Appeals Court Frees Schaumburg Manslaughter Defendant Pending Appeal
Schaumburg resident Bonnie Liltz walked out of a prison downstate today after an Illinois criminal appeals court order, The Chicago Tribune reports. A Cook County court convicted Liltz of killing her disabled adopted daughter Courtney. Liltz plead guilty to involuntary manslaughter after she gave Courtney a fatal dose of prescription medicine and then attempted to kill herself, ABC 7 Eyewitness News reports. The judge sentenced Liltz to four years in prison. After serving only 72 hours of her sentence, the appeals court ordered that Liltz could post a $5,000 bail bond pending her appeal.
Liltz Killing “an Act of Mercy”
Many observers of the case expected that the Cook County court would have given Liltz probation for her crime. Liltz told the court that she was facing severe medical issues herself, and acted out of fear for Courtney’s future. Advocates for Liltz described the killing as an act of mercy. It also seemed unlikely that Liltz would kill again. Liltz requires treatment for kidney problems that arose from chemotherapy for ovarian cancer several years ago. It would be difficult for her to obtain such treatments in prison.
Illinois Appeals Court May Set Bail Pending Appeal
It is unusual for an appeals court to grant bail to a defendant whom a lower court has sentenced to prison time. Illinois law does give the court the ability to set a higher bail or to let the original bail stand during the appeal. The appeals court has the power to review any errors that the lower court may have committed which significantly affected the rights of the defendant. If they find that such errors occurred, they can reduce the sentence, send the case back to the lower court, or overrule the conviction.
Appeals Court May Reduce Liltz Sentence
In a case like Bonnie Liltz’, it makes sense that the appeals court would take the unusual measure of allowing Liltz to go free on bail while her appeal is pending. Because Liltz requires specialized medical treatment, her supporters expressed concern that she would die in prison if she served her four year sentence. Given the nature of her crime, Liltz seems unlikely to kill anyone else. This means that there is little danger to allowing her to stay free on bail pending her appeal. Also, since Liltz is in poor health and requires regular medical treatment, she poses little or no flight risk. The court’s decision to grant her bail pending her appeal might also signal that the court is considering reducing her sentence to probation.
Get Legal Help
If you or someone you know has been wrongly convicted of a crime, you need expert legal help. Get in touch with an experienced criminal appeals attorney at Barney & Hourihane in Chicago today to get the justice you deserve.
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