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New Peters bill challenges felony murder laws

peters 103119SPRINGFIELD –State Senator Robert Peters (D-Chicago) introduced a bill this week that redefines felony murder charges in Illinois.

The language of current state law allows prosecutors to charge someone with first-degree murder if a death occurs during the commission of another offense when acting alone, or if a third-party individual causes a death when acting within a group. The new legislation would ban prosecutors from being able to do so.

“Incarceration rates are disturbingly high as it is,” Peters said. “These laws do nothing to improve safety in our community and are not an effective way to combat the unforgivable crowding of our jails and prisons. They are quite simply not a reflection of any sort of justice we should strive for as a society.”

The bill is an initiative of Restore Justice and was filed in response to an incident in Lake County where five teens were charged with first-degree murder after a failed home burglary in which the homeowner shot and killed a sixth teen.

Senate Bill 2292 was filed with the secretary of the Senate on Monday. It is currently awaiting assignment to a committee, which likely will not occur until full session resumes in January.

Sen. Robert Peters

Sen. Robert Peters

13th District

Years served: 2019–Present

Committee assignments: Criminal Law; Financial Institutions; Human Services; Telecommunications & InfoTechnology; Veterans Affairs.

Associated Representatives:
Kambium Buckner
Curtis J. Tarver II