The Illinois Supreme Court on Tuesday denied a bid to resentence former Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke in the murder of Laquan McDonald.
Attorney General Kwame Raoul and Special Prosecutor Joseph McMahon filed a petition with the court in February seeking a new sentencing hearing for Van Dyke.
Cook County Judge Vincent Gaughan gave Van Dyke 81 months behind bars in January. A jury in October found Van Dyke guilty of second-degree murder and 16 counts of aggravated battery with a firearm.
The judge chose to sentence Van Dyke only on the second-degree murder count, finding it to be the more serious crime. Raoul and McMahon challenged that decision in their petition. […]
Meanwhile, Van Dyke’s lawyers filed a notice of appeal in anticipation of the petition from Raoul and McMahon. His lawyers later suggested they would drop it if the high court declined to get involved. If it did get involved, it would “open a Pandora’s box” of legal issues that Van Dyke could raise in an appeal of trial decisions, his conviction and the sentence.
That Van Dyke notice is here.
* From Justice Thomas Kilbride’s partial concurrence and dissent…
Fundamentally, this matter involves a dispute on discretionary sentencing issues that are not suitable for resolution in an action seeking mandamus or prohibition relief. Consequently, petitioners’ motion seeking leave to file a petition for writ of mandamus or prohibition should be denied. See People ex rel. Birkett v. Konetski (recognizing that the extraordinary remedy of mandamus relief is not available for discretionary matters).
In my opinion, however, the controversy here presents an important issue that warrants the exercise of this court’s supervisory authority. Notably, respondent, the trial judge, expressly relied on an argument made by a dissenting justice in People v. Lee. Without question, that dissent does not represent the law in Illinois. […]
Under these circumstances, I believe this court should enter a supervisory order directing the trial court to vacate its final sentencing judgment and resentence Van Dyke in accordance with the applicable sentencing law, including this court’s relevant decisions.
Justice P. Scott Neville dissented in full.