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Jessica Elsayed

Other Cook County Exonerations with Official Misconduct
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On October 7, 2011, Schaumburg police officers Terrance O’Brien and Matthew Hudak made a traffic stop on Roselle Road in Schaumburg, Illinois pulling over a car driven by Daniel Elsayed. The officers ordered Elsayed and his 21-year-old sister Jessica Elsayed out of the car.

The officers arrested Jessica Elsayed and reported that they found 37 Ecstasy pills and 65 grams of marijuana in her purse. Elsayed denied she had any drugs in her purse and claimed the officers planted them. Daniel was not charged.

In October 2011, a hearing was held on a defense motion to suppress the drugs as evidence. Daniel testified that he pulled over after seeing flashing red and blue lights on an unmarked car. When he stopped, Hudak and O’Brien—whom Daniel recognized as police officers who worked in plainclothes on drug investigations—emerged and were quickly joined by other police officers who also were in plain clothes.

Hudak testified that after following Daniel for two or three miles, he saw Daniel make a motion toward the center console and then stopped Daniel for failing to use a turn signal. Hudak said Daniel told him there was marijuana in the console and Hudak said he found some marijuana there.

The judge ruled the traffic stop was valid, but that the prosecution had failed to show that there was probable cause to arrest Jessica.

The prosecution then called Hudak’s partner, O’Brien, who testified that when he asked Jessica if she was carrying anything illegal, she said she had marijuana and Ecstasy in her purse—which he found when he opened up the purse.

The judge then denied Jessica’s motion to suppress the evidence. The judge found the officers’ testimony credible and that the officers, “having found marijuana, could inquire of the passenger (Jessica) if she had any illegal substances.”

As a result of the ruling, Jessica pled guilty on May 7, 2012, to possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver. She was sentenced to probation.

In January 2013, Hudak, O’Brien and another Schaumburg police officer, John Cichy, were indicted on corruption charges alleging they stole drugs and money from drug dealers and then funneled the drugs back onto the streets. The investigation of the officers began after nine ounces of cocaine were found in a storage shed in Carol Stream, Illinois, a Chicago suburb near Schaumburg. The investigation led to an informant who told authorities he was selling cocaine that the officers had supplied to him. All three officers immediately resigned.

Hudak pled guilty and was sentenced to 26 years in prison. O'Brien pled guilty and was sentenced to 24 years in prison. Cichy was still awaiting trial in June 2016.

In August 2013, Jessica filed a motion to withdraw her guilty plea based on the convictions of Hudak and O’Brien. On October 25, 2013, the motion was granted and the prosecution dismissed the charge.

Jessica later filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the officers and the Schaumburg police department, but the lawsuit was dismissed.

– Maurice Possley

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Posting Date: 6/23/2016
State:Illinois
County:Cook
Most Serious Crime:Drug Possession or Sale
Additional Convictions:
Reported Crime Date:2011
Convicted:2012
Exonerated:2013
Sentence:Probation
Race:Caucasian
Sex:Female
Age at the date of crime:21
Contributing Factors:Perjury or False Accusation, Official Misconduct
Did DNA evidence contribute to the exoneration?:No