Nate Nieman, Attorney at Law

Nate Nieman is a trial and appellate lawyer whose practice focuses on criminal defense and collateral matters. Mr. Nieman’s practice is specifcally geared towards representing criminal defendants in post-trial matters, whether in post-trial motions, post-conviction petitions, or on appeal. Mr. Nieman began his career in the Dekalb County Public Defender’s office and the Office of the State Appellate Defender – Third District before entering private practice in his hometown of the Quad Cities. Mr. Nieman’s law office is located blocks away from the Mississippi River in Rock Island, IL.

Mr. Nieman has published widely on various criminal defense topics. Mr. Nieman has written several articles on criminal law and procedure for the Northern Law Blog and several articles on criminal appellate procedure for the The Brief, which is published by the Illinois Appellate Lawyer’s Association. Mr. Nieman has also published articles in the Kane County Bar Briefs and the ISBA’s Traffic Law and Courts newsletter. Mr. Nieman founded the IPCB to deepen his knowledge of his practice area as it develops and to share those discoveries with readers who have the same interest.

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In People v. Bates, 2019 IL 124143, the Illinois Supreme Court was asked to decide whether statements made by counsel during a hearing on a motion for new trial, stating his surprise at the depth of evidence introduced and admission that he would have had the evidence tested by experts if he’d known the depth, constituted an admission of ineffective assistance of counsel requiring a Krankel hearing. Bates was originally arrested and charged with home invasion, aggravated criminal sexual assault, and other crimes arising from two separate incidents. Id. at ¶ 3. The state alleged crimes against two separate…
The appellant in People v. Fathauer, 2019 IL App (4th) 180241 appealed the trial court’s order dismissing his post-conviction petition on grounds that the court erred by granting post-conviction counsel’s motion to withdraw in light of a stated claim for ineffective assistance of counsel and post-conviction counsel’s failure to amend his pro se petition. The Fourth District Appellate Court affirmed. Fathauer was originally convicted of participation in methamphetamine manufacturing and obstruction of justice, and sentenced to concurrent terms of 20 years and 3 years imprisonment. Id. at ¶ 1. On direct appeal, both his conviction and sentence were affirmed…
The appellant in People v. Downing, 2019 IL App (1st) 170329 appealed the trial court’s decision denying a request made by the State for a Krankel inquiry into alleged ineffective assistance of Downing’s trial counsel. The First District held that, despite an initial answer to the contrary, a Krankel inquiry was necessitated in this case, reversing the judgment of the circuit court, and remanding for Krankel proceedings. Id. at ¶ 4. Downing was found guilty of possession of cannabis with intent to deliver. During his pre-sentence investigation interview, Downing complained of his trial counsel’s performance, which complaints were evidenced…
The appellant in People v. Watkins, 2019 IL App (4th) 180605 appealed the decision of the trial court striking his post-plea motions to withdraw his guilty pleas as untimely and summarily dismissing his post-conviction petition. The Fourth District affirmed the judgments of the trial court because the appellant withdrew his challenges to the dismissal of his post-plea motions and found the post-conviction petition to be frivolous and patently without merit. Id. at ¶ 2. Watkins entered negotiated guilty pleas for unlawful possession of a controlled substance with the intent to deliver it, for which he received two consecutive six-year terms…
The appellant in People v. Cathey, 2019 IL App (1st) 153118, appealed the decision of the trial court dismissing two petitions seeking relief from convictions, on grounds that the court erred by dismissing his petition filed pursuant to section 2-1401 of the Code of Civil Procedure attacking his convictions under the one-act, one-crime rule. Appellant further contended that his petition “in nature of writ of error coram nobis” sufficiently stated a claim of actual innocence (based on planted evidence) and that his plea was obtained under threat of physical harm to him and his family. The First District affirmed…
The appellant in People v. Cook, 2019 IL App (1st) 161428, appealed the trial court’s denial of his pro se “Motion for New Trial for Newly Discovered Evidence, State’s Miscarriage of Justice for Withholding Evidence in Defendants Judicial Proceedings.” Cook contended that the court erred in re-characterizing his motion as a successive post-conviction petition and denying him leave to file it without first notifying him and giving him an opportunity to withdraw or amend it. The appellate court agreed and vacated the trial court’s order and remanded to give Cook the requisite notice and opportunity to withdraw or amend…
The appellant in People v. Morrow, 2019 IL App (1st) 161208, appealed the decision of the trial court denying him leave to file a successive post-conviction petition on grounds that his appellate counsel was ineffective for failing to ask the court to remand for re-sentencing following the vacation of his armed robbery conviction. The appellate court ultimately affirmed the trial court’s order. Morrow was convicted of murder and armed robbery after a jury trial and sentenced to concurrent terms of 60 years imprisonment for murder and 20 years for armed robbery. On direct appeal, the appellate court affirmed appellant’s…
The appellant in People v. Carlisle, 2019 IL App (1st) 162259, appealed the trial court’s order dismissing his pro se petition for post-conviction relief as frivolous and patently without merit on grounds that the petition stated the gist of a constitutional claim of ineffective assistance of appellate counsel. Id. at ¶ 2. The appellate court was unable to find that trial or appellate counsel was ineffective and therefore affirmed the decision of the trial court. Prior to engaging in their review of the claims brought by appellant, the appellate court noted that any defendant raising a claim concerning appellate…
The petitioner in People v. Custer, 2019 IL 123339, requested the Illinois Supreme Court to extend procedures and protections established in People v. Krankel to claims of unreasonable assistance by post-conviction counsel in proceedings under the Post Conviction Hearing Act. Ultimately, the Supreme Court declined the invitation to expand its application of Krankel. Custer was initially charged with unlawful possession of a controlled substance. Custer entered an open guilty plea to the charge. Prior to sentencing, petitioner was arrested again and charged with unlawful possession of a weapon by a felon, aggravated assault, unlawful use of a weapon, and…
The appellant in People v. Todd, 2019 IL App (3d) 170153 appealed the trial court’s order summarily dismissing his pro se post-conviction petition on the grounds that the court erred because the petition presented an arguable claim of ineffective assistance of counsel. The Appellate Court of Illinois Third District affirmed the decision of the Circuit Court of Whiteside County. Todd entered an open plea to one count of unlawful delivery of a controlled substance, which was accepted by the court. Prior to sentencing, the State produced a pre-sentence investigation report (PSI) which stated that Todd had five prior felony…
The Illinois Supreme Court granted petitions for leave to appeal in a slate of interesting post-conviction cases on September 25, 2019. This means that the court has agreed to hear these appeals, and that its decision in these cases will be binding on all lower appellate and trial courts. People v. Green, 2019 IL App (2d) 160217-U (link to original opinion) Defendant argued that the trial court erred by denying his post-conviction petition because he established that defense counsel had a per se conflict of interest where counsel previously represented the intended victim of the murder, and defendant neither knew…
The appellant in Williams v. Dorethy, 2019 IL App (3d) 180135 appealed the decision of the trial court dismissing his mandamus petition sua sponte, on the grounds the court erred in doing so. Ultimately, the Third District reversed the trial court and remanded. Keith Williams filed a pro se request for leave to file a mandamus petition against the defendants related to various violations and/or abuses of prison policies by HCC administration and staff, while incarcerated. Id. at ¶ 3. Two days later, the trial court allowed the petition to be filed, but dismissed the petition prior to any of the named defendants…
The appellant in People v. Wesley, 2019 IL App (1st) 170442, appealed the trial court’s order dismissing his post-conviction petition at the first stage of post-conviction proceedings, on the grounds that he was denied due process and effective assistance of counsel by both his trial and appellate counsel. The appellate court affirmed. Terrell Wesley was charged and convicted of first degree murder for a 2008 shooting outside a grocery store in Maywood, Illinois. At his 2010 bench trial, Wesley was only identified by one witness, Jason Ervin, who testified that he’d seen Wesley leaving the store, walking backwards, and…
The appellant in People v. Ramsey, 2019 IL App (3d) 160759, appealed the trial court’s order dismissing his post-conviction petition at the second stage of post-conviction proceedings, on grounds that the court erred by ruling, among other things, that an executive commutation could not be judicially reviewed. Ultimately, Third District affirmed. Daniel Ramsey was convicted on two counts of first-degree murder, three counts of attempted murder, one count of aggravated criminal sexual assault, one count of home invasion, and one count of residential burglary. At the time Ramsey committed the crimes, he was 18 years old. Ramsey initially received the…
The appellant in People v. Ryburn, 2019 ILL App (4th) 170779, appealed the trial court’s decision dismissing his successive post-conviction petition at the second stage of proceedings. The Fourth District ultimately reversed the dismissal of the petition and remanded the case for further proceedings. Ryburn was originally charged with four counts of aggravated criminal sexual assault, four counts of criminal sexual assault, and four counts of aggravate criminal sexual abuse for his actions on September 8, 1998. Ryburn pled guilty to three counts of aggravated criminal sexual assault, pursuant to a plea agreement, in exchange for the State’s dismissal…
The appellant in People v. Ames, 2019 IL App (4th) 170569 appealed the trial court’s order denying’s his second motion for leave to file a successive post-conviction petitio on the grounds that the circuit court erred by allowing the State to respond to the motion. Ultimately, the Appellate Court of Illinois Fourth District affirmed the decision of the Circuit Court of Sangamon County. Ames was convicted of one count of home invasion and two counts of aggravated criminal sexual assault and sentenced to consecutive terms of 28 years of imprisonment for home invasion and 6 years each for aggravated…