A sign near the Johnson County courthouse urges county voters to defeat a referendum on fracking.
(AP Photo/Jim Suhr, File)
November 06, 2014

Illinois Lawmakers Approve Fracking Rules

State lawmakers have signed off on rules regulating high-volume oil and gas drilling in Illinois at a legislative hearing.


October 31, 2014

What Is Marsy’s Law?

Illinois map with letters spelling Mary's Law for IllinoisAmong the items Illinois voters will be asked to weigh in on at the polls Tuesday is approving the Crime Victims Bill of Rights.

This amendment to the state's Constitution will add two components to an existing list of rights of a victim of violent crime: That victim safety be considered as part of release decisions and that victims' privacy be reinforced when it comes to personal records--like diaries.

Illinois Public Media's Hannah Meisel spoke with Jennifer Bishop-Jenkins, director of Marsy's Law for Illinois. In 1990, Bishop-Jenkins' sister and brother-in-law were murdered, along with her sister's unborn child. She says Marsy's Law will add protections for victims that exist in many other states.

The amendment passed the Illinois House and Senate with very little opposition in the Spring. Bishop-Jenkins says those who oppose the law mistakenly think that adding rights for victims of a crime would take away rights of the accused.

"They have expressed concern that there is a zero-sum game, if you will, between victims' rights and the rights of the accused," she said. "That's just wrong."


IDOT photo of inmate Alstory Simon
(AP Photo/Illinois Department of Corrections)
October 30, 2014

Inmate Ordered Freed In Landmark Illinois Case

Anthony PorterA Cook County judge has ordered the release of a prisoner whose confession helped free a death row inmate in a 1982 double killing.

Alstory Simon's confession in the high-profile case led to the 1999 release of Anthony Porter, who had spent 16 years on death row and whose supporters maintained he was wrongfully convicted.
 
After a re-examination of the case, the Cook County State's Attorney's Office asked the judge Thursday to free Simon. The judge vacated the sentence and conviction.
 
The Porter case was instrumental in the campaign to end the death penalty in Illinois.

Capital punishment in the state was abolished in 2011.


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