An Illinois appellate panel has told a lower court to resentence two owners of the E2 Chicago nightclub where 21 people were crushed to death in a stairwell in 2003.
Dwain Kyles and Calvin Hollins were found guilty in 2009 of violating a judge's order before the tragedy that they close the club's second floor. They received two-year prison sentences.
The ruling, posted Friday, says the violation of the order to close the second floor wasn't the "legal proximate cause" of the tragedy. It says the most immediate cause was the use of pepper spray that triggered a stampede.
Since their violation didn't cause the tragedy, the appellate panel says the lower court shouldn't have factored in the deaths as an aggravating factor in calculating an appropriate punishment.