Man sentenced to 15 years for armed violence

URBANA — A Champaign man who was sleeping in a car where police found a loaded gun and cocaine has been sentenced to 15 years in prison.

The sentence was the minimum that Lakeith Brooks, 53, whose last known address was in the 1900 block of Sumac Drive, could have received for armed violence. He faced a maximum of 45 years.

He pleaded guilty in Champaign County Circuit Court on Tuesday, admitting that on April 29 he possessed a .25-caliber pistol and three-tenths of a gram of cocaine.

Assistant State's Attorney Duke Harris said Champaign police were sent to the parking lot of the County Market store at Kirby Avenue and Duncan Road to a report of a man sleeping with his legs hanging out the open door of a Corvette.

Harris said the officer saw the loaded gun in plain view in an open pocket of the car door. A search of Brooks turned up the small amount of cocaine inside a cigarette box that was in his coat pocket.

Harris said Brooks had prior convictions for possession of a controlled substance, driving under the influence, deceptive practices, domestic violence and armed violence.

In return for Brooks' guilty plea, which he entered before Judge Harry Clem, Harris agreed to dismiss other charges of possession of a controlled substance and unlawful use of weapons by a felon and an unrelated aggravated assault charge.

In other cases resolved recently with guilty pleas or sentences imposed by judges:

— Ashley Hines, 20, whose last known address was in the 900 block of Lierman Avenue, Urbana, was sentenced to 18 months of conditional discharge after pleading guilty to aggravated unlawful use of weapons.

She admitted that on Aug. 1 she had a gun in her purse, which she claimed to be carrying for protection from a man with whom she was arguing in the 100 block of South Lierman Avenue.

An Urbana police report said the gun has been reported stolen from Sangamon County in 2005.

Assistant State's Attorney Lindsey Clark said Hines was also ordered to have no contact with her ex-boyfriend.

— Julie Rahn, 45, of St. Joseph, was sentenced Thursday to six months in the county jail for aggravated driving under the influence.

She pleaded guilty in August to the Class 4 felony, admitting that on March 11 about 2 a.m., she struck a teenage boy who was walking on County Road 1700 N near 2200 E, northeast of St. Joseph and kept going.

She was found at her home in a subdivision not far from the accident site about three hours afterward and arrested.

Besides the sentence to the county jail, Judge John Kennedy sentenced her to two years of probation, fined her about $2,850, and ordered her to wear an alcohol monitoring bracelet for a year after she's released from the county jail in March.

Court records indicate Rahn's blood alcohol concentration was 0.155 percent.

The teen was treated for a broken ankle, a sheriff's deputy said.

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welive wrote on September 25, 2012 at 5:09 pm

I totaly understand why a man with a history like that would get 15 years for three-tenths of a gram of cocaine a cool $25. so now it is going to cost us $495000.00.

But the lady who hit a kid while being drunk and going home to sleep gets probation? I understand thats the law.That still dont mean it is right.

The war on drugs has failed now the war on DUI has as well.

 

EL YATIRI wrote on September 25, 2012 at 5:09 pm
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I agree with your sentiment.  Our legal system has nothing to do with justice.

rsp wrote on September 25, 2012 at 5:09 pm

She gets probation after she sits in the county jail for 6 months, and wears an ankle monitor when she gets out. When she messes that up, she will be resentenced as if any time she has served hasn't happened. When, not if.

alabaster jones 71 wrote on September 25, 2012 at 10:09 pm
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At some point we have to ask whether the danger of having someone like Mr. Brooks on the street as a free man is actually more dire than the danger of spending the pile of money it will cost to keep him and others like him incarcerated.  You can make a strong argument that the latter is actually more dangerous to society, all things considered.

If he got charged with "armed violence," shouldn't he have actually committed a violent act to merit that charge?  Sleeping in your car with a gun and a little blow is obviously a stupid action, but a violent one?  Why wasn't he charged with unlawful possession of weapons instead?

Yeah, I know, prior history and all that, but the man is going to prison for 15 years for an incident in which he did not harm anyone, and the cost of that prison term will be coming out of our paychecks.  It's not as if he's ever been charged with murder, rape, assault, battery, or anything else that exactly makes him a menace to society who we can't afford not to have locked up.  Let's take a look at some of those past charges.  Most of those charges fall under the category of, could've been serious, could've been overblown.  Plenty of domestic violence charges are exaggerated.  One of those charges was also for "armed violence," and I wonder if that was actually a violent act, or if it was also a trumped up charge like the one in this article.

To clarify, I don't feel sorry for this guy.  He has clearly made several terrible choices in life, and he has to live with them.  I do, however, feel sorry for myself and for the rest of us who now have to pay for his rent, meals, etc.  for the next fifteen years due to our often overzealous, counterproductive approach to fighting crime.

a common sense citizen wrote on September 25, 2012 at 11:09 pm

Did you not read that this man already has a dui charge as well as domestic and armed violence??? Perhaps she should have got more than a slap on the wrist but your argument about the DUI makes no sense since this man has clearly been a problem to society for a long time while having the same DUI problem...not to mention cocaine and a loaded gun in a parking lot... thankfully to a concerned citizen he didnt wake up... drive off and hit, rob, shoot any of us... but i guess in your guys eyes he should be pardoned because someone prevented his dumb### from doing so.

alabaster jones 71 wrote on September 26, 2012 at 12:09 am
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He's never been charged with robbing or shooting anyone.

Your post exemplifies the sort of hysterical thinking that enables the prison industry to make so much money off of us taxpayers.

rsp wrote on September 26, 2012 at 8:09 am

The definition of armed violence is possession of a weapon will committing another felony, possession of drugs. It's a charge designed for the sole purpose of enhancing the sentence in the war on drugs. I'm sure they were thinking "these people could probably shoot someone someday". So we've moved into the realm of charging people for what they might do and not for what they did do.