CHICAGO (CBS) — In a rare move, a push on Monday to get a new, tougher prison sentence for former Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke.
CBS 2’s Jim Williams reports it’s unusual because it’s coming from the state’s top attorney.
When Judge Vincent Gaughan sentenced former Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke to seven years in prison for killing teenager Laquan McDonald, Chicago activists were outraged. They called the punishment lenient.
It appears they have an ally in Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul.
“This is the first step in asking the court to declare that the trial court improperly sentenced Jason Van Dyke for the murder and aggravated battery of Laquan McDonald,” said Raoul.
He and the special prosecutor in the Van Dyke case, Joseph McMahon, are asking the Illinois Supreme Court to order a new sentencing hearing.
Raoul and McMahon argue Gaughn should have sentenced Van Dyke on 16 counts of aggravated battery, not just on the second degree murder conviction.
“Ultimately it was to make sure that all the law was followed in all aspects. And this step by the attorney general and I is our effort to make sure that the law is applied equally to this case like it has been to every other case,” McMahon said.
Still, right after Vaughn handed down the sentence, McMahon appeared pleased with the outcome.
“This is a significant sentence. I and this team are satisfied,” said McMahon back in January.
On Monday, the lawyer handling Van Dyke’s appeal said politics is behind Raoul and McMahon’s petition.
“It’s ironic because the attorney general ran for office based in part on his record of reforming the criminal justice system, including sentencing reform. Now in essence he turns his back on everything that he stood for,” said appeals attorney for Van Dyke, Jennifer Blagg.
The second degree murder conviction was more serious Judge Vincent Gaughan said when he handed down the sentence on that offense.
But legal experts argue if the judge had sentenced Van Dyke on the 16 counts of aggravated battery, Van Dyke’s prison term would be much longer.