Here’s some free legal advice: If you ever commit a felony crime, get Tom Daley to defend you and St. Clair County Circuit Judge Jan Fiss to sentence you. It’s the next best thing to a “get out of jail free” card.
Daley will delay, delay, delay so that you don’t see a courtroom for nearly 6 1/2 years after using your truck to run down and kill a man. He will get the court to forget that while you were out on bond on the original charge, you beat a stripper in a bathroom and called others over to take their licks — and still you remained free on bond.
He will suppress the fact that you once before used your vehicle to run over a guy. He’ll wipe away those 31 felonies, 22 misdemeanors and 37 lesser charges on your record. He will elevate your care for your dying, strip-club owner father, and the fact that about the only people in your life to whom you didn’t do violence were your kids, and make you a better candidate for sainthood than Mother Teresa.
Fiss will allow Daley to tap-dance around your extensive criminal record. The judge will also discount the concrete chunk you tossed through a windshield, the riot you started and then the vehicle you used as a weapon to run down and kill a young man. He will ignore prosecutors’ arguments that six years in prison is fitting punishment for taking a life and sentence you to one year in prison.
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Your results are not guaranteed, but all the above is how Reginald O. Allen, 34, a strip club bouncer from Dupo, was treated by the St. Clair County justice system.
The family of Anthony Rice Jr., 23, waited all that time, including nearly two years for any charges to even be issued. His two sons will grow up without a father. His brother lives with that night when Allen called them names, attacked them, incited the mob and finally ran down and killed his brother. His mother, Annette, was left wailing at the loss all over again. His family members raged in the hallway at the injustice, only to be threatened with contempt of court.
Well, it is hard to harbor anything but contempt when Fiss delivers a one-year sentence for what amounts to murder with a pickup. And it is even harder to believe there was any justice when you realize that a one-year sentence in Illinois really means six months in prison.
Allen will be back on the streets in 6 months. Consider yourself warned.