A former member of the Common Council for the city of Milwaukee just finished serving a sentence in federal prison and has already reported to a correctional facility in Franklin, Wisconsin, for another term behind bars -- this time on state charges. The 43-year-old man had just two days of freedom in between his sentences, which were handed down after he was convicted of a number of crimes.
The former alderman was convicted by a grand jury in October 2008 of soliciting and accepting bribes. He was also accused of using his political power to gain cash, food and cellphones from business owners by using his connections to the liquor licensing board. He was sentenced to 6.5 years in federal prison and ordered to pay restitution. Not long after receiving his sentence he appeared in state court, where he pleaded no contest to lying to an elections official and violating court orders in another matter.
The man's term in the state correctional facility does have some advantages. He is eligible for work release and may be allowed to help care for his children. But his efforts to renew his driver's license once he left federal prison were unsuccessful. He believes this is because he has held a driver's license under a different name. The details are complicated, but he admitted to previously making up a Social Security number so he could get a new license. In his recent request, he explained that it would be much more difficult for him to pay restitution without employment, and that he needed a driver's license in order to get a job. There's no word on whether he'll be granted a valid license while he serves his state sentence.
As this case demonstrates, moving on from a federal criminal conviction is a long and arduous process. There's no telling when this man will be able to find work that will help pay his restitution and support his family. But at least he's making efforts to regain small amounts of freedom. Reconnecting with his family and finding work would be two major victories that the court and prospective employers would look upon favorably in the future, allowing him to resume as stable a life as possible.
Source: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Ex-Ald. Michael McGee Jr. leaves federal prison, to start state term," John Diedrich, Jan. 24, 2013
- Our firm works with those who are facing federal court charges. To learn more about our practice, please visit our Wisconsin criminal defense page.