A panel of the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld the conviction and sentence of a former lawyer with the Lakin Law Firm. Gary E. Peel was originally convicted of various federal crimes in March of 2007, and was given a 12-year sentence shortly after. He appealed, and last August was again given a term totaling 144 months in prison. Earlier this week, the panel affirmed that decision.
Among the crimes Peel is serving time for is possession of child pornography. More than 3 decades ago, he took pictures of his then-wife's 16-year old sister, with whom he was having an affair. He held on to the photos, and tried to use them against the ex-wife in an attempt to keep her from giving a deposition to the woman he was married to in 2005. In its opinion, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals referenced "the ugliness of the defendant's criminal affair with his 16-year old sister-in-law," "the gross impropriety of his making and retaining (for decades) nude photographs of her, his use of those photographs to blackmail the girl's sister (his ex-wife)," and "the very large financial gain he anticipated from the blackmail." United States Attorney Stephen Wiggington followed up by stating "Do not think that you can hide behind a law license, or any position you may hold."