Jason Van Dyke sentence petition, office want the state’s highest court, what we know

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Jason Van Dyke sentence petition, workplace need the state’s highest court docket.

Particular prosecutors and the Illinois lawyer basic’s workplace need the state’s highest court docket to order a resentencing for Jason Van Dyke, a transfer that if granted might end in a a lot harsher jail time period for the previous Chicago police officer convicted within the slaying of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald.

Their petition, filed Monday, doesn’t explicitly goal the size of the 6 3/4-year sentence, which many activists criticized as lenient. However Kane County State’s Lawyer Joseph McMahon, appointed to deal with the Van Dyke case, and Lawyer Basic Kwame Raoul argue that Choose Vincent Gaughan sentenced Van Dyke below improper authorized pointers, and word {that a} considerably longer sentence can be justifiable below state legislation.

“I acknowledge {that a} trial decide’s discretion in sentencing is to be given nice deference,” Raoul stated at a information convention Monday. “Nonetheless, it’s within the curiosity of justice that we do all inside our energy to ensure that such train in discretion be utilized per the mandates of legislation, regardless of who the defendant and regardless of who the sufferer.”

In response, Van Dyke’s attorneys stated the prosecutors’ motivations have been plainly political.

“This case has come to symbolize all of the wrongs, perceived wrongs, of the Chicago Police Division, and it’s fallen upon Jason Van Dyke as an individual,” lawyer Jennifer Blagg stated. “So what he represents politically is why that is occurring.”

Whereas the sentence initially prompted the protection to again off guarantees to enchantment Van Dyke’s conviction, Blagg stated the prosecutors’ petition pressured their hand, and a discover of enchantment was filed Friday.

“Jason and his household very a lot need to put this behind them,” she stated. “He has expressed that he doesn’t desire a new trial, he doesn’t need to undergo that once more. He’s not proud of being convicted, clearly, however the toll this has taken on his household is unbelievable.”

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Van Dyke, 40, was convicted final yr of 1 depend of second-degree homicide and 16 counts of aggravated battery within the 2014 on-duty taking pictures of McDonald. He was sentenced final month to six ¾ years in jail.

Gaughan sentenced Van Dyke solely on the second-degree homicide conviction, ruling that it was the extra critical offense and that the aggravated battery counts ought to “merge” into it for functions of sentencing.

“Is it extra critical for Laquan McDonald to be shot by a firearm or is it extra critical for Laquan McDonald to be murdered by a firearm?” Gaughan requested from the bench earlier than imposing sentence. “Widespread sense involves a simple reply on that on this particular case.”

However the prosecutors’ petition argues that Illinois legislation truly makes aggravated battery with a firearm the extra critical offense, and subsequently the state Supreme Courtroom ought to order Gaughan to resentence the ex-patrol officer on these convictions as an alternative.

The court docket must also direct Gaughan to find out which of the 16 gunshot wounds prompted “extreme bodily harm” and sentence him to consecutive jail phrases for these counts, they state.

Prosecutors have argued that no less than two of the injuries prompted that sort of harm, which, the petition contends, would imply Van Dyke would face a minimal sentence of 18 years: six years for every of these two wounds, plus six extra years for the opposite 14 counts.

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An aggravated battery with a firearm conviction carries a sentence of six to 30 years in jail. The vary for second-degree homicide is 4 to 20 years, however a decide can impose probation as an alternative.

If the state Supreme Courtroom chooses to think about the petition, there are a number of potential outcomes, stated longtime prison protection lawyer Mark Lyon.

“They’ll both need to say, ‘Choose Gaughan, you must resentence this particular person,’ or they need to say (they) have been improper within the case the place they stated second-degree homicide was at all times much less critical than aggravated battery with a firearm,” Lyon stated, referring to a earlier ruling.

The court docket probably might additionally order Gaughan to resentence Van Dyke on the aggravated battery however not make him rule on which of the 16 photographs prompted “extreme bodily harm,” Lyon stated, which might open the door for Gaughan to impose a jail time period the identical because the earlier sentence, or barely shorter.

However even in that situation, Van Dyke would serve barely extra jail time. Inmates convicted of aggravated battery with a firearm should serve no less than 85 % of their sentences — far larger than the 50 % required by a second-degree homicide conviction.

“It’s fairly unlikely that Mr. Van Dyke comes out of this with out some sort of upward modification of his sentence,” Lyon stated. “How a lot, who is aware of.”

Van Dyke’s attorneys plan to file an objection to the prosecutors’ movement. The Supreme Courtroom just isn’t obligated to simply accept the prosecutors’ petition in any respect, and there’s no time-frame by which it should decide.

After the lawyer basic’s workplace final month introduced it was conducting a “evaluation” of the sentence, Van Dyke’s trial lawyer, Daniel Herbert, additionally blasted the choice as politically motivated — an allegation Raoul on Monday stated was “nonsense.”

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“I’m not going to opine on my opinion on the size of the sentence. What I’ll opine on is whether or not or not the legislation needs to be adopted, and I imagine the legislation needs to be adopted,” he stated.

McMahon, who had initially requested a time period of 18 to 20 years in jail, instructed reporters after the sentencing final month that he accepted the decide’s determination.

On Monday, he stated he’s nonetheless glad with the sentence, however after contemplating the authorized foundation of Gaughan’s ruling, he thinks the authorized problem is suitable.

“As now we have had a chance to step again and sort of consider each the legislation and the way the sentence was imposed, we get pleasure from a while and counsel in working with the lawyer basic’s workplace,” he stated. “I believe the larger message on this case is to ensure that the sentence that’s imposed is a sentence that’s lawful.”

Van Dyke shot McDonald in October 2014 because the 17-year-old walked away from police on a Southwest Facet avenue whereas holding a knife. Graphic police dashboard digital camera footage of the taking pictures — ordered launched by a decide greater than a yr later — sparked weeks of chaos and political upheaval, exacerbating the already fraught relationship between Chicago police and minority communities.

Van Dyke’s monthlong jury trial final fall resulted in a historic responsible verdict, making him the primary Chicago police officer in half a century to be convicted of homicide for an on-duty incident.

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