Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Proposed Illinois Bill Will Do Nothing For Victims

On April 6, 2008, Mercedes McCauley was gunned down as she was leaving church by her estranged boyfriend Glenn Martinez.

Mercedes had secured an order of protection back in November of 2007, and she was scheduled to return back in court in April before a Judge.

Glenn Martinez was a class-x- felon and on parole for an unrelated crime that involved murder. Automatically, criminals are denied any type of bond.

I spent years in courtroom advocating for battered woman and securing court orders that included a safety plan once the order by a judge was in place. Often, it was our domestic violence agency who provided the groundwork and had the individual on parole sent back to prison.

Automatically, common sense really, I would contact the parole agent, speak to the State's Attorney on the case and the Offender would be sent back to do the remainder of their prison sentence. In addition, more time would be added at a later date during a scheduled court hearing on the violation.

In today's article in both the Chicago newspapers, headline read "Bill would tighten State's Leash on Parolees". Hogwash! If people were doing their jobs in the first place, women such as Mercedes McCauley would be alive, today. It was pure ignorance in court the day Mercedes secured that court order. The State's Attorney is suppose to read to the Judge the Offenders criminal history and the fact that person is on parole at the order of protection hearing. It never happened.

The court docket that day was on overload as it is most days with victims just like Mercedes jumping through hoops just to obtain an order of protection. And no doubt court staff were too busy.

The new bill proposed says "parolees must notify their
parole agents within 24 hours of receiving a restraining order"

That is not going to happen. You cannot leave that up to the parolee. They will likely kill their victim before "alerting" a parole agent who is already overloaded with cases. And who is going to allow a victim to send them back to prison? The State's Attorney must be the one to notify the parole agent immediately. The victim must be instructed at the time of making a police report to inform the officer the offender is on parole. Then the offender is returned back to prison.

This new Bill is ignorant to the obvious solution to a growing problem within courts across the country as it pertains to court orders of protection.


Anonymous said...

My sister had a restraining order against a former boyfriend on parole for armed robbery we didnt know it until he almost killed her. Seems like people are not doing their jobs and the begining.

Anonymous said...

The system can't protect women. Take control move far far away. get yourself out of there and start over

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