Anton Carter yawned and smirked after the judge told him he would be spending the rest of his life in prison for the murder of off-duty Chicago police officer Michael Bailey. The prosecution argued that Carter knew Bailey was a cop, which made the life sentence mandatory according to Illinois statutes. The judge in the case, Stanley Sacks, delivered a scathing rebuke of Carter, who at times looked bored at his sentencing hearing. The outcome of the sentencing was already predetermined by statute. Those convicted of murdering a police officer knowingly must face a mandatory life sentence. The judge noted that in some cases, mandatory sentencing parameters are unfair. In the case of Carter, Sacks made no such allowance.
Meanwhile, Bailey’s family spoke of forgiveness and appeared to make allowances for Carter who, they said, “never had a chance” in life. The family did say that the sentence helped them gain closure and that they can now move on with their lives.
Understanding the Law
720 ILCS 5/9-1 requires sentences in cases of those who are convicted of first-degree murder of a peace officer to be at least life imprisonment. In other cases, those convicted of first-degree murder of a police officer can be sentenced to death in Illinois. However, there are certain conditions that must be met.
In order to trigger a mandatory minimum of life in prison, the peace officer must be in the line of duty or prevent the peace officer from carrying out his duty. Additionally, the defendant either knew or should have known (ie: a reasonable person would have known) that the individual was a police officer. If these conditions are met, then the law must impose a mandatory minimum sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.
The jury had already decided that Carter knew that Bailey was a cop as he was wearing his uniform, so the sentencing was just a formality. However, Bailey was not on duty at the time of the accident. The prosecution successfully argued that Carter targeted Bailey because he was a police officer, which was enough to trigger the mandatory minimum sentencing.
In addition to police officers, this statute also applies to corrections officers, firefighters, or employees of any institution run and operated by the government.
Prosecutors said that Carter approached Bailey outside of his home and attempted to steal his car. Carter had priors for robbery and carjacking. The result was a shoot out. Bailey emptied his gun but was hit three times. Bailey bought the Buick for himself as a retirement present. He was set to retire in a few weeks’ time.
Talk to a Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney Today
If you have been charged with a serious crime like murder, you will need a criminal defense attorney who understands how the system works. Contact David Freidberg today at (312) 560-7100 or talk to us online for more information.