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  1. #1
    Pedro56's Avatar
    Pedro56 is offline Englewood Ranger/Infidel Extraordinaire
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    Getting rid Of Goofy Laws

    State trying to take goofy out of the law

    By Michael Higgins
    Tribune staff reporter
    Published March 2, 2007

    Illinois' book of criminal laws has grown from 72 pages when it was drafted in 1961 to more than 1,200 unruly pages today.

    The result, many lawyers and scholars say, is a disorganized tome that mixes essential laws with others that are redundant, unconstitutional or even nonsensical.

    The state's law against money laundering, for example, doesn't wash if the laundered money was obtained in another state.

    There's a law against threatening public officials, but it doesn't cover assistant attorneys general.

    And the crime of carrying a weapon near a courthouse doesn't cover federal courts.

    One old law forbids lawyers from "wickedly" stirring up disputes, though that term is never defined.

    Perhaps strangest of all, a person who, while acting in the heat of the moment, tries to kill someone but fails, faces a tougher sentence than if he or she had succeeded.

    "It's so goofy," said Peter Baroni, an attorney and lobbyist who has worked for the state Senate Judiciary Committee. "There's a statutory incentive to finish the job--to kill somebody. It's bizarre."

    Now, a team of Illinois legal heavyweights is attempting to push through the first comprehensive rewrite of the Illinois Criminal Code.

    Baroni is a co-director of the effort, known as the Criminal Law Edit, Alignment and Reform, or CLEAR, initiative. Its members include Atty. Gen. Lisa Madigan, Cook County State's Atty. Richard Devine and former Gov. James Thompson, who as a young lawyer helped draft the original criminal code in 1961.

    The CLEAR commission's rewrite is now a bill pending before the Senate Judiciary Criminal Law Committee. CLEAR members, who hope to pass the bill this spring, want to fix the code's various technical glitches while cutting its size by about one-third.

    Much of the current code's illogic stems from laws passed to address a specific crime or constituent complaint, without examining how the new law fits within the overall state code, said Gino DiVito, a former appellate judge who co-chairs the commission with Thompson.

    "There's a lot of reaction to the crime of the week--not surprisingly," DiVito said. "That's what makes the code so confusing. You get all these add-ons."

    Meanwhile, many outdated provisions or phrases survive. One current law prohibits the manufacture of gunpowder "within 20 rods" of a valuable building.

    "I had to look it up," said John Decker, law professor at DePaul University and special adviser to CLEAR. He learned that a rod is 16 1/2 feet. "Most people would have no idea."

    Other issues are more serious. State lawmakers have never responded to an Illinois Supreme Court ruling in 1995 that struck down the state's law on attempted second-degree murder.

    The ruling left the state with a strange inconsistency in its penalties for homicides and attempted homicides committed in the heat of passion, said Kathryn Saltmarsh, legislative liaison for the state appellate defender and CLEAR's other co-director.

    Currently, the unsuccessful assailant can face a mandatory term of 6 to 30 years, while the successful killer faces 4 to 20 years with the possibility of probation.

    The legal oddity may have helped Colleen Hall of Bunker Hill, Ill., Saltmarsh said. Hall shot and killed her husband in 2005 in what she said was an attempt to stop him from drowning their 2-year-old grandson.

    Hall pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and was sentenced to 4 years in prison. "If she had shot and missed, she would have been subject to the higher minimum penalty," Saltmarsh said.

    The CLEAR rewrite also fixes the code's "mandatory presumptions," which improperly instruct the jury that if they find that a certain fact exists, they must presume that another fact exists.

    More than a dozen of the state's criminal laws contain this same defect--even though the state Supreme Court has made clear for years that the provision is unconstitutional.

    Last year, the court reversed a child endangerment conviction because the law tells jurors that anyone who leaves a child under 7 unattended in a car for more than 10 minutes should be presumed guilty of the offense.

    As part of its reform effort, the CLEAR commission hopes to establish an advisory body that would help lawmakers respond to new court decisions and review new criminal laws.

    CLEAR supporters praise the commission for forging a consensus among a membership that included natural antagonists such as prosecutors and defense attorneys, as well as judges and lawmakers.

    But dodging the political landmines wasn't easy. The commission decided, for example, to retain state laws that criminalize adultery and fornication rather than risk opposition from social conservatives.

    An earlier rewrite ordered by former Gov. George Ryan, which would have reduced the code to about one-eighth its current size, was deemed too radical and scrapped entirely in 2003.

    Cutting the code by one-third is little more than a start, according to Paul Robinson, a University of Pennsylvania law professor who headed the earlier rewrite effort.

    "What I think is disappointing is that they're going to take this Band-Aid approach, when the patient really needs to be taken to surgery," Robinson said. "I think I can predict that in five years, you will hear the same complaining" about an unwieldy code.

    The CLEAR rewrite touches on hot-button legal issues from murder to child sexual abuse to flag desecration. But commission members stress that their goal was not to push the state's criminal laws to the political left or right, but only to winnow out the code's inefficiency and illogic.

    "It's a monstrosity," Saltmarsh said. "It had just become an organizational morass."

    ----------

    mjhiggins@tribune.com
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    "I am the guy that keeps Mister Dead in his pocket." -'Mad' Max Rockatansky

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  2. #2
    KaiGywer's Avatar
    KaiGywer is offline *insert witty remark here*
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    So I still can't wear a duck on my head while crossing state lines?
    Alpha Phi Sigma Alum - Alpha Delta Chapter
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  3. #3
    Ducky's Avatar
    Ducky is offline Enforcer General
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    Quote Originally Posted by KaiGywer View Post
    So I still can't wear a duck on my head while crossing state lines?
    Ducks object to being carried across state lines on people's heads. You really should tuck them under your arm instead.
    \\
    ` ` ` ` < ` )___/\
    `` ` ` ` (3--(____)
    "...but to forget your duck, of course, means you're really screwed." - Gary Larson
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  4. #4
    jmur5074's Avatar
    jmur5074 is offline Moderator
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    Fornication is illegal in MN.

    It's a misdemeanor.

    So is adultry, and sodomy (carnally knowing any person by the anus or with the mouth.)
    No one has greater love than this, to lay down ones life for ones friends - John 15:13

    "The Wicked Flee When No Man Pursueth: But The Righteous Are Bold As A Lion".

    We lucky few, we band of brothers. For he who today sheds his blood with me shall be my brother.

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    The opinions, beliefs, and ideas expressed in this post are mine, and mine alone. They are NOT the opinions, beliefs, ideas, or policies of my Agency, Police Chief, City Council, or any member of my department.

  5. #5
    Pedro56's Avatar
    Pedro56 is offline Englewood Ranger/Infidel Extraordinaire
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    You may be arrested for vagrancy if you do not have at least one dollar bill on your person.

    You must contact the police before entering the city in an automobile.

    The English language is not to be spoken.

    All businesses entering into contracts with the city must sift through their records and report any business they had dealing with slaves during the era of slavery.

    Law forbids eating in a place that is on fire.

    It is illegal to give a dog whiskey.

    It is forbidden to fish while sitting on a giraffe's neck.
    Kites may not be flown within the city limits.

    In the Pullman area, it is illegal to drink beer out of a bucket while sitting on the curb.

    It is legal to protest naked in front of city hall as long as you are under seventeen years of age and have legal permits.

    In Chicago, people who are diseased, maimed, mutilated, or deformed to the point of being an unsightly or disgusting object are banned from going out in public.

    Also in Chicago, it is illegal to fish in pajamas.

    One more in Chicago, it is illegal to take a French poodle to the opera.

    It is illegal to speak English, the officially recognized language is "American."

    A state law in Illinois mandates that all bachelors should be called master, not mister, when addressed by their female counterparts.

    In Oblong, it's punishable by law to make love while hunting or fishing on your wedding day.

    In Gurnee, it is illegal for women weighing more than 200 pounds to ride horses in shorts.

    In Joliet, it is illegal to mispronounce the name Joliet.

    Women in Joliet, Illinois, can be arrested for trying on more than six dresses in one store.

    Zoin city, Illinois, has a law that states that you cannot make faces at anyone

    In Winnetka, Illinois, theatre managers can kick out any patron who has ‘odorous feet’.

    It is illegal to hum in public on Sundays in Cicero, Illinois.

    You may be convicted of a Class 4 felony offense, punishable by up to three years in state prison, for the crime of "eavesdropping" on your own conversation. -720 ILCS 5/14-2.

    Kites may not be flown within the city limits.

    It is forbidden to fish while sitting on a giraffe's neck.

    Spitting is forbidden

    One may not pee in his neighbor's mouth.

    It is unlawful to change clothes in an automobile with the curtains drawn, except in case of fire.

    It is unlawful for "negroes" to be within county boundries from sundown to sunrise. -Fairfield IL

    A rooster must step back three hundred feet from any residence if he wishes to crow. Hens that wish to cackle must step two hundred feet back from any residence. -Kenilworth IL

    Ice skating at the Riverside pond during the months of June and August is prohibited.

    Trucks may only park inside closed garages.

    It is illegal for anyone to give lighted cigars to dogs, cats, or any other domesticated animals.
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    "I am the guy that keeps Mister Dead in his pocket." -'Mad' Max Rockatansky

    "An Englewood Ranger is no stranger to Danger.." -Unk

    Good Night Chesty Where Ever You Are.

    A Good Friend will bail you out of jail, but a true friend will be sitting next to you in the cell saying, "That was Awesome."

    God Made Police Men so Fireman Would Have Heroes.

 

 

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