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home : news : local   May 24, 2016

8/30/2013 12:04:00 AM
Coke dealer won't face appeals judges til '14

Tom Collins
NewsTribune Senior Reporter

OTTAWA — A former Spring Valley man who operated a cocaine ring from a downtown Peru boot shop won’t find out until next spring whether he can get a new prison sentence.
Written briefs have been filed in the appeal of 36-year-old Alejandro Arteaga, who currently is scheduled for release in 2025 after serving back-to-back sentences for dealing cocaine in Bureau and La Salle counties.
Arteaga wants his lawyer to make oral arguments before appellate justices, but the 3rd District Appellate Court says the earliest Arteaga’s lawyer can do that is January.
That means Arteaga won’t learn until at least spring 2014 whether he’ll get a fresh shot at reducing his 16-year sentence from La Salle County.
Arteaga was charged with multiple drug felonies in 2010 following a raid of a downtown Peru boot shop located near city hall. Evidence at Arteaga’s trial would later show the western wear shop was largely a front for a cocaine ring that at one point was issuing a kilogram at a clip.
Arteaga isn’t challenging his conviction; he is, however, challenging his 16-year sentence in Ottawa (a separate appeal of his Princeton conviction was dismissed) on the grounds that Chief Judge H. Chris Ryan Jr. didn’t sentence him properly.
In the final round of briefs, appellate defender Rachel Moran stood by her belief that Arteaga got an “improper double enhancement” when Ryan considered the quantity of cocaine seized.
Moran said the judge also gave too much weight to the fact that Arteaga will be deported after parole. The judge, emphasizing his lack of sympathy, thus failed to consider the hardship prison would have on Arteaga’s family.
“(The) Illinois Legislature decreed that trial courts ‘shall’ consider this factor,” Moran wrote, “and it did not make exceptions for situations where the court felt unsympathetic.”

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