Illinois AG Reviewing Legality of Van Dyke Sentencing, Office Says

“We are going to do a careful review of the record and the law and make a determination based on our review,” the statement read

Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul is looking into the legality of the sentence for Jason Van Dyke, less than one week after the former Chicago Police Officer was given 81 months in prison for the fatal shooting of Laquan McDonald. 

In a statement, a spokesperson for Raoul’s office said “we are reviewing this matter.”

“We are going to do a careful review of the record and the law and make a determination based on our review,” the statement read.

Judge Vincent Gaughan sentenced Van Dyke to nearly seven years in prison last week.

Before deciding on a sentence, Gaughan first had to determine if the case fell under the “one act, one crime” doctrine, allowing Van Dyke to be sentenced on only the more serious of the two crimes he was charged with. Van Dyke was convicted of second-degree murder and aggravated battery in a trial last year.

Prosecutors, citing precedent, argued if Van Dyke was sentenced for only one of the two charges, it should be for the aggravated battery charge, which carried a higher sentence.

Defense attorneys countered that second-degree murder was the appropriate charge, despite the possibility of probation.

Ultimately, Gaughan chose to sentence Van Dyke for second-degree murder, giving him the 81-month sentence.

“Is it more serious for Laquan McDonald to be shot by a firearm or is it more serious for Laquan McDonald to be murdered by a firearm?” Gaughan said while making his ruling.

As the hearing came to an end, special prosecutor Joseph McMahon said the case "from the beginning has been a tragedy."

"We know that no sentence will bring back Laquan McDonald or undo the hurt to his family and friends, just like no sentence will fix the concerns of the African-American community in this city, cities like Aurora, cities like Elgin and Rockford and across this country," he said.

Despite being disappointed he didn’t get probation, Van Dyke’s defense said they “truly felt great.”

Defense attorney Dan Herbert called Raoul's admission that his office is reviewing the sentence "disappointing."

“The defense filed publicly Jason Van Dyke's sentencing memorandum which set forth all the legal reasons why the sentence had to be on second degree murder and not aggravated battery,” Herbert said in a statement. “The Illinois Attorney General could have filed an amicus brief in response to our arguments. He did not. Now he suddenly has concerns after the sentencing in the wake of some public outcry. This is about politics not the law.”

Raoul’s office did not state if they agreed or disagreed with the sentencing.

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