Two Great ISBA Member Benefits Sponsored by
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Legislation

Senate Bill 1808, which would allow citizens to audio and video record police performing their public duties in public places, passed out of the House Judiciary Committee unanimously this morning on a vote of 10-0. This bill differs from a previous effort (HB 3944) in that it mandates that recordings alleging wrongdoing by police to be referred to the state’s attorney for possible prosecution if the recordings are intentionally altered to misrepresent an event. SB 1808 is sponsored in the House by Rep. Elaine Nekritz, D-Des Plaines, and is supported by the Illinois State Bar Association.

SB 1808 now moves to the full House of Representatives. Josh Sharp, director of government relations for the Illinois Press Association, urges newspaper publishers to call their legislators now and ask them to vote ‘yes’ on SB 1808. This bill would allow journalists to film police without consent during protests and similar events or to use videos that have been submitted by citizen journalists.

SB 1808 is also supported by the Illinois Press Association, the American Civil Liberties Union, the Chicago Headline Club and others.

ISBA Director of Legislative Affairs Jim Covington reviews bills in Springfield of interest to ISBA members. This week he covers HJRCA 29 (victims' rights), Senate Bill 2894 (Public guardians), Senate Bill 3792 (Mechanics Lien Act) and Senate Bill 3823 (Sanctions for visitation violations). More information on each bill is available below the video.

 

VOTE “NO” on HJRCA 29
Well-Intentioned but Flawed

HJRCA 29 is a constitutional amendment that creates standing for victims to participate in criminal proceedings as a party before the defendant’s guilt is established.

The Illinois State’s Attorneys’ Association and the Illinois State Bar Association oppose HJRCA 29. In its current form this proposal is unwise, unworkable, and unnecessary. We are concerned about its unintended consequences, such as court delays, longer incarceration awaiting trials, and wrongful convictions. HJRCA 29’s practical effect is that it will delay justice for victims by pitting prosecutors against victims instead of allowing them to be advocates for victims. That result isn’t helpful for victims or the public.

It is unwise. A criminal proceeding is a truth-seeking process that promotes public safety by adjudicating guilt and punishing the guilty. The awesome power to prosecute and imprison is vested with the government—not private parties. This means that victims and defendants are not contestants who require equal standing; the victim’s liberty and property are not at risk. But authorizing a victim to participate as a party with all of the standing of a prosecutor and defendant but none of their responsibilities, roles, and risks is a recipe for disaster. It is a return to the days of private, not public, justice.

It is unworkable. Illinois circuit courts annually process a staggering number of cases:

Three bills drafted in large part by members of the ISBA Trusts and Estates Section Council would amend Illinois trust laws to make them more responsive to modern practices and easier to comply with for everyone involved in the estate-planning process. Among other changes, the legislation would make nonjudicial trust modifications easier and limit the risk of liability for fiduciaries who handle specific trust-related tasks. Find out more in the May Illinois Bar Journal.

ISBA Assistant Director of Legislative Affairs Melinda Bentley reviews bills in Springfield of interest to ISBA members. This week she covers three of the 13 rights in the House Joint Resolution Constitutional Amendment 29 (Crime Victim’s Rights) and the House Bill 5434 (Debtors’ Rights Act of 2012). More information on each bill is available below the video.

House Joint Resolution Constitutional Amendment 29: Outlines 13 specific rights for crime victims. Three of them are highlighted here:
1.    The right to refuse to disclose to the defendant information that is privileged or confidential by law, as determined by the court with jurisdiction over the matter;
2.    The right to be heard at any post-arraignment court proceedings where a right of the victim is at issue, and any court proceeding involving a post-arraignment release decision, plea, or sentencing matter;
3.    The right to have access to information in a report related to any aspect of the defendant’s sentence when that information is available to the defendant.

ISBA Director of Legislative Affairs Jim Covington reviews bills in Springfield of interest to ISBA members. This week he covers Senate Bill 3792 (Mechanics Lien Act), Senate Bill 3359 (Sex offenders), Senate Bill 2953 (Recording of title instruments), Senate Bill 2952 (Statute or repose for attorneys), Senate Bill 3823 (Sanctions for visitation violations) and Senate Bill 3234/House Bill 4695 (Debtors' Prisons). More information on each bill is available below the video.

ISBA Director of Legislative Affairs Jim Covington reviews bills in Springfield of interest to ISBA members. This week he covers House Bill 5544 (Attorney's fees representing children), House Bill 5823 (Heath Care Services Lien Act), Senate Bill 2569 (Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act), Senate Bill 3626 (Integrative Family Therapy), Senate Bill 3549 (Child-support enforcement) and Senate Bill 3552 (Personal-property exemptions). More information on each bill is available below the video.

 

ISBA Director of Legislative Affairs Jim Covington reviews bills in Springfield of interest to ISBA members. This week he covers Senate Bill 3349 (prosecutor consent for first offenders), House Bill 5544 (attorney's fees in Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act), House Bill 4994 (BAIID device), Senate Bill 2953 (provisions concerning the effect of recording deeds, mortgages, and other instruments) and Senate Bill 2952 (attorney malpractice). More information on each bill is available below the video.

ISBA Director of Legislative Affairs Jim Covington reviews bills in Springfield of interest to ISBA members. This week he covers House Bill 4676 (consumer contracts), House Bill 4665 (radon and home construction), Senate Bill 3757 (admissibility of photographs), House Bill 5198 (contractual litigation) and Senate Bill 2953 (conveyances act). More information on each bill is available below the video.

ISBA Director of Legislative Affairs Jim Covington reviews bills in Springfield of interest to ISBA members. This week he covers HJRCA 29 (Victims' Rights Constitutional Amendment) and House Bill 3944 (Eavesdropping). More information on each bill is available below the video.

 

Victims’ Rights Constitutional Amendment. HJRCA 29 (Lang, D-Chicago) gives crime victims a constitutional right to enforce the current constitutional protections already granted to them under Section 8.1. It essentially gives them standing as a party to in criminal prosecutions to participate in all proceedings. Passed the House 116-2 and sent to the Senate.  

Eavesdropping. House Bill 3944 (Nekritz, D-Des Plaines) creates an exemption from prosecution for eavesdropping to allow a citizen to record a law enforcement officer performing public duties in a public place. To do so now is a Class 1 felony. Passed out of House Judiciary Committee I on a 9-2 vote. The “No” votes were Rep. Michael Zalewski (D-Chicago) and Michael Connelly (R-Lisle).