SPRINGFIELD - So much for innocent until proven guilty. On Monday, the Illinois House Judiciary Committee passed HB3744, which would require anyone "accused" of felony domestic abuse to wear an electronic surveillance device as a condition of bail.
The bill was filed in response to the murder of an Antioch woman whose ex-boyfriend ignored an order of protection that had been issued against him, said State Rep. Barbara Wheeler (R-Crystal Lake) who sponsored the bill.
“Diane Kephart went through the proper process and had an order of protection put in place against her ex-boyfriend after he was charged with aggravated domestic battery with a deadly weapon,” said Wheeler. “Through House Bill 3744, a judge could mandate that a GPS device be placed on an accused violent offender as a condition of bail.”
HB3744 seeks to amend the Code of Criminal Procedure by providing that when a person is charged with felony domestic battery or certain other violent offenses, regardless whether an order of protection has been issued, the court may order the accused to undergo a risk assessment evaluation and order that the accused, as a condition of bail, be placed under GPS monitoring.
The bill also requires the court to document in the official record the reason for recommending or declining the use of a tracking device on a violently accused offender. The cost of the electronic surveillance device would be paid by the accused defendant.
“If Diane Kephart’s offender had been wearing a tracking device, she may very well still be alive today,” said Wheeler. “But in the wake of that tragedy, the members of the Kephart family have decided to become victims’ advocates with hopes that future victims can have an additional layer of protection from their offenders.”
The provisions of the bill would apply to those charged with:
- Felony domestic battery
- Aggravated domestic battery
- Aggravated battery
- Aggravated kidnapping
- Unlawful restraint
- Aggravated unlawful restraint
- An attempt to commit first degree murder
“I look forward to bringing this important piece of legislation before my colleagues in the House, and it is my hope that it will receive wide, bipartisan support,” Wheeler said.
The bill now heads to the House floor for full debate.