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Illinois House Committee Approves Bills Granting Additional Rights to Families of the Victims from Homicide

Illinois House Members (Credits: WMAY)

The Illinois House Judiciary-Criminal Committee has advanced a bill known as the Homicide Victims’ Families’ Rights Act. This legislation is designed to offer families of homicide victims an opportunity for additional avenues of justice.

The primary objective of the Homicide Victims’ Families’ Rights Act is to enable families of victims to request that law enforcement agencies reevaluate cold cases that are at least three years old.

House Committee Seated at Illinois (Credits: WAND-TV)

The bill proposes establishing a formal review process to determine whether these cases should be renewed and thoroughly investigated. However, the bill would exempt law enforcement agencies serving fewer than 35,000 residents from this provision.

The Resolution Repercussion

In addition to seeking to reexamine old cases, the bill mandates that law enforcement agencies appoint family liaison officers. These officers would be responsible for assisting victims’ families in finding the complications of the legal system and providing them with support and guidance throughout the process.

The bill’s sponsor, state Rep. Kam Buckner from Chicago, has a personal connection to this issue. He shared the heartbreaking story of his uncle, who was murdered almost three decades ago, and the case remains unsolved to this day.

The bill’s sponsor, state Rep. Kam Buckner (Credits: Crain’s Chicago Business)

“My uncle was tragically killed on the streets of Chicago when I was just nine years old, and nearly 30 years later, we still have no leads in the case. The investigation has gone cold, and we don’t even know who to contact within the police department for updates,” Buckner emotionally stated during the committee session.

What will be the Agency’s Next Line of Action?

Alongside the Homicide Victims’ Families’ Rights Act, Rep. Buckner also sponsored another bill that addresses homicide reporting requirements.

Under this proposed legislation, law enforcement agencies must provide monthly updates online and to the Illinois State Police regarding homicide statistics within their jurisdiction.

These reports would include details such as the number of homicides that occurred, the outcomes of investigations (whether arrests were made or charges filed), and the status of cases marked as cleared or closed for reasons other than an arrest.

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