(Antonio Perez/Chicago Tribune via AP, Pool, File)

Illinois High Court Lets Van Dyke Sentence Stand

March 19, 2019 - 6:05 pm

CHICAGO (AP) – The Illinois Supreme Court has let stand a less than seven-year prison sentence for a white Chicago police officer convicted of killing black teenager Laquan McDonald that some critics characterized as lenient.

A Tuesday decision denies a bid by the Illinois attorney general's office and a special prosecutor to resentence Jason Van Dyke.

Jurors in October convicted Van Dyke for second-degree murder and 16 counts of aggravated battery. Second-degree murder carries a maximum 20-year prison term. Each count of aggravated battery carries up to 30 years.

The February request focused on highly legalistic issues surrounding sentencing guidelines.

Related: Jury Convicts Jason Van Dyke Of Second-Degree Murder

Cook County Judge Vincent Gaughan sentenced Van Dyke for second-degree murder only. Van Dyke likely would have received a stiffer sentence if he'd been sentenced on the 16 counts of battery.

A lawyer for Van Dyke he's "extremely pleased" with the decision.

In an emailed statement, attorney Dan Herbert said he hopes the court's decision "will strike a fatal blow" for what he called "the political exploitation" of McDonald's death.

Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul has previously denied politics ever entered into the decision to seek a new sentencing hearing.

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