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Univ. of San Diego School of Law

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Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Illinois to Reform its Criminal Code

Illinois_mapFrom the newswire:  "An independent commission of prominent and diverse experts in criminal justice has begun a two-year project to review and reform the Illinois Criminal Code.  Former Governor James R. Thompson and former Illinois Appellate Court Justice Gino L. DiVito will co-chair the Criminal Law Edit, Alignment and Reform (CLEAR) Commission.  The 22-member commission, which met for the first time Monday, includes four legislators chosen by Democratic and Republican leaders in the General Assembly, Attorney General Lisa Madigan and a designee of Gov. Rod Blagojevich.  Other members of the commission are prosecutors, defense attorneys, judges and law enforcement officers.

'For the past 40 years, the Illinois Criminal Code has been changed in piecemeal fashion, and today's lengthy code is far more complex, confusing and sometimes inconsistent,' Thompson said. 'Not only is it difficult for most citizens to follow, but even experienced lawyers and judges can find it hard to comprehend.  We must make the code more readable, understandable, consistent and just.'

'The complexities of the Illinois Criminal Code increase the likelihood of lengthy appeals that are expensive to defendants and to government,' Justice DiVito said. 'We must reform the code and reduce the likelihood that technical mistakes will allow criminals to escape punishment and reduce the chance that innocent people will be incarcerated.'

The CLEAR Commission will identify redundancies and inconsistencies in the code and will make recommendations for a simpler, balanced Code.  The Commission expects to complete its work by December 2006.  It will operate independent of state government and the court system and is funded through grants and in-kind donations.

For the full newswire report click here.  [Mark Godsey]

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