CHICAGO — Prosecutors in Illinois are difficult the jail sentence of Jason Van Dyke, the Chicago police officer who was convicted final yr of killing Laquan McDonald and sentenced to just about seven years in jail, a time period that was criticized by many in Chicago as too lenient.
In a petition filed Monday, Lawyer Basic Kwame Raoul and Joseph McMahon, the particular prosecutor in Mr. Van Dyke’s trial, requested the Illinois Supreme Courtroom to assessment whether or not the sentence, after a conviction of second-degree homicide, was correct underneath the legislation.
“This is a question of whether the law was followed and whether a sentence was rendered on the appropriate charges,” Mr. Raoul, a Democrat who took workplace final month, stated at a information convention on Monday, including: “That is not a political question. That is a question of law.”
At situation is whether or not Mr. Van Dyke, who was additionally convicted of 16 counts of aggravated battery with a firearm for every of the 16 photographs he fired, needs to be sentenced for the aggravated batteries, which might end in a considerably longer jail time period. Underneath his present sentence, solely for the second-degree homicide conviction, he may very well be launched from jail in as little as three years.
Choose Vincent Gaughan dominated that he issued a sentence solely on the second-degree homicide cost as a result of it was extra severe than the aggravated battery counts.
The prosecutors’ petition asks the Supreme Courtroom to vacate Mr. Van Dyke’s sentence for second-degree homicide and impose a sentence on every of the 16 counts of aggravated battery with a firearm.
Prosecutors had initially requested the decide to situation a sentence of at the very least 18 years in jail.
Darren O’Brien and Jennifer Blagg, Mr. Van Dyke’s legal professionals, stated in a joint assertion that the petition was politically motivated, and that given the efforts to revisit Mr. Van Dyke’s jail time period, he would now attraction his conviction. Mr. Van Dyke had earlier indicated that he was happy along with his sentence.
The prosecutors “seek to turn the Illinois Supreme Court from a deliberative body into a political battleground,” the assertion stated. “The filing also opens up a Pandora’s box of legal issues that, in the long term, could result in grossly excessive, unjust sentences for defendants that follow in the wake of this request.”
After the sentence was issued final month, Mr. McMahon, the particular prosecutor, had gave the impression to be happy, saying on the time that “justice was served for Jason Van Dyke.”
“It strikes a balance between holding Jason Van Dyke accountable and also recognizing his service as a police officer,” he stated.
On Monday, Mr. McMahon stated that he has had “the benefit of some time” in contemplating whether or not to problem the sentence.
“I think the bigger message in this case is to make sure that the sentence that is imposed is a sentence that is lawful,” he stated.
Mr. McMahon stated that this was the one authorized avenue to problem the legality of the sentence. He added that he believed that Laquan’s household was supportive of the prosecutors’ efforts.
“Whatever the outcome, she would like this process to be over,” he stated of Laquan’s mom, Tina Hunter.
Mr. Van Dyke, who’s white, shot and killed Laquan in October 2014 on the Southwest Aspect of Chicago because the black teenager walked down the road, carrying a pocketknife and ignoring officers’ orders to cease. A grainy video of Laquan’s loss of life, recorded from the dashboard of a police automotive, was ultimately launched to the general public, setting off widespread condemnation and protests.
Mr. Van Dyke was the primary Chicago police officer in nearly 50 years to be convicted of homicide.
There isn’t any deadline for the Supreme Courtroom to resolve whether or not to think about the petition. If it agrees to think about the petition, Mr. Van Dyke’s legal professionals may have one week to file an objection.