Governor Pat Quinn today signed legislation that strengthens Illinois' criminal justice system. Senate Bill 2520 closes a loophole in the Illinois Criminal Code, thereby making it more difficult for fugitives to flee a municipality, county, state, country, or other defined jurisdiction. Today's action by Governor Quinn is his latest to crack down on crime and increase public safety.
"It is my duty to keep the people of Illinois safe and ensure we have a sound criminal justice system," Governor Quinn said. "This legislation will prevent criminals from evading punishment and help us bring them to justice."
Sponsored by Sen. Ira Silverstein (D-Chicago) and Rep. Sidney Mathias (R-Arlington Heights), SB 2520 makes it a Class 4 felony for an offender's immediate family members over the age of 18 to assist them in fleeing, or to intentionally prevent the seizure and arrest of the offender. Violators will face between one and three years in prison and/or a $25,000 fine. Currently, a loophole in the Illinois Criminal Code exempts immediate family members from violation of the statute. Illinois had been one of only 14 states to exempt immediate family members.
This legislation arose from an investigative series in the Chicago Tribune highlighting flaws in the criminal justice system that allow criminals to flee the country and remain free even when authorities know their whereabouts.
The law is effective Jan. 1, 2013.