Should The National Guard Help Tame Chicago Violence? - The Chicago Criminal Law Blog

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Should The National Guard Help Tame Chicago Violence?

NBC Chicago likens the city's unfortunate rash of violent crime to the lawless dystopia of Stanley Kubrick's film "A Clockwork Orange," in which gangs terrorize ordinary citizens after chugging drug-laced milk. While that comparison may seem a bit extreme, it isn't too far off to call much of the Windy City a war zone.

That's why some state lawmakers are calling for the National Guard troops to be mobilized to help clean up the city's meanest streets. The fact that they already are busy fighting wars in the Middle East is not lost on Rep. John Fritchey (D-Chicago), who told reporters that the daily violence in Chicago is just as deadly:

"Is this a drastic call to action? Of course it is. But is it warranted when we are losing residents to gun violence at such an alarming rate? Without question."

But how does state and federal criminal law define the law enforcement rules and procedures for Guardsmen in a domestic environment?

An Illinois criminal attorney likely would look for procedural hiccups associated with such a deployment. According to an AOL News story, Chicago Police Superintendent Jody Weis expressed concern that troops are not trained in executing warrants or preserving evidence and that their actions actually could hurt law enforcement efforts: 

"As much as I'd like to have as much help as possible, I am not sure mixing the National Guard with local law enforcement is the solution. The military doesn't work under the same US constitutional amendments that law enforcement does."

Englewood resident Jacqueline Hamilton, interviewed WBBM-TV, expressed similar concerns and asked rhetorically if they would institute "martial law or something."

But Chicago and Illinois are broke. Meanwhile, 113 people already have been killed in the city this year; that's the exact same number of US troops killed in Iraq and Afghanistan during the same period.

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