U.S. Appeals Court sets deadlines in Peel case

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The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in Chicago allowed Gary Peel's federal public defender to withdraw from his case.

The Seventh Circuit appointed Paul Camarena of Chicago to replace Stephen Williams of the East St. Louis federal public defender's office on Jan. 25, after Williams filed a motion to withdraw just before Christmas.

Before the appeals court would allow Williams to withdraw, it ordered him to gather all of the transcripts of Peel's trial from Stiehl's court reporter Daveanna Ramsey.

Peel filed his notice of appeal of his final judgment and sentence to the Seventh Circuit on Dec. 4.

He was sentenced to 12 years in prison by U.S. District Court Judge William Stiehl on Nov. 19. He was technically sentenced to 37 years, but Stiehl ordered the time to be served concurrently.

Peel, 63, was convicted on one count of obstruction of justice, one count bankruptcy fraud and two counts of child pornography by a federal jury in East St. Louis on March 23. He was also fined $1,000 and placed on three years supervised release.

Peel was prosecuted for blackmailing his ex-wife Deborah Peel with nude photos taken of her 16-year-old sister in 1974.

He and Deborah Peel were married in 1967 and divorced in 2003. During contentious settlement proceedings Gary Peel filed for bankruptcy in 2004.

At trial, prosecutors told jurors that Peel threatened to bankrupt his ex-wife in legal fees if she did not stop trying to get a deposition of his current wife, Deborah A. Pontious-Peel.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Kevin Burke told the jury that Peel planned to send the nude photos to Deborah Peel's parents if she did not agree to a new divorce settlement.

The Seventh Circuit also set the deadlines for the appeal to be filed.

Peel has to file his written brief and short appendix by April 23. The government has until May 23 to file its brief. If Peel wants to reply to the government's brief, he must submit it no later than June 6.

Peel originally had until Jan. 15 to file his brief, but was allowed more time since Williams withdrew from the case.

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