Family Of Slain Officer Held In Legal Limbo
The family of a slain Chicago police officer has been thrown into a legal limbo for five years, waiting for members of the Cook County Public Defender’s Office to present their case on a legally mandated resentencing of the offender.
The family members of Brian Strouse, killed from a gunshot fired by Ambrose gang member Hector Delgado in 2001, has been forced to wait more than five years as public defenders prepare for a resentencing of Delgado, who was a teen-ager at the time. The resentencing is mandated by a U. S. Supreme Court ruling that mandatory life sentences for juvenile offenders under the age of eighteen are unconstitutional.
Strouse was killed in an area of a gang war being waged between the Ambrose and La Raza gangs. Witnesses said that Strouse announced he was the police, then was shot. Delgado, who was sixteen at the time, confessed to the crime, a confession that was recorded and played at his trial.
The 2012 decision by the Supreme Court also ruled that it must be applied retroactively, meaning that Delgado had to go through a resentencing proceeding. But for the family members of Strouse, the resentencing has turned into a nightmare. There have been countless trips to the 26th Street and California Avenue criminal court house, the scene of the original trial, as public defenders ask for more time to prepare their case. The judges keep granting the request.
The resentencing phase is now before its third judge, according to Strouse family members. Some of the original prosecutors who worked the case have retired or moved on. And still the public defenders keep asking for more time, and the judges keep granting it.
Sometimes the walk from the parking lot to the courtroom takes longer than the hearing itself. Why then are the judges letting the case drag on? Why are the public defenders doing the same? Why are they making the family of Brian Strouse go through the almost monthly ritual of attending the proceedings?