10-20-LIFE?

A client comes into my office. He’s charged with a crime involving a firearm. It’s his first offense, and he thinks prison can be avoided. Then I tell him about the 10-20-Life statute, and how his alleged crime if proven fits the statute’s criteria. He can get a minimum-mandatory sentence of ten years for possessing the firearm. A minimum-mandatory sentence of twenty-years for discharging it.  And he can get not less than twenty-five years nor more than life (I assume the more would be death) if someone is killed or suffers great bodily harm as a result of the discharge. He looks dumfounded. He can’t understand, believe, or acknowledge what I tell him.  And I say, “Didn’t you see all the adds on television about 10-20-Life?” And he says, “Yeah, but I thought they were commercials on how to save money making long distance telephone calls.”

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