness of the defendant’s criminal affair with his 16-year old sister-in-law, the gross impropriety of his making and retaining (for decades) nude photographs of her, his use of those photographs to blackmail the girl’s sister (his ex-wife), the very large financial gain he anticipated from the blackmail, the fact that he is a lawyer, the effrontery of his allocution, and the fact that we had already upheld his 10-year sentence for possession and distribution of child pornography, we can find no basis for criticizing the sentence that the judge re-imposed, let alone for vacating it.”

“Do not think that you can hide behind a law license, or any position you may hold. I will vigorously prosecute anyone who would prey on children, no matter what their motive.” said United States Attorney Wigginton.












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