Mom jailed 2 years because she couldn't afford bond sentenced to 1 more year

An ABC7 I-Team Investigation
CHICAGO (WLS) -- A West Side single mother locked up for two years while awaiting trial, will spend more time behind bars even though she was acquitted of murder.

Bianca Young will spend an extra year in jail because she is poor, according to her attorneys who contend she was too poor to post bond while awaiting trial.

In her case, once trial came she was acquitted of the most serious charges.

The I-Team first reported about Young's case last week. On Monday, she was sentenced and hoped to see freedom.

"I just want to go home and do better for myself," Young said.

After almost 800 days in Cook County Jail, Young was looking forward to Monday - her long-awaited sentencing.

In Cook County court, Judge James Linn sentenced her to three years in prison, with credit for the two she already spent waiting for trial.

"Ultimately Ms. Young will wind up spending a year longer in jail because she will not get good time for the time she served in pre-trial detention in the Cook County jail. So as a result of being poor and not being able to make bail she'll spend an extra year in state custody," said attorney Eric Sussman.

In August 2014, Young was leaving a nightclub in the city's River North neighborhood where she had visited with three men. After leaving, there was a fight. Two people were shot; one of them died. Surveillance video shows Young getting in her car just before the shooting started.

The 25-year-old Austin neighborhood resident had been acquitted of murder charges but was guilty of mob action.

Sussman took over her defense pro bono from a public defender who, Young said, did little for her.

Even though Judge Linn helped make that connection, and acquitted her of murder, Linn said on Monday that she "bears criminal responsibility" for what happened outside the nightclub because she had escalated the confrontation.
"I was a little disappointed but I can live with it," said Eunice Young, Bianca Young's aunt.

Young's family, who has been caring for her young daughter, will soon try to get Bianca back on her feet.

"My family, we got together, we made a decision, we're going to, we're trying to find her a job, because hopefully she doesn't spend that much time locked up in prison," said Eunice Young.

A lawsuit was filed Friday challenging the cash bail system at in Cook County, claiming that thousands of poor inmates - such as Young - are being held improperly at the county jail.

Although Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart is named as a defendant. Dart is pushing for legislation that would allow his office to ask for lower bail for financially strapped detainees.
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