IL POLITICAL
Home Up Long Term Prisoners Voting Pro-Victim Reforms We Support IL Legislators

CONTENTS:

bullet Murder Victims Families Divided on Illinois Death Penalty Bill
bulletSupport Prisoner Census Re-Adjustment Act

bullet2009 VICTIM HERO AWARDS GIVEN to Dr Peters of NIU and a wonderful select group
of Illinois Legislators who consistently stand up for Victims Rights and the needs of families
who have had loved ones murdered

 
bulletSee our page on specific Illinois Legislators
 
bulletClick to view the page on legislation that would potentially release Long Term Prisoners
 
bullet Public hearings on Death Penalty reforms  - January 26 in Chicago and March 2 in Springfield - 2009 - Illinois Victims are all invited to testify!
 
bulletHearings on the Death Penalty in Illinois held in Chicago Sept. 2008 See below for the names of the 14 Death Row inmates whose sentences will be under discussion, and the victims that will want to be informed of these hearings.
 
bullet Help Pass Legislation to prevent people from being victimized at ATM machines!
 
bulletFor information about HJR 80, and the Long Term Prisoner Study - a legislative committee whose work still potentially threatens to push through mechanisms for early release of prisoners retroactively without any victim notification
 
bulletFor information about Voting Pro-Victim in 2008, please click here
 
bulletWhile some prisoner advocates have been frustrated with our efforts to block some of their reforms that would place the interests of violent offenders over the needs and rights of their innocent victims, there are in fact many good criminal justice reforms that we do support. Send us your ideas as well.
 
bullet

SB 2254 and its companion bill HB 5908 are for those few VICTIMS families that still have to go through the agonizing process each year of the Prisoner Review Board possibly releasing their loved ones' killers


Illinois' Victim Community Divided on Issue of Death Penalty Abolition

Death Penalty_Mart.jpg Illinois Murder Victims Families testified on both sides of the issue SB 3539 that would abolish Illinois' death penalty in favor of natural life sentences, but would also for the first time create a statewide program and funding to support and assist murder victims families, and supply funds for law enforcement as well.

Supporters of abolishing the death penalty, Randy Steidl, former death row inmate, left, and Gail Rice, whose younger brother, a Denver Police Officer, was shot to death, react after the Senate passed legislation abolishing the death penalty in Illinois while on the Senate floor during session at the Illinois State Capitol in Springfield Tuesday.

A Press Conference held by Illinois' States Attorneys and murder victims families of death row inmates lobbied hard against the legislation, which did ultimately pass both houses. It now sits on the Governor's desk, awaiting Governor Quinn's decision.

 

 

ACTION ALERT:  PLEASE CONTACT YOUR STATE REPRESENTATIVE. SUPPORT HB 4650 – PRISONER CENSUS ADJUSTMENT ACT.  

What does HB 4650 propose to change?   The act proposes to change the way in which the Census Bureau would count inmates in Illinois prisons.  Currently, inmates are counted where they are incarcerated.   HB 4650 proposes to count inmates in Illinois at their last known address.    In February the Census Bureau gave states the ability to decide where prisoners should be counted.  Florida, Maryland, New York and Wisconsin are also considering similar legislation.    Why is this important to the Illinois?   Federal funds, based on Census data, would be allocated to the community from which the inmates come.  Reformers are working to ease the reentry of thousands of offenders released each year by the Department of Corrections.  The majority return to communities struggling with poverty and lack of resources. Congressional and legislative districts could be redrawn to reflect this population.    ACT NOW   On February 3, 2010 the bill was placed on 2nd reading short debate.  The announced deadline for passage out of the House is March 26, 2010.  Current House sponsors include: LaShawn K. Ford, Mary E. Flowers, John A. Fritchey, Kenneth Dunkin, Monique D. Davis and Elaine Nekritz.    Please contact your state representative and urge him or her to co-sponsor this legislation.  Contact information for your representative can be found at:  http://www.ilga.gov/house/.

2009 VICTIM HERO AWARDS
 

In 2009 Dr Peters of Northern Illinois University will receive our Victim Hero of the Year award for his outstanding response to the NIU shooting massacre on February 14, 2008. His service to those victims families has been exemplary. More details on the presentation once arrangements are made.

On May 13, 2009 in Springfield, Illinois at the State Capitol, members of the IllinoisVictims.Org Board of Directors Terry Mayborne, Dora Larson, Kyle Kirts and Jennifer Bishop-Jenkins will present the first ever LEGISLATOR HERO awards to a select and bi-partisan group of Senators and Representatives who have worked to serve the needs of Illinois Crime Victims in the General Assembly.

We gave the award to those who with their bill sponsorship and their votes support Victims Rights as articulated in Article I, Section 8.1 of the Illinois Constitution, who have stood up for a balanced Prisoner Review Board, who work to preserve the integrity of the Determinate Sentencing model in Illinois, who care about victim and public safety, who value the needs and voices of victims of violent crime, and who hold innocent and devastated murder victims family members as requiring resources and attention equal to or even more than the offenders who committed the crimes.

Here is our Press Release and the names of those we honor with gratitude for their dedication to the most vulnerable and damaged residents of our state - victims of violence.

Press Release and Media Advisory
www.IllinoisVictims.Org
For immediate Release: May 9, 2009
Contact: Terry Mayborne, President, 815-262-5907
Jennifer Bishop-Jenkins, Secretary, 847-331-2704
Illinois’ Crime Victims Announce HERO AWARDS for Illinois Legislators and Dr. Peters of NIU

On Wednesday morning May 13, 2009 a select group of Legislators in both the Illinois House and Senate will receive a Legislator HERO award from IllinoisVictims.Org for their consistent support of the rights and needs of victims of homicide and violent crime in the state of Illinois.

Illinois averages about a thousand murders and forty thousand attempted murders or aggravated assaults every year. Those victims’ lives have been incredibly damaged, and sometimes justice for the offender is elusive. Worst of all, all Illinois citizens pay the price tag for this high level of violence, and its impact on the lives of so many citizens. This is why IllinoisVictims.org, which represents hundreds of homicide victims families and victims’ rights advocates statewide, is grateful to leaders who work consistently to protect victims of crime, especially in a state where many resources are lavished on the offenders, while virtually none are allotted for their victims.

The bi-partisan list of recipients is below. These legislators have distinguished themselves this last year in their support of the Rights of Victims of Crime, as articulated in Article I, Section 8.1 of the Illinois Constitution. Also they have demonstrated concern for crime victims’ safety, and for protecting victims in their interactions with the criminal justice system.

Later this month, IllinoisVictims.org will also be presenting its HERO of the Year 2009 Award to the President of Northern Illinois University, Dr. Peters, for his outstanding and exemplary support of the victims of the NIU massacre over the last year.

This year’s Legislator Heroes are:

SENATE:
State Senators Tim Bivins, Maggie Crotty, William Delgado, Kirk Dillard, Michael Frerichs, Susan Garrett, William Haine, Don Harmon, Linda Holmes, Mike Jacobs, Davod Koehler, Dan Kotowski, Terry Link, Edward Maloney, Iris Martinez, John Millner, Antonio Munoz, Mike Noland, Kwame Raoul, Dale Righter, Dan Rutherford, Jeff Schoenberg, Ira Silverstein, Heather Steans, Dave Syverson, and A.J. Wilhelmi.


HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES:
State Representatives Edward Acevedo, Patricia Bellock, Bill Black, Mike Boland, James Brosnahan, Linda Chapa LaVia, Elizabeth Coulson, Fred Crespo, Tom Cross, John D’Amico, Lisa Dugan, Jim Durkin, Robert Flider, John Fritchey, Paul Froehlich, Careen Gordon, Julie Hamos, Jay Hoffman, Chuck Jefferson, Kevin Joyce, Lou Lang (sponsor of our important effort to amend the Illinois Constitution to make victims’ rights enforceable in the state HJRCA 19), Frank Mautino, Michael McAuliffe, Susana Mendoza, Harry Osterman, Randy Ramey, Dennis Reboletti, Chapin Rose, Jim Sacia, Michael Smith, Ronald Wait, and Dave Winters.


Scheduled to attend the 7:30-9:30 am Wednesday morning May 13 reception in the Rathskellar in the basement of the Capitol Building are homicide victims family members, including IllinoisVictims.org President Terry Mayborne, as well as representatives from the Law Enforcement Community, States Attorneys, and advocates who work with victims of crime.
                                                                                             

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THE DEATH PENALTY IN ILLINOIS

January  26, 2009, 9 a.m. Public Hearings will be held  at the State of Illinois Thompson Center, 100 W. Randolph, in the Concourse Level Auditorium in Chicago. March 2, 2009 Hearings will be held in Springfield at the State Capitol. Room has not yet been assigned.

IllinoisVictims.org received a letter on January 5th inviting our members to come and offer testimony. Contact Jennifer with any questions.

Also, Jennifer Bishop-Jenkins, founder of IllinoisVictims.org is a member of this legislative committee, appointed last year by the Governor.

We encourage all interested victims to come and testify! TOPIC: the only areas that the committee can address are regarding reforms made to the death penalty by the Illinois Legislature in 2003, not for example whether or not the state should have a death penalty. Some of these reforms include the creation of the Capital Litigation Trust Fund for defense and prosecution, new line up procedures, DNA and lab procedures, the video-taping of interrogations, etc.

More can be learned about this five year study process and all its previous reports can be viewed at http://www.icjia.state.il.us/public/

***

One would have had to live under a rock the last 8 years in Illinois to not be aware of the huge controversy surrounding this important sentencing issue. The Illinois States Attorneys' Association, reporting frustration with the "legal limbo" of the moratorium for the victims families, have urged the Illinois Legislature to take up the question of the moratorium and the death penalty itself. The hearings were September 18, 2008 in Chicago.

Many of the victims family members of those killed by these 14 death row inmates listed below were informed, invited and supported to testify with victim advocate staff caringly present. Others sent letters read by victim advocates.  Also present and testifying were murder victims family members who believed the death penalty is bad for victims.

CONTACT US for further information.

COOK COUNTY CASES
 
Ricardo Harris :
 
    Victims: Dipak Patel and Ambalel Patel killed, Injured but survived Christine Chesnick and Helen Chisnick
 
Teodora Baez -
 
    Victims Juan Estrada and Janet Mean
 
Joseph Bannister
 
    Victim is ex-girlfriend Henrietta Banks
 
Paul Runge -
 
    Victims are Yolanda Gutierrez and her daughter Jessica Muniz
 
Dion Banks -
 
    Victim was carjacking victim Rose Newburn
 
Rodney Adkins -
 
    Victim - Catherine McAvinchey in Oak Park
 
 
DUPAGE COUNTY CASES:
 
Eric Hanson
 
    Victims - his two parents, sister and brother in law. Only family is surviving sister?
 
Laurence Lovejoy
 
    Victim was Erin Justice, his 16 year old stepdaughter
 
 
WILL COUNTY
 
Brian Nelson -
 
    Victims are his former girlfriend, and three other people in Custer Park - we do not have names
 
VERMILLION COUNTY
 
Anthony Mertz -
 
    Victim in Danville was Shannon McNamara
 
LIVINGSTON COUNTY
 
Andrew Urdiales
    
    Victim for which he is on Death Row is Cassandra Corum from Indiana. There are two other victims he killed in Cook County as well at Wolf Lake - for which he is not on death row
 
JEFFERSON COUNTY
 
Cecil Sutherland
 
    Victim was 10 year old girl Amy Schultz
 
HANCOCK COUNTY
 
Daniel Ramsey - was 19 at time of crime
 
     Victims - two teenage girls, and wounded his former girlfriend - we don't have names.
 

Illinois victims blog on the death penalty

SB 2254 and its companion bill HB 5908 are for VICTIMS!
 

SB 2254 and its companion bill HB 5908 are for those heaviest burdened victims families in Illinois - the family members of people killed by "C Number" or indeterminately sentenced prisoners. 

Approximately 260 prisoners sentenced indeterminately before 1978 still go through annual parole reviews - a process long since done away with for the rest of Illinois' victims. In 1978 the determinate sentencing system was put in place which calculates release strictly on the basis of the sentence, and in some crime allowing for good time early release credits that are objectively calculated by the prisoners' own behavior and not by a review board that can be biased.

This system in place for 30 years now is best for victims. Meanwhile, hundreds of victims families still have to work each year to collect petition signatures, send letters, take off work, go to hearings in Springfield and at the prisons, etc. This is an agonizing LIFE SENTENCE for them, and their children, and now even their grandchildren.

SB 2254 and HB 5908 will require that the FULL PRB will hear victims' protests if they might release an inmate. This is what should be required in any case because the PRB's enabling statutes require that victims' protests be "considered". But right now, only one of the 15 PRB members hears the victims concerns.

Thank You, Senator Haine and Rep Chapin Rose, for sponsoring this bi-partisan legislation designed to protect the voices of victims in the parole process of "C number" prisoners before the Prisoner Review Board.
 
Help Us work to pass this important reform measure by calling your state Reps and Senators
to help ensure that victims voices are heard in the parole process

HELP KEEP PEOPLE WHO USE ATM MACHINES FROM BEING VICTIMIZED

This opportunity to help law enforcement, protect yourself, prevent crime, and save lives is sent by an IllinoisVictims.org member who is a former law enforcement office, turned lawyer and prosecutor:

In 2002 and 2003, the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police testified in favor of making an emergency PIN system mandatory on all ATMs in the state.  The purpose was to give the victims of forced ATM withdrawals at least a chance to call for help.  Their testimony was that it would deter crime and save lives.  In 2004, 205 ILCS 616 sec 50, (i) made the system mandatory on all ATMs in the state.  A follow on bill (HB4652) was passed however which reversed the original law and now actually discourages the banking industry from adopting the system by granting them tort immunity if they do not adopt it.  That’s not a typo.  IF the bankers do what the police testified they should do, then they lose tort immunity.  If they ignore what the police say they should do, they are punished by losing their tort immunity.  Since the law was gutted, in Illinois, Doyle Parker (Carmi), Robert Armfield, (New Baden), Lynne Weiss (Elgin), Mark Evans (Chicago) and god only knows how many others have been murdered for their PINs and ATM cards.  In addition, at least five serial killers, Tameka Newson, Martha Jean and their boyfriends. (Chicago Tribune, March 29th 2005) and Bruce Mendenhall (Albion Indy Star, April 11, 2008), all from Illinois, have been arrested.  No one knows for sure how many people Newson and Jean have killed, but thanks to DNA, the police know of at least ten of Mendenhall’s victims. 

I can guarantee you that some, if not all of those victims could have called for help with the system, but the legislature snatched it away from them, guaranteeing that no one would know of their distress.  Mendenhall, Newson and Jean may be the ones who pulled the trigger, but the legislature whispered in their ears, “Go ahead. We made sure they can’t call for help.”

It would cost the banking industry $10 million at the outer limit to adopt the software nationwide.  In Illinois, it could be done for less than $200,000.  All it would take would be a requirement that all state chartered banks offer the service to their depositors.  By comparison, when the EPA evaluates the financial cost to business of new regulations, they the loss of a human life as being a harm to society equal to $6.9 million.  In a wrongful death law suit, a human life is generally going to result in a $2 to $3 million judgment. 

The banking industry’s real problem is that they don’t want to admit that the problem exists, and in a technical way, it doesn’t.  Without a crime code section to address the issue, the crime statistician cannot track the problem.  There is an easy solution to this though and that is to require all ATM owners to send the Illinois State Police a master list of ATM addresses in the form of an email with the addresses attached in the form of a spreadsheet.  The ISP already has all the personnel, hardware and software to do the work, it just lacks the information.  This would allow the researcher to pull up all crimes related to the ATM just by overlaying the crime code sections for robbery, home invasion, carjacking, murder, attempted murder, rape and missing persons against the master list of addresses.  (I’ve confirmed this with the Illinois State Police) Naturally, I’ve made this suggestion to the state police in other states and I’ve met with positive results.   Illinois’ own Bruce Mendenhall is just one of several serial killers reported in the news recently. Gary Michael Hilton, Thomas Jeffrey Brooks and someone known as the “Town Mall Killer” have been in the news this year.  All of these serial killers were able to operate in the dark because the banking lobby has blocked efforts to track and objectively analyze the problem.  Because the problem was not tracked each of their victims was treated as a discrete, unrelated incident.  There is now way for the police to search their own archives for this crime.  A killer’s photo could be in a police file in Peoria, and not connected to the murder in Joliet.  If the state were to pass a law making a forced ATM withdrawal its own crime, a database of these crimes would be created.  The pattern would be identified and more criminals caught.  But, in 2005, the banking lobby successfully blocked House Bill 4155, so no crime bill was passed and Bruce Mendenhall was allowed to run free.  Between the ATM addresses and a criminal statute, the police would be able to track the problem and make arrests much sooner.  But, that would disrupt the bankers’ marketing model. 

An hysteric would accuse the legislature of conspiring with the banking lobby to kill those people.  And if the legislature were just a private organization, there’d be some merit to it.  But, having admitted it’s NOT a conspiracy, I have to ask what difference would it make if it were?  The result is the same. 

Legislation is being drafted.  When a number is assigned, it will be posted here.  Contact IllinoisVictims.org for more information.


Home Up Long Term Prisoners Voting Pro-Victim Reforms We Support IL Legislators