Jul 26, 2014
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Tom Cross Proposes Criminal Justice Reform Bill

Measure, aimed at eliminating false confessions and false IDs, will be up for a vote March 24. If it passes, Illinois would be only the second state to adopt such a program.

Tom Cross Proposes Criminal Justice Reform Bill

Advancing a plan to help eliminate false confessions, false identifications and false convictions in criminal prosecutions, the Illinois House Judiciary Committee held a hearing Thursday to pave the way for approval of legislation sponsored by State Rep. Tom Cross (R-Oswego), a former Assistant Kendall County State’s Attorney. 

The measure, House Bill 5899, would require the Office of the State's Attorneys Appellate Prosecutor to establish a committee to evaluate and recommend a “best practices protocol” on specific issues related to investigation and prosecution of serious criminal offenses. If enacted, Illinois would become the second state in the nation to adopt such a program, after New York.

Click here to read the full text of the bill.

“The integrity of our criminal justice system depends on getting it right each and every time,” Cross said in a press release. “Identifying and adopting best practices will enhance the ability of law enforcement and local prosecutors to do their jobs more effectively and protect crime victims and families.”

Specifically, the Best Practices Protocol Committee will:

  • Propose enhanced procedures relevant to the investigation and prosecution of criminal offenses.
  • Collaborate with law enforcement partners in the development of enhanced procedures.
  • Review public and private sector reports dealing with reduction of wrongful convictions.
  • Identify and assess innovations to the criminal justice system.
  • Examine scientific studies concerning new procedures.
  • Create training programs for prosecutors and police on the best practice protocols developed by the Committee in collaboration with law enforcement.
  • Review specific proposals submitted by the General Assembly by way of resolution and report back its findings and recommendations in a timely manner.

Cross presented HB 5899 to the House Judiciary Committee on Thursday with no opposition. A vote to advance the bill to the full House is scheduled for Monday, March 24. 

Cross is coming off a successful bid to run against Democrat Michael Frerichs in the state treasurer race next fall. Fellow Republican and Plainfield businessman Mark Batinick will face off against Democrat Dennis Grosskopf for the seat currently held by Cross.

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