Senate Bill 2370 Passes Committee
By Ken Hare
Chicago Defender Staff Writer
Illinois State Senator, Patricia Van Pelt’s, Senate Bill 2370 just passed the Senate Executive Committee yesterday and will now move to next step. Senate Bill 2370 is one of three bills Senator Van Pelt has introduced regarding justice reformation and accountaability. SB2370, specifically addresses juvenile justice by mandating that counsel is present during the interrogation of youth accused of murder between 13 to 18 years of age. Current Illinois law requires minors under 13 to have counsel present during interrogation, but not for ages 13 to 18. Now that SB2370 has passed the Committee, it will now move to the second reading today and the final vote this coming Tuesday.
Once signed into law, SB2370 will correct another grave injustice here in Illinois by giving 13 to 18 year olds equal protection under the law. This year marks the 50th anniversary of Miranda v. Arizona and most minors don’t understand how easy their rights could be violated by the police during an interrogation without an attorney present.
According to the Juvenile Justice Initiative (JJI): “research shows children are less competent than adults to make legal decisions and may not understand Miranda.” Research also bears out the following facts according to JJI:
Only 20.9% of minors, as compared to 42.3% of adults, understand the Miranda warnings.
63.3% of minors, as compared to 37.3% of adults, fail to understand at least one “critical” word in the standard Miranda warnings.
Among minors, the least understood warning is the right to consult with an attorney prior to responding to police questioning.
62% of minors believe that a judge can penalize them for exercising their right to remain silent.
Van Pelt’s other two bills regarding police reform are SB2210 and SB2233.
SB2210 – Amends the Freedom of Information Act and provides that recordings of a law enforcement officer discharging a firearm, or an officer-involved death, from an in-car video camera or an officer-worn body camera shall not be exempt from inspection and copying, unless the public body asserts an exemption under this Act supported by a court order finding the asserted exemption to be applicable to the requested recording.
And: SB2233 – Amends the Local Records Act. Provides that all records related to complaints, investigations, and adjudications of police misconduct shall be permanently retained and may not be destroyed. Stay tuned for further developments.