Stephen Chicoine has devoted many hours for many years to helping others. He is active in his church and a member of the Mission & Compassion team. Mr. Chicoine has worked at several nonprofit organizations in the Twin Cities, including Twin Cities Urban Reconciliation Network (TURN), Source Ministries and Scholarship America. He also was indicted in 2007 by a federal grand jury in California on charges of mail and wire fraud, and conspiracy to commit money laundering. In December 2008, a jury acquitted him of all charges.
This past January, Mr. Chicoine shared his experience in the criminal justice system with law students at the University of St. Thomas School of Law, in a talk entitled, “Justice for Whom?: The Unforeseen Collateral Consequences of Being Indicted, Tried and Acquitted of Federal Criminal Charges.” With his attorney, Bill Michael of Dorsey & Whitney LLP, Mr. Chicoine spoke to a large group of UST Law students about the government’s lengthy investigation, his trial, and what it meant to be finally exonerated by twelve fellow citizens.
Mr. Chicoine credits his faith and his family for seeing him through the biggest test of his life. Although he was found not guilty of all charges more than 18 months ago, Mr. Chicoine continues to struggle to rebuild his reputation and to find gainful employment. As he spoke, it was evident to students that upholding his personal ethics and morals have been and remain essential to Mr. Chicoine’s daily life. In sharing his story with others, he offers a cautious reminder to all about the importance of an attorney in defending our constitutional rights and the need for prosecutors to conduct a thorough investigation and build a solid case before charging someone with a crime.
This post was written by Alexandra Campion, a 1L at the University of St. Thomas School of Law and a research assistant for the Holloran Center for Ethical Leadership in the Professions.