Public Defender Calls Foul On Zaveon Marks' Arraignment

Aug 30, 2019

An attorney for Zaveon Marks, the 14-year-old accused of shooting Zarious Fair, argues he can’t be sentenced to more than 40 years in prison.

Marks was told earlier this month he faces 35 years to life, if convicted of first degree murder and unlawful possession of a weapon. He pleaded not guilty.

But public defender William Loeffel says both the U.S. Supreme Court and the Illinois Supreme Court found such sentences unconstitutional.

“For the purpose of the 8th amendment — the 8th amendment being prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment — children are constitutionally different from adults, for the purpose of sentencing,” Loeffel said. “Therefore, either a mandatory or a de facto life sentence cannot be imposed upon a juvenile.”

In April, the Illinois Supreme Court ruled that any sentence longer than 40 years was effectively life in prison for a juvenile, because it would squelch any chance at rehabilitation.

Loeffel said the appropriate sentencing exposure for Marks, who is being tried as an adult, is 20 to 40 years.

A second arraignment hearing is scheduled for Tuesday.