Federal Judge Cuts Chicago Looter A Break In Gun Possession Case

AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast

A Chicago man already on probation for possessing a firearm as a felon managed to avoid a maximum sentence for being caught with a gun and stolen goods during riots and looting in the wake of George Floyd’s death at the hands of Minneapolis police last year.

41-year old Adam Walton was in federal court in Chicago on this week for sentencing after previously pleading guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm, and U.S. District Judge Sara Ellis, appointed to the bench by then-President Barack Obama, cut him a pretty sweet deal. Instead of spending the next decade in federal prison, which would have been the maximum sentence, Walton was told he’ll only have to serve 3 1/2 years.

Walton was accused of leaving a looted Old Navy in Marshfield Plaza at 117th Street and Marshfield Avenue around 11:45 p.m. on May 31, 2020. Prosecutors said he had spent more than two minutes in the store and had collected a “large armful of clothing.”

Police said Walton then ran to a parked Honda CR-V that was in front of the store but was unable to open the driver’s door, at which point he dropped the stolen items and ran through the parking lot, according to court documents.

Police officers looked inside the Honda CR-V and saw “large quantities” of additional stolen goods inside the vehicle, officials said. Walton allegedly returned to the car and told officers that he didn’t care about the stolen objects — he just wanted to retrieve his car and leave.

Walton would later tell an officer there was a gun inside the car, prosecutors said.

In September 2017, Walton was convicted for illegally possessing a firearm and sentenced to eight years in prison but was released on parole in June 2019. He was still on parole when he was caught looting.

Walton’s 2017 conviction was on state-level charges, which is why he was released from prison less than two years in to his eight year sentence. Under Walton’s federal conviction, he’ll have to serve 85% of his sentence before he’s eligible for release, but it’s still a pretty sweet deal, especially given Walton’s actions after his arrest and before his guilty plea took place.

Ellis said she was also troubled by some of the obstructive actions Walton engaged in while he was awaiting trial. She said he had attempted to convince his ex-girlfriend to tell investigators that the gun found in the Honda CR-V was hers — putting her at risk of going to prison.

The judge went on to say his actions were “fundamentally selfish” and was shocked at his willingness to see his ex “rot in jail.”

And yet Ellis still went light on Walton rather than throwing the book at him.

In somewhat related news, Sen. Dick Durbin is bringing the Senate Judiciary Committee to Chicago next Monday for a special hearing on “gun violence.” It seems to me that a case like Walton’s would be perfect fodder for the Judiciary Committee members, but I don’t think the Illinois Democrat is too interested in questioning the light sentences handed down in Cook County or the federal courthouse. Instead, look for Durbin and his fellow Democrats to focus almost exclusively on the need for more gun control laws aimed at legal gun owners.

“I’ve worked for years to try to stem the flow of illegal guns and to promote common-sense gun safety measures, and I’m glad we now have a White House that shares this commitment. This hearing also provides an opportunity for a broader conversation about public health approaches to prevent and reduce community violence. We will hear from federal agencies that are playing a key role in these efforts, and I am committed to doing all I can to help make our communities safer,” Durbin said.

Unfortunately for law-abiding citizens, Durbin’s idea of “common-sense gun safety measures” involves restricting your rights while allowing violent criminals to get a pass. Durbin isn’t going to mention Walton’s case during his hearing anymore than he’ll chastise Judge Ellis for her gift to the convicted felon. He’s going to be too busy talking up the supposed need for things like universal background checks (even though in Illinois every legal gun owner is required to obtain a Firearm Owner ID card from the state, which requires a background check), bans on “assault weapons” and “large capacity” magazines, and “red flag” gun seizure laws to notice the failures of the criminal justice system and the lies of his fellow Democrats who are running things in Chicago.

During a Monday afternoon press conference, Lightfoot told reporters that “this is a very challenging time” as the city surpasses 800 homicides for the year.

Lightfoot went on to claim that every other crime category is at 25-year-lows in Chicago, according to a tweet by Crain’s reporter A.D. Quig. Tribune reporter Gregory Pratt tweeted a similar account of Lightfoot’s claim.

The mayor lied. She didn’t misspeak. She lied. Because she certainly knows the truth.

According to CPD’s latest CompStat crime report, criminal sexual assaults are up 27% this year compared to 2020. Theft is up 18% and motor vehicle theft is up 6%.

Carjackings, which are not listed on the public version of the CompStat report, are up 30% compared to this time last year, according to the city’s data portal, with 1,633 hijackings through November 28. There were 1,256 as of November 28 last year.

Non-fatal shootings, also not included on the public CompStat report, are up 8.2% compared to this time last year, according to the city’s “violence dashboard.”

Next Monday, Durbin will praise Lightfoot for her efforts instead of slamming her for her lies. He’ll blame law-abiding gun owners for the actions of violent criminals. And he’ll declare that the only real way to make Chicago safer is to restrict the right to keep and bear arms (though he’ll call those restrictions “common-sense gun safety measures” instead of demanding accountability and consequences for the actual perpetrators of violence. Nothing will change for the citizens of Chicago, who may be demanding improvements to public safety but will only serve as props for Durbin’s public relations campaign against the right to armed self-defense.