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Appeals Court Rules Life Sentence For Molester Is Cruel And Unusual

A man convicted of multiple counts of predatory child sexual assault and abuse in McLean County will get a new sentence. An Illinois Appeals court has sent the case back to Judge Scott Drazewski saying the life sentence imposed on Brett Wilson constituted cruel and unusual punishment.

Wilson appealed after his conviction in 2013 saying the prosecutor's closing arguments were improper, the judge made mistakes in allowing evidence of other crimes into the record, and the sentence was unjust.

The appeals court ruled neither the prosecutor nor the judge were out of line in closing arguments or in the evidence allowed into the record.

But, Wilson was a juvenile when some of the crimes were committed and an adult when others happened. The law prevents life sentences for juveniles in most cases.

Judge James Knecht writes in the opinion that the crimes done when Wilson was under the age of 18 cannot be paired with the adult offenses to make Wilson eligible for mandatory life in prison. Knecht ruled the sentence violated the 8th amendment to the Constitution and sent the case back for re-sentencing.

WGLT Senior Reporter Charlie Schlenker has spent more than three award-winning decades in radio. He lives in Normal with his family.
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