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Criminal Justice Reforms May Soon Be Coming to Illinois

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criminal justice reform, Illinois criminal defense lawyer, Illinois criminal defense attorneyOn March 24, 2014, House Bill 5899 was approved by the Illinois House of Representatives. Presented by State Representative Tom Cross, the Bill's goal is to bring about sweeping reforms to the current criminal justice system in Illinois. The Bill's primary goal is to prevent and/or eliminate false convictions, identifications, and confessions that are allegedly present within criminal prosecutions throughout the state of Illinois. Though the Bill has not been officially passed into law, our criminal law attorneys are carefully watching the progression of the Bill in order to determine what impacts it will have on the current Illinois criminal justice system.

What is Criminal Justice Reform?

Criminal justice reform encompasses actions committed by social justice activists and legislators, intended to create a more balanced and fair criminal prosecution process at the local, state, and federal level. Criminal justice reform spans a wide range of criminal law issues including prisoners' rights, stop and frisk policies, and penal discretion, just to name a few.

At the federal level, criminal justice reform is focused on breaking the cycle of crime and drug use that ultimately leads to incarceration. Last week, the state of Mississippi enacted a new criminal justice reform bill intended to increase efficiency and decrease costs of the criminal justice system. The state of New York has enacted significant criminal justice reform measures, including reforms and campaigns for issues such as stop and frisk policies and civilian complaint procedures.

Illinois' Criminal Justice Reform Bill

House Bill 5899, presented by Cross, a former Assistant State's Attorney in Kendall County, is currently scheduled for a 3rd reading before the House Judiciary Committee. If enacted the Bill would require the Office of the Illinois State Attorneys Appellate Prosecutor to create a committee with the mission statement of recommending best practices protocols regarding issues involved in the prosecution and investigation of serious crimes. More specifically this newly formed committee will have the duty of:

  • Collaborating with law enforcement for the creation of enhanced criminal procedures;
  • Reviewing relevant literature focused on decreasing wrongful criminal convictions;
  • Suggesting innovative changes to the Illinois criminal justice system;
  • Presenting enhanced and more effective procedures for the prosecution and investigation of criminal convictions and offenses;
  • Reviewing scientific studies about new criminal justice procedures;
  • Reviewing General Assembly proposals for criminal justice reform laws by way of resolution, and distributing recommendations and findings derived from such proposals; and
  • Developing training programs to instruct law enforcement and prosecutors on the best practices and protocols to be created by the Committee.
The criminal justice reform bill before the Illinois House of Representatives could have a significant impact on the investigation and prosecution of criminal offenses in Illinois. Contact the criminal law attorneys here at the Law Offices of Cosmo Tedone and Barbara Morton, P.C. in Plainfield, Illinois for all of your criminal law questions or issues.
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