Chicago (CBS) — CBS 2 legal analyst Irv Miller said the Cook County jury was right to convict Jason Van Dyke of second-degree murder.
“This was not a first-degree murder,” Miller said. “While the officer may have thought that he was acting in self defense, that was not a reasonable belief. That’s what second-degree murder is.”
Miller thinks Van Dyke testifying in his defense made a difference in him being convicted of second-degree murder.
“He [Van Dyke] had no choice. He had to testify,” Miller said. “He had to try to present something regarding self-defense. That’s actually what may have got him from first-degree murder to second-degree.”
Van Dyke could be sentenced to as little as probation and as long as 20 years in prison for second-degree murder. Each aggravated battery conviction carries a sentence of 6 to 30 years in prison, but the judge will decide a sentence that includes all the counts together.
“[The judge] will set a specific number and all the other convictions including the second-degree will merge into that one number,” Miller said.
Van Dyke must serve 85 percent of whatever sentence the judge sets before being eligible for parole.
Van Dyke is now being held in custody. In order to appeal, his lawyers must file a motion for a new trial listing any issues they have with how the judge or jury handled the case.
Judge Vincent Gaughan will then decide whether to grant Van Dyke a new trial, but Miller doubts that will happen.
During an interview this afternoon, several jurors voiced concerns about what the community would think of the verdict in such a high profile case. Miller said this could help Van Dyke’s case for an appeal.
“You don’t want a jury with those concerns,” Miller said. “You want a nice, unbiased clean jury that has no preconceptions, no fears of what’s going to happen after they render their verdict.”