SPRINGFIELD — Children in police custody for certain crimes would have greater protection when being interrogated by police under legislation advanced this week by Senator Patricia Van Pelt (D-Chicago).

Senate Bill 2370, which passed in the Illinois Senate with bipartisan support, would require any child 15 or younger to have an attorney present during custodial interrogations by police when accused of murder and sex offenses. It also would require police to recite a simplified Miranda warning for youth.

“This is personal to me. Although this legislation is not exactly what we wanted, it’s a step in the right direction. This is dedicated to Trevon Yates. I'll never forget him. He was my motivation in filing this legislation,” Van Pelt said

Trevon Yates, then 17 years old, was arrested in 2013, by St. Clair County deputies and questioned in connection with a robbery of a couple that was lured to a parking lot in Belleville, where they expected to meet someone who had advertised an iPhone for sale on Craigslist. A two-hour interrogation video shows the East St. Louis teen repeatedly professing his innocence, begging for his mother and praying to God, before being coerced into confession by sheriff’s detectives.

Yates, who has diminished cognitive ability, was charged with armed robbery and spent nine months in jail before the charges were eventually dismissed after additional evidence cleared him of any wrongdoing. He was later awarded a $900,000 settlement in a federal lawsuit alleging the St. Clair County Sheriff’s Department violated his civil rights.

The current law only requires minors under 13 years of age who are charged with murder or sex offenses to be represented by counsel during custodial interrogations. Senate Bill 2370 now moves to the House of Representative where it will be deliberated.

Van Pelt acknowledged more needs to be done to protect teens, but said this is a good start.

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Category: News

SPRINGFIELD — State Senator Patricia Van Pelt (D - Chicago 5th) has been busy advocating for not only children, but also for people seeking work.

Van Pelt advanced a measure providing that no employer shall enter into a non-compete covenant with any low-wage employee. Any other non-compete covenant must be disclosed to an employee prior to the hiring of the employee.

It defines "low-wage employee" as an employee based on hourly, annual or monthly compensation and allows the Department of Labor to adjust these amounts for inflation. The department shall also investigate and enforce complaints.

One study suggested a significant share of workers don't necessarily understand the agreements they're signing. About 40 percent of those who signed a non-compete agreement "read it quickly or not at all."

"This is a commonsense measure that puts more individuals to work. No one should be limited in their pursuit of employment. It is my hope that it will be called for a vote within the coming weeks, Van Pelt said.

 

Category: News

Van Pelt Committee Springfield - Juvenile justice advocates applauded the advancement of one piece of legislation Van Pelt is sponsoring to reform the juvenile justice system, requiring minors to be represented by a counsel when being interrogated for murder.

“According to Juvenile Justice Initiative, ninety-six percent of 14 year old do not have an adequate understanding of the consequences of waiving their rights. In addition, since Chicago holds the dubious title of false confession capital of the nation, I believe we have a duty to address this inequity through state statutes,” Van Pelt said.

Current law requires minors under 13 years of age who are charged with murder or sex offenses to be represented by counsel during custodial interrogations. Senate Bill 2370, as amended, requires that minors between 13 years of age and 18 years of age charged with murder must be represented by counsel throughout the entire custodial interrogation. The bill allows a public defender to represent and have access to those minors during custodial interrogations. Finally, the bill provides that statements made by minors without counsel present during custodial interrogations under these circumstances are inadmissible as evidence in juvenile or criminal proceedings.

Category: News

Van Pelt Law Enforcement

Chicago - The top priority this legislative sessionfor Senator Patricia Van Pelt (D-5th Senate) has been law enforcement accountability. Van Pelt has introduced legislation that directly addresses the high profile issues within community policing.

Last Friday, Van Pelt and the Senate Executive Subcommittee on Police Professionalism met at the Bilandic Building in Chicago to hear testimony on Senate bills 2210, 2233 and 2370, all legislation the senator is sponsoring. Van Pelt represents some of Chicago’s most violence-stricken areas, in addition to some communities disproportionately affected by a lack of law enforcement accountability.

"Mistrust of law enforcement is plaguing our communities. There’s not a week that goes by that I don’t get a complaint from my neighbors in the district," Van Pelt said shortly before the hearing started.

More information on Van Pelt’s legislation can be found below.

Senate Bill 2210: Establishes that videos and other materials or documents related to police misconduct are subject to the Freedom of Information Act, except when an exemption is approved by a judge

Senate Bill 2233: Prohibits destruction of all records related to complaints, investigations and adjudications of police misconduct and requires permanent retention of those records, applies to records currently in existence or created in the future, and expressly overrides any agreement or order to destroy these records

Senate Bill 2370: Requires that all minors be represented by counsel throughout custodial interrogations, and makes statements made by a minor during a custodial interrogation without counsel inadmissible in juvenile or adult court proceedings

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Category: News

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