Judge Nicholas Ford found Darien Harris, 18 years old, guilty of murder and attempt murder and sentenced him to the minimum term of 76 years in prison. The appellate court found that the laws that mandated this sentence violated article I, section 11 of the Illinois constitution which requires that sentences have “the objective of restoring the offender to useful citizenship.” The opinion was unclear as to which part of the sentence was unconstitutional. Harris was sentence to 20 years for the murder, plus 25 years for using a gun to commit the murder, plus 6 years for the attempt murder, plus 20 years for using a gun. The court admonished the legislature to reconsider this sentencing scheme as applied to young adults because the result is a life sentence for a person who has never had a chance to be a part of society. The case is being sent back to Judge Ford for re-sentencing.
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