Chicago has a crime problem. And a criminal justice system problem that’s just as bad. In fact, the two go hand in hand as criminals feel emboldened by an utter lack of meaningful consequences to gun criminal behavior. A case this week exemplifies this perfectly.
A drunk father, holding a loaded, stolen 9mm handgun threatens his daughter. There’s even video of the dad pointing the gun at the girl. Thankfully, bystanders restrain the father. Police arrive, arrest dear old dad and confiscate the gun.
Meanwhile in bond court, Cook County Judge Susana Ortiz releases the dad with only a signature promise to return to court. And Cook County wonders why they have a persistent violent crime problem.
CWB Chicago has the story:
An Albany Park man who’s accused of threatening his daughter with a stolen handgun was released on a recognizance bond even though the daughter showed police video footage of the crime, according to police and court records. …
Police were called to the family’s home around 10 p.m. on July 8th after the daughter told a 911 operator that her intoxicated father pulled a gun on her during an argument. Arriving officers were led to a bedroom in the home where the daughter and her mother recovered a loaded 9-millimeter handgun as cops watched from the doorway.
According to police, the daughter showed them cellphone video in which the father is seen in their garage “menacing his daughter” with the handgun, waving the weapon in the air and yelling, “you want to see who the a**hole is?” The father was seen walking toward the daughter in an aggressive manner that caused unnamed witnesses to restrain him, police said.
The daughter said the father later pointed the gun directly at her after she stopped recording because her hands were shaking.
Police secured the gun and contacted the 52-year-old father who surrendered nearby without incident, according to court records.
This case is not an aberration.
CWB Chicago has posted a number of cases similar to this one.
Even worse, on those rare occasions when Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx actually prosecutes an offender and wins a conviction, the sentences frequently don’t involve jail time.
Examples? Try this story from CWB Chicago entitled, “Gun offenders get probation, but he went to prison for breaking ABC7’s camera equipment“:
Recently, 21-year-old Sheldon Graham was in front of [Cook County Judge Timothy] Chambers.
Graham had been charged with multiple weapons counts, including Class X armed violence and possessing a handgun with a defaced serial number after police said they found him with the pistol in a car on the Magnificent Mile last November.
He pled guilty to one count of aggravated unlawful use of a weapon in a vehicle and Chambers sentenced him to two years of “first offender gun probation” and 50 hours of community service. Despite being charged with a Class X felony (the most serious crime category other than murder), Graham was allowed to go free after his arrest by posting a $500 deposit bond.
In theory, a Class X felony carries serious consequences in Illinois. In theory
From Criminal Lawyer Illinois:
The Class X felony is, short of first degree murder, the most serious felony offense on the books in Illinois. Upon a finding of guilt, the court cannot sentence the defendant to probation. The offense has a mandatory minimum sentence of 6-30 years in the Department of Corrections. The judge must sentence the defendant to prison. See 730 ILCS 5/5-8-1(a)(3).
However, in the real world (if Chicago qualifies as such), thanks to a sympathetic State’s Attorney, sentencing requirements are waived by allowing the offender to plead to a minor offense.
Here’s another case from the same story:
A Riverdale man who was found with a gun in his car during a traffic stop in Lakeview last December and allegedly told cops he carries a weapon “because it’s Chicago” was sentenced to one year of court supervision by Haberkorn recently. Valladay went free after his arrest by posting a $150 bond.
He carries a gun “because it’s Chicago.” Priceless.
But my favorite is this one:
Finally, there’s the case of Indianapolis resident Lapre Apple. A group of police officers who were standing in line at a West Loop fast food restaurant noticed that the man standing in front of them—Apple—had a gun with an extended magazine sticking out of his waistband.
The officers secured the handgun and arrested Apple, who said he had a concealed carry license in his home state, but not in Illinois. Police said they found 350 suspected ecstasy pills and $3,202 cash in Apple’s pockets.
Judge Steven Watkins sentenced Apple to 12 months of court supervision after the 21-year-old pled guilty to aggravated unlawful use of a weapon. Prosecutors dropped narcotics charges and three additional weapons charges in the deal.
An illegal gun, 350 ecstasy pills and $3200 in cash in the guy’s pockets. He claims he has a carry license, but can’t manage to produce it. And he gets court supervision as if he got a speeding ticket.
Welcome to Chicago. Where crime has no meaningful consequences for felons. But more gun control is always the solution.