Illinois Considers Electronic Tracking for Violent Crime Charges

In the wake of an Illinois murder case state politicians are considering a proposal to allow electronic monitoring of people accused of certain violent crimes. The law would allow judges to track the accused before their case even goes to trial. The proposal would not require judges to order monitoring, but would give them the option.

The use of electronic monitoring is surrounded by controversy. Some argue that it violates a person’s civil liberties, and others think it lures supposed victims into relaxing their guard, possibly to their detriment. Some feel that it is a better alternative to holding the accused in a cell until trial. Although this type of monitoring is under debate, it has become increasingly popular nationally. A recent study found that this electronic tracking, especially in domestic violence cases, has continuously increased since 1996.

The proposal is being pushed by the family of a woman killed by her ex-boyfriend after she had obtained a restraining order against him. Members of her family argue that electronic monitoring should be legal for those charged with violent crimes even if there is no protection order issued. However, critics of the proposal argue that this type of monitoring infringes on a person’s presumption of innocence.

If passed, this proposal could have a detrimental effect on those accused of violent crimes. By limiting their freedom and tracking their every move, people accused of crimes would already be facing punishment even before they have received a fair trial. Hopefully lawmakers will see this bill as a severe violation of civil liberties and refuse to pass it.

Source: Chicago Tribune, “Family of Illinois murder victim seeks monitoring law,” Lisa Black, Dec. 15, 2013