Longer sentences coming for gun offenders in St. Louis City? - KMOV.com

Longer sentences coming for gun offenders in St. Louis City?

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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV.com) -

A St. Louis City man was sentenced to 60 years in prison for gun crimes, even though prosecutors asked for less time.

News 4 has been covering the push for tougher sentences for gun crimes in St. Louis City.

In 2014, St. Louis Police Chief commented on sentences for gun crimes, saying sentences needed to be tougher.

"What I'm looking for is when somebody pleads guilty and is found guilty, there's an outcome that keeps the community safe and doesn't put them at risk," says Dotson.

In this latest case, James Green, a convicted felon, was found guilty of having several illegal weapons in his home in 2014. Prosecutors recommended a seven-year sentence, but the judge sentenced to almost 10 times that suggested amount.

The Circuit Attorney's office says while the judge did sentence Green to 60 years, it is highly unlikely he will serve the full term. That is up to the probation and parole board to decide.

"We think that this case sends a clear message to people in our city who want to pick up a gun illegally and tells them that there are consequences to their actions and you shouldn't do it," says Beth Orwick, chief trial assistant.

A defense attorney not connected to Green's case disagrees.

"The question here is 60 years going to send some kind of a message that has an unintended result? For example, if a convicted felon is caught with a gun are they going to try and shoot their way out instead of surrendering  and doing what they would have thought would have been some time, that wouldn't have been the rest of their life?" says Lynette Petruska.

Orwick says each case is looked at individually and that in this case, the judge handed down the appropriate sentence.

“It is important to look at the factors in this case and the trial that occurred and what the judge learned. Is this the solution for every single person? Perhaps not. But for this man, it is the appropriate sentence and we are thrilled about it," she says.

Orwick said this sentence is most likely not a precedent for future cases, mentioning that each case is looked at and handled on a case-by-case basis.

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