Articles Posted in Sentencing

robert-hickerson-38585-copy-200x30017-year-old Chastinea Reeves pleaded guilty to stabbing her own mother over 60 times. The girl was given a 45-year sentence for the slaying. Her mother, Jamie Garnett was found dead in her home. Reeves was 15 at the time of the murder and she was charged as an adult. The plea avoided the trial and a potential sentence of 65 years in prison had she been convicted of the murder. If she serves the full term, she will be 62 years old when she is released.

The state’s case appeared to the defense to be rock solid. The prosecution had the murder weapon with the victim’s blood on it and what they described as a “perfect” fingerprint. They also had two witnesses who were given plea deals and were willing to testify against Reeves at the trial.

Amber Alert Used to Apprehend Reeves

tertia-van-rensburg-37121-copy-300x224You have to be careful about accepting any kind of a plea. If a deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Just ask Jussie Smollett. He may have gotten off with a slap on the wrist, but now the police department is suing him for money related to the investigation and the federal government still wants to press charges. The original sounded too good to be true, which outraged local politicians and law enforcement.

If you want to hear about an even worse deal, ask Terry Allen who was held behind bars for 32 years without ever being convicted or sentenced of a crime. Allen took was is known as a “civil commitment” plea deal in lieu of facing criminal charges on an alleged sexual assault. He was never sentenced to prison. He was never convicted of a crime. He spent 32 years behind bars.

Again, it sounded like a great deal. Allen was facing several years behind bars when prosecutors offered a plea in lieu of a criminal sentence to voluntarily submit himself to civil commitment. Civil commitment is held aside for those who are deemed a threat to themselves or others but also have serious mental illness. However, civil commitment allows for patients to be detained indefinitely pending the results of a psychiatric evaluation.

javier-villaraco-235574-copy-300x225Having a loved one incarcerated can cause a lot of strain on your relationship, whether you are married, dating, or even if you are divorced. Knowing how to deal with such a circumstance in Chicago can mean the difference between a stressful life and one that is a little bit easier to handle. Today, we will discuss how you can handle dealing with an incarcerated loved one so you can make the proper adjustments for yourself and your family.

Avoid Treating it as a Loss

One of the worst things you can do for yourself and for your loved one in jail is treat this as a loss. You did not lose your loved one. He or she is still alive. You can still talk on the phone, write letters, and physically visit him or her in prison. You cannot mourn this situation like you would the death of a loved one. There is one thing you must know: Others might not offer much support when a loved one is in jail like they would if your loved one had died.

ben-white-194220-copy-300x200Being charged with a crime brings a lot of stress and worry with it. You never know what will come of your case, especially if it goes to trial. Should the case go to trial and you are convicted of the crime, you will then need to attend a sentencing hearing in front of the judge. This is an important hearing because you are learning your fate. You will find out how long you will be sentenced to jail, if any fines will be levied, and if you can avoid any jail time. Here is what you can expect at a sentencing hearing.

The Length of the Hearing

For the most part, the sentencing hearing will not take very long. This is a process that should only last a handful of minutes. All the judge needs to do is read through the pre-sentence report that was created by the probation office. The judge will then listen to arguments made by the criminal defense attorney, the prosecutor, and sometimes the defendant and/or family members of the victim.

sebastian-pichler-25154-copy-300x200At an arraignment, the crimes that you are charged with will be formally read aloud in court. In the Illinois Justice System, you will have this hearing no matter what degree of crime you were charged with (misdemeanor or felony). Here is what you should expect to happen at most standard arraignments.

The Basics

Arraignments should be held within a reasonable time frame, as dictated by the sixth amendment. If an arraignment is set for six months or more after the time of your arrest, your attorney may petition for dismissal.

javier-villaraco-235574-copy-300x225In the news in Chicago recently, you may have seen a promising development about imprisoned citizens getting justice and their freedom after spending many years of their lives behind bars. These individuals received life sentences at an extremely young age. In fact, some were barely 14 years old when they were sentenced to life for crimes committed. As a result, they have spent more years of their life in a prison than in free society.

Yet, with the help of a United States Supreme Court ruling, you have the right to appeal for a reduced sentence for the sentencing you received. Discover below how you can begin the process to have your life prison sentence overturned.

How Appealing a Life Sentence Works

a-l-117960-copy-300x198Law enforcement officers are cracking down heavily on carjacking cases in Chicago. The stiff sentence given to the accused in a violent November carjacking is a prime example. Another similar case of carjacking involved the car of a retired cop in Chicago. There have been several such cases in the past year alone.

Carjacking is increasingly becoming a menace in Chicago. The federal authorities are showing a keen interest in punishing the offenders. This further increases the conviction chances for the offenders.

Carjacking Crimes in Chicago

javier-villaraco-235574-copy-300x225Recently, it has been announced that there is a bill that will allow convicts in Illinois to be released at the 85% point of their sentence. The IDOC Releases 2017 has been long discussed by Congress and in legal circles. Some people will have less time in prison as a result of this change. Others might find that there are much stricter rules for getting released. The change follows a recommendation by the Commission on Criminal Sentencing. The new program is meant to reduce offending over the long term.

Just like any other laws, the people who are already in prison might be affected. Those who are going to commit crimes in the future will definitely be affected. These changes work together with all the other reforms that the government has been putting in place. An example is the gun law reviews, which affected those that are repeat offenders for gun crimes.

Things to Watch Out for if You are Convicted

jack-young-143113-300x200Even when a crime has been committed and a person has been convicted, there are opportunities for that person to get a discharge or reprieve depending on the circumstances. There are cases in which there is a public interest in overturning the verdict, conviction, and sentence as if they never happened at all. This is a separate procedure from a reprieve. It means that the criminal record is essentially expunged and the person continues on as if he or she never committed the crime or went through the court process. This person may even be entitled to compensation for wrongful convictions.

The process we are talking about is when a crime has been proven and the defendant has been sentenced, but he or she then gets a reprieve. This can be at the discretion of the governor of Chicago or even the President of the United States. A board may be convened to consider the institution of pardons and reprieves. A case in point is when President Obama authorized reprieves for a number of convicts who had been given long sentences for relatively minor drug-related offenses on the basis of the three strikes rule.

Implications of the Reprieve of Discharge

antonio-grosz-148540-copy-300x200Today, hate crimes are at the forefront of the struggle to create safe communities for everyone int his country. Those that accused the legislators of political correctness still make their points, but the vast majority of the public recognizes that hate crimes are never acceptable and must be prosecuted with the vigor that they deserve. Chicago is one of the areas that has struggled with a significant upsurge in hate crimes.

The state decided to tackle the problem using a combination of community policing, sensitization, and even outright legislation: the Illinois Hate Crime Act (IHCA), which is summarized under the legislative instrument number 720 ILCS 5/12-7.1. There are many procedures and processes in place that are designed to ensure that a fair and accurate outcome is delivered. This is a response to the historical and long-standing abuses in the criminal justice system, which ensured that many culprits of hate crimes got away with them. At the height of the Civil Rights movements, the Ku Klux Klan was literally enforcing its own version of vigilante justice against those who were deemed to be racially inferior.

Understanding the Imperatives and Implications of the New Regime

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