Illinois GOP House leader: Repeal the criminal justice reform bill

While reform to our criminal justice system should always be a priority to lawmakers, “reform” is not achieved with a bill proposed at the eleventh hour that is legally inoperable, anti-victim and anti-law enforcement.

The elimination of cash bail is a very risky proposition that will keep defendants on our streets, not off our streets. On a daily basis, criminal courts throughout Illinois issue bench warrants for defendants who choose to avoid prosecution and flee. The sponsors of the bill are asking us to buy into the “honor system” with criminal suspects.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker touted how this is a win for crime victims. There are provisions that will financially help crime victims. However, not a word was mentioned about the provision that allows a defendant to compel the attendance of a crime victim to testify at a revocation hearing hours after the violent crime was committed.

It seems the sponsors and the governor are unaware of the 2014 amendment to the Illinois Constitution, Marsy’s Law, which specifically protects crime victims from intimidation, harassment and abuse throughout the court process.

There are other examples of newly imposed duties upon law enforcement that serve no purpose other than to trip up an officer. This law also allows for an officer’s dismissal based on anonymous complaints, without that officer being confronted by his or her accuser.

This bill is not about fairness but is outright vilification of law enforcement in Illinois.

At one of the most lawless times in our state’s history, punishing the men and women who wear the badge will not make our streets and communities safer. If you want to reform policing and the criminal justice system in an effective manner, repeal this horrible law and start over.

This is not fearmongering. This is reality.

— Rep. Jim Durkin, Illinois House Republican leader