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Miller Holds in Lake County Sentencing Appeal

A Lake County man convicted of murder as a minor will be resentenced after a 2nd District appeals panel found that that the judge in the case failed to evaluate whether he possessed capacity for rehabilitation. Philip Vatamaniuc was 17 when he and two friends shot a Highland Park college student in 2013. He received a 54-year sentence after rejecting a plea agreement and petitioned the court based on a claim of ineffective counsel.

In denying the bid, the panel ruled that the deal that would have cut the minimum jail time to 13 years was detailed sufficiently during Vatamaniuc’s four-day bench trial in 2017. However, the review of court transcripts showed that Circuit Court Judge Victoria Rossetti did not provide an evaluation of ‘permanent incorrigibility’, a standard applied by the US Supreme Court in Miller v. Alabama. That 2012 decision deems long sentences a violation of 8th Amendment protections against cruel and unusual punishment for all but ‘the rarest of juveniles’.

The DuPage County Juvenile Law Attorneys at The Chicagoland Law Firm represent minors in jurisdictions throughout the state of Illinois, including in sentence appeals. Our team of Juvenile Defense Lawyers helps clients achieve the best outcomes possible based on facts in their case. To learn more, contact our offices in Downers Grove and downtown Chicago for a free consultation. We can offer legal advice until we are retained. We are your best defense.