IL - question about Illinois sentencing laws

Discussion in 'Up to the Minute' started by BillyKunstlerFan, Sep 12, 2015.

  1. BillyKunstlerFan

    BillyKunstlerFan New Member

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    I've watched a lot of forensic files and other crime shows and being the fifth largest state (population wise) you'll find cases that happened in Illinois. From what I know, there was no such thing in the 80s and 90s as life sentences or even provisional life sentences (15-to-life or 20-to-life). You usually got "year" sentences that if you were in your early 20s, you had a good shot of eventual release.

    The earliest crime where someone was given LWOP (in fact that's the only type of life sentence in Illinois) was the Winger/Harrington thing, which was in 2002. Had the law recently been changed? I know that the governor at the time (George Ryan) wanted to end the death penalty, and maybe LWOP became a sort of substitute DP. I think Illinois now has a system similar to Washington (though Washington still has the DP) where a garden variety premeditated crime will get you decades in prison but with a good shot of release and if it has aggravating factors, then that's where you get LWOP.
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  3. al66pine

    al66pine New Member

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    bbm I'll link & copy & paste some info re IL's LWOP, but not vouching for accuracy (without checking actual language of IL statutes, no time now, may have time later). (Gov. Jan 1999- Jan 2003)
    "Ryan received national attention for his ... moratorium on executions in Illinois and for commuting more than 160 death sentences to life sentences in 2003."
    "Capital punishment"Ryan helped to renew the national debate on capital punishment when, as governor, he declared a moratorium on his state's death penalty in 2000."
    Several more paragraphs about Gov Ryan & cases,etc at link.
    includes IL on list of :"Non-Death Penalty States offering Life Without Parole."
    states that IL adopted LWOP sentencing in 1978.
    Since 2007, 6 states have abolished the death penalty; all utilize sentences of life without parole (LWOP). Those states have taken a variety of approaches in amending their laws regarding crimes that were death eligible. The chart below compares how the states address sentencing in those cases.

    - IL abolished death sentence in 2011.
    - "LWOP is a sentencing option for first degree murder."
    - "Not all 1st degree murders are eligible for LWOP. When applicable, LWOP is either discretionary or mandatory depending on the relevant aggravating factors. In cases where it is discretionary, the alternative is a prison term of 20 to 100 years."
    - "Certain statutory aggravating factors or a finding that the murder "was accompanied by exceptionally brutal or heinous behavior, indicative of wanton cruelty." "
    - "
    When seeking LWOP (other than based on a prior conviction), the Illinois "Apprendi fix" statute applies, 725 ILCS 5/111-3(c-5)."
    - "....
    a jury must be unanimous in a sentencing decision for LWOP."


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