Can Someone Bond Out On A Murder Charge?
A judge can set a bond in any case, including a murder charge. There isn’t, by statute, a specific offense where the judge has to set a no-bond. It’s always at the discretion of the judge, if he feels the circumstances are appropriate. The court sees two things, but the bond just mostly covers one. The first is the appearance of the person in court—they want surety that the person will show up in court. The second, and more important consideration, is if the charge is something that we need protection of the public. This has to be considered in a bond, because you must protect the public. In these cases, judges typically will set the bond so high that no one is going to be able to post it.
If it’s unreasonable, you can appeal that bond. You have to take that to an appellate court, and this process takes a long time. Usually all the judges are going to err on the side of caution, and say they’d rather have this guy locked up for a few months, until we decide if it’s really accurate or not, rather than take the chance that he is going to go right out and murder somebody else, which has happened. We had one that was on an ankle monitor, here on domestic battery. It used to be a common bond condition, they’d put you on an ankle monitor, one that has a GPS device in it, and you had to be within so many feet of the house, or you had to telephone. Allegedly, this guy went out and murdered the victim of the domestic battery while he was wearing the ankle bracelet. This created problems for everybody here that wanted to be electronically monitored by an ankle bracelet for bond purposes, and is the reason why they don’t do anymore. They still do it in other counties and other states.
What Are The Potential Sentencing Guidelines For Murder And Manslaughter in Illinois?
The potential sentence for murder is anywhere from 20 years to life, and there are certain factors that would qualify someone potentially for the death penalty. I’m not a death penalty expert, and I’m not death penalty certified, which you have to be in order to handle death penalty cases. The State’s attorney has to make an election at the beginning of the prosecution that they are going to seek the death penalty. There are different rules for these cases, and the jury at some point decides if the person is guilty of murder. If they do decide that the person is guilty of murder, then on the second phase, they decide if the person deserves the death penalty. Usually, the sentencing is left up to the judge. The jury never gives a sentencing guide, but they have to find that he qualifies for the death sentence with certain factors, and I’m not an expert on that.
Normally, its 20 years to life, or the death penalty, and those are served at 100%. If you get a 20-year sentence, you are serving 20 years. You cannot get good time credit and get out in half the time, like it used to be on all cases. On a reckless homicide or an aggravated DUI with death, those are special Class 2 penalties, which normally carry 3 to 7 years. However, those specific charges, by statute, carry 3 to 14 years, and in the case of an aggravated DUI causing death, you have to have extraordinary mitigating circumstances in order for the judge not to give prison. It’s a mandatory prison case, unless you can come up with those extraordinary mitigating circumstances.
I had a case just like that not too long ago, and fortunately we did get this girl probation. It looked like she was certainly going to prison, had we not done a good job for her. The facts of the case were that she was driving, and she blew like a 0.16. She had her mom in the car, and she lost control of the vehicle for a second. She wasn’t hurrying or anything, and struck a tree. She got hurt and her mom died. So that was a horrible, tragic incident. Everybody felt sorry for the girl, but obviously she shouldn’t have been behind a wheel driving with a 0.16 in her blood. There was no animosity between her and her mom, they had a close relationship. It was just a horrible nightmare for everybody. You just never want to see that type of stuff happen. She is as much a victim as her mom, because she has taken her mom away from herself. Her mom didn’t want to die, and her Grandma didn’t want mom to die. Everybody loved the girl, and knew that she was a good hard worker and she hadn’t been fighting with Mom. This was just a terrible accident. She never should have gotten behind the wheel with that much alcohol in her system, and she usually didn’t drink like that, so it took us a long time but we did wind up getting that girl probation.
There are different penalties. Normally, reckless homicides are 3 to 14 years and an aggravated DUI with Death would be 3 to 14 years in the Department of Corrections. You need extraordinary mitigation and on this case, it happened to be, amongst other things, that it was her mother. She killed her own mother, who she was very dear to and was the only one who was keeping her going through life. Now for this girl to go on and live with her nightmares, is daily punishment in itself.
She is back out and is doing well. She is a sweet girl, and I hope everything goes good for her, but there are different penalties for those types of things. No murder charges are probation-able. They are all prison cases, so it just depends what factors are there. If they consider them to be first-degree murder, you’d have to done it with the intent to kill, or you’d have to done it with the intent to kill or cause great bodily harm, knowing that what you did caused a great probability that there was going to be death or great bodily harm. Let’s say you take a submachine gun, and you fire into a group of people from a hundred yards away, or you just sprayed a few shots.
Did they specifically have the intent to kill those people? Most likely, they didn’t have that intent. Most likely, they didn’t even know those people they were shooting at specifically. In this case, the shooter didn’t even know the people in the crowd, but when he fired those shots, he knew that shooting a gun into a crowd of people creates a strong probability of death or great bodily harm, and he got found guilty as he should have been. Those are some of the factors that make a difference at the sentencing.
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