It was not a good weekend for Chicago. The Huffington Post reports that eleven were dead and more than 40 hurt after a ridiculously violent and bloody Memorial Day weekend. Mayor Rahm Emmanuel and city police blame gang violence and plan to turn up the heat to reduce it.
They made one small step in that direction with the arrest of Andre Alejandro, reports the Chicago Sun-Times. Alejandro is suspected of shooting a 13-year-old boy that he suspected was a member of a rival gang. The boy was eating pizza with his sister at an Uptown pizzeria. Prior to the gunfire, the shooter allegedly exchanged gang signs with an older male acquaintance of either the sister or the boy.
Just a few years ago, Alejandro was arrested after a group of thugs, including him, attacked someone with sticks and fists, leading to over 50 stitches for the victim and a four year prison sentence for Alejandro.
The mayor's new strategy, according to the Post, includes policing heavily those hangouts favored by gangs, including liquor and convenience stores. Hopefully it also includes pizzerias as well.
Meanwhile, Alejandro will be facing first degree murder charges. In order to convict, the prosecutor will have to show that that Alejandro intended to kill or cause serious bodily harm to either the young victim or someone near him. Even if it was a stray bullet, transferred intent will still allow a first-degree charge.
Prior to the recent ban on the death penalty, this case might have qualified. To seek the death penalty, the prosecutor would have had to show certain aggravating factors, such as murder of a child.
However, Governor Pat Quinn signed a bill that took effect in July 2011 which banned the death penalty. Instead, the most severe penalty available is a life sentence without the possibility of parole.
As of the time Illinois signed their law, 16 states prohibited the practice, while 34 states and federal government allowed it. Since then, Connecticut has banned the practice while California has the SAFE California budget-fixing act on the ballot. It will, under the guise of austerity, ban the death penalty.
- Find a Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney (FindLaw)
- Death Penalty Center (FindLaw's Learn About the Law)
- Rapper 'Steel' Simmons Doesn't Snitch; Gets 15 to 30 For Murder (FindLaw's Philadelphia Criminal Law News)
- Death, The Penalty for Nicholas Sheley? (FindLaw's Chicago Criminal Law Blog)