DeWitte on Criminal Reform Legislation

From State Senator Don DeWitte:

Don DeWitte

On Monday, Governor Pritzker signed House Bill 3653, the controversial criminal justice reform bill that was passed in the extremely early hours of the lame-duck session, despite being opposed by nearly every law enforcement organization in the state.

There are elements of the new law that I support, especially those that provide for removal and decertification of bad cops. But the legislation as a whole has many problems. Just a few areas of concern about this new law include:

  • Not allowing police officers to view body camera footage until after officers file their initial report makes no sense. If the goal is to ensure an accurate evidentiary timeline, why deny police officers the use of this tool as they compile their initial report?
  • The law will significantly limit judges’ ability to detain accused offenders, even violent accused offenders, which will pose a significant risk to victims, witnesses to crime and the community at-large.
  • The law impedes all law enforcement investigations, which will lead to fewer crimes being solved and no accountability for criminal perpetrators.
  • The law severely limits accountability for accomplices to murder by amending the Felony Murder Rule.
  • The law includes unfunded mandates on all local police departments. The funding within the bill does not scratch the surface of what it will cost municipalities to purchase and maintain the body camera technology. This will lead to increased property taxes, a reduction in the number of police provided by a municipality, or a combination of the two.

Many elected officials spoke out against House Bill 3653 prior to and after the signing. In response to the signing of the legislation, I issued a press statement that can be found here.


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