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Victim rights amendment stalls in Springfield

Wed, 02 May 2012 11:54:18 CDT

An Illinois House committee blocked a change to the state's Constitution Tuesday that would expand the rights of crime victims. An earlier version easily passed the full House, but prosecutors and the Illinois State Bar Association objected and convinced enough legislators to block the proposal.   Jim Covington is a lobbyist for the bar association. He says he doesn't understand why victims need a constitutional amendment to protect them from judges and prosecutors:


"The courthouse is a hectic, chaotic place. There is a lot of stuff going through it. There's 90-thousand felonies a year. Sometimes people are abrupt and rude, just like in this place sometimes people are abrupt and rude."

Backers of the measure say that's precisely why it's needed. They say busy prosecutors too often ignore the rights victims are already supposed to have. The sponsor of the effort says he's not giving up yet. But because the measure would amend the Constitution, it must pass the House before a deadline this week, six months before it would go before Illinois voters on the November ballot.

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