Questionable ties between FBI agents and probation officers preceded Thursday’s decision by Cook County prosecutors to dismiss felony gun charges against a Chicago man Thursday, the Chicago Tribune reports.
Orangelo Payne, 34, was on probation for felony possession of marijuana when his probation officer turned up at Payne’s home with an FBI agent in tow. Using the probation as a pretext to search his apartment, he said an FBI agent squeezed him for information about a murder suspect, and a shotgun was found.
Before Payne could even challenge the charge in court, State Attorney Anita Alvarez declined to pursue the weapons charge.
Instead of facing up to decades in prison, he was charged with a lesser count that will allow for his release from jail within a few days, the Tribune reported.
“They dropped the charges because they didn’t want to air dirty laundry in open court,” Payne’s lawyer, J. Scott Arthur, said. “Under the ruse of probation officers conducting curfew checks, law enforcement is tagging along and illegally gaining access to homes.”