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Criminal Law: Heavy Hitters Call for Stiffer Gun Penalties

Criminal Law is undergoing changes in Illinois and heavy hitters from Chicago are taking their positions to the law makers.  Mayor Emanuel, State Attorney Alvarez, and Superintendent McCarthy are to address the legislature and purpose stiffer gun penalties.  Some of the topics that are being addressed are the mandatory jail time provisions for first offenders, raising the minimum sentences for gun offenses, and changing the truth in sentencing law, which now allows for those convicted to only serve 50% of their sentence, to having them serve 85% of the sentence imposed. 

Gun laws have undergone a number of changes over the last several years.  in 2009 a law was passed that made it a mandatory minimum of 3 years in the penitentiary for gang members convicted of the criminal law Unlawful Use of Weapons statute.  In 2011 mandatory minimum sentences took full effect for most other weapons charges doing away with the option of a person receiving probation.  Also in question is whether under the new mandatory penitentiary sentencing laws the boot camp program is a viable sentence for offenders.  The boot camp program is a 120 to 160 day alternative sentence which incorporates physical activity and discipline in order to rehabilitate offenders.  Upon successful completion of the program a defendant does not carry out the remainder of their sentence.  Some are arguing that the boot camp program is not really a penitentiary sentence and there fore should be disqualified as a potential sentencing option for violators that are convicted of charges which carry mandatory penitentiary time.

One thing is for certain, in the wake of the current gun violence, locally and internationally, there will be changes made to the state and local laws.

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