Law: Between a Rock and a Hard Case

Courts for repeat offenders dispense tough, swift justice

The defendant, 33, stood accused of five rapes, with victims ranging from a teen-ager to a young mother walking with her children in Chicago's Lincoln Park to a 61-year-old woman. After a jury found him guilty of the one rape he was actually on trial for, Judge Robert Sklodowski pronounced him a "rape bomb, ready to explode at any time." Sklodowski handed down the maximum sentence: 60 years, 30 of which must be served before he can be paroled. Such stern penalties are rare from many judges, but they are standard procedure in three...

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