* Background is here if you need it. From WBEZ…
Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul and Special Prosecutor Joseph McMahon had what they say was a “productive” phone call on Monday about possibilities for challenging the sentence of Jason Van Dyke, the former Chicago police officer convicted of murder in Laquan McDonald’s killing.
The sentence, handed down last month, would allow Van Dyke’s release from prison in as few as three years. Police accountability advocates have characterized that penalty as far too lenient.
Raoul and McMahon “are both continuing their review and will make a decision on next steps once they have finished their review,” the attorney general’s spokeswoman Annie Thompson said after the call.
Chris Nelson, a McMahon spokesman, said the call lasted 45 minutes and was the first conversation about the case between the attorney general and special prosecutor.
An option previously raised by McMahon is asking the Illinois Supreme Court to overturn the sentencing.
“This is part of the process to decide whether to go forward with a challenge to the sentence,” [McMahon’s spokesman] Christopher Nelson said.
McMahon has said he plans to decide by March 1 on whether to petition the state Supreme Court to file a writ of mandamus, which is an order that would send the case back to Gaughan for a new, likely longer, prison sentence.
Civil rights activists and Laquan McDonald’s family have called for a harsher sentence for Van Dyke, who was convicted in the teen’s death in early October. Van Dyke could be released in fewer than four years with credit for good behavior. Raoul, a former state senator from Chicago who was sworn in days before the sentencing hearing, had said his office was reviewing whether state law mandated a stiffer sentence for Van Dyke.
Nelson said McMahon, who is the state’s attorney for Kane County, had called for Monday’s conference call.