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Tom Cullerton passes measure to eliminate state’s forensic backlog

crime lab 052919SPRINGFIELD—State Senator Tom Cullerton passed a measure to help eliminate the backlog of evidence sitting unchecked at state forensic labs.

Cullerton (D-Villa Park) passed House Joint Resolution 7, which directs the Illinois State Police to take all steps possible to comply with the Federal Rapid DNA Act of 2017.

“Forensic evidence can make all the difference in the outcome of a case,” Cullerton said. “This highly scientific process continues to become increasingly important in solving crimes. It is vital that the state speed up the process to ensure that justice is delivered swiftly and effectively.”

The measure directs the Illinois State Police and its divisions to examine crime labs’ equipment, procedures, and staffing levels with the goal of identifying and reporting to the General Assembly on factors preventing them from compliance with federal rules on swiftly processing evidence.

The current backlog of biological evidence includes numerous cases of violent crimes, including murders, shootings, and criminal sexual assaults, that end up being delayed for long periods of time. It typically takes at least one year for biological evidence to be processed by the state crime labs.

In today's climate where police and prosecutors are increasingly scrutinized about their procedures, DNA evidence is crucial to the successful prosecution of criminal cases.

“One of the most important players in any type of testimony often isn't a person but the forensic data,” Cullerton said. “Our hope is this report will provide the General Assembly with the knowledge to help give the Illinois State Police the necessary tools to drastically improve turnaround and ensure they are in compliance with federal protocols.”

This bipartisan initiative is sponsored by State Representative David McSweeney (R-Barrington Hills) in the House.

House Joint Resolution 7 passed the Senate with unanimous support.

Tom Cullerton champions measure to give Illinois taxpayers clear picture of state’s finances

Sen. Tom CullertonSPRINGFIELD – Illinois residents may soon have a clearer picture of the state’s finances, thanks to State Senator Tom Cullerton.

Cullerton passed House Bill 313, which requires the Illinois Comptroller to include the expenditure amounts and dates of expenditures by state agencies to vendors, the salaries of each state employee and graphical data whenever possible to the comptroller’s online ledger.

“Illinois taxpayers have a right to know how their money is spent,” Cullerton said. “While this online database provides residents with an excellent resource, this legislation will expand the scope of the website to create an even clearer picture of the state’s finances.”

Tom Cullerton moves to make pension system information public

Sen. Tom CullertonSPRINGFIELD – Units of local government may soon be required to disclose municipal pension deals.

State Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park) passed House Bill 303, which would require local government bodies to disclose more information about how certain lump-sum payouts at the end of an employee’s career are used to increase that person’s retirement benefits.

“This open and transparent process will help put a stop to pension boosts that end up costing Illinois taxpayers thousands of dollars,” Cullerton said. “Expanding the disclosure laws to require sick days to be included in the process will help ensure there isn’t any misconduct.”

Tom Cullerton moves to speed up evidence processing in crime labs

Senator Tom CullertonSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Tom Cullerton is taking action to help eliminate the backlog of evidence sitting unchecked at state forensic labs.

Cullerton (D-Villa Park) passed House Joint Resolution 7, which directs the Auditor General to conduct a performance audit of the Illinois State Police Division of Forensic Sciences.

“Forensic evidence can make or break the outcome of a case,” Cullerton said. “These scientific procedures are increasingly important in solving crimes. It is imperative that we speed up this process to ensure that justice is delivered swiftly.”

The resolution directs the Auditor General to examine crime labs’ equipment, procedures, and staffing levels with the goal of identifying and reporting to the General Assembly on factors preventing them from compliance with federal rules on swiftly processing evidence.

The current backlog of biological evidence includes numerous cases of violent crimes, including murders, shootings, and criminal sexual assaults, that end up being delayed for long periods of time. It typically takes at least one year for biological evidence to be processed by the state crime labs.

In today's climate where police and prosecutors are increasingly scrutinized about their procedures, DNA evidence is crucial to the successful prosecution of criminal cases.

“One of the most important players in any type of testimony often isn't a person but the forensic evidence,” Cullerton said. “Our hope is this report will provide the General Assembly with the knowledge to help give the Illinois State Police the necessary tools to drastically improve turnaround and ensure they are in compliance with federal protocols.”

This bipartisan initiative is sponsored by State Representative David McSweeney (R-Barrington Hills) in the House.

House Joint Resolution 7 passed the Senate’s State Government Committee with bipartisan support and now heads to the full Senate for consideration.

Sen. Tom Cullerton

tcullerton-hs

23rd Legislative District

Years served: 2013 - Present

Committee assignments: Energy and Public Utilities; Insurance; Labor (Chairperson); State Government; Transportation; Veterans Affairs (Vice-Chairperson).

Biography: Born Sept. 20, 1969; studied at the University of Kansas; former village president and trustee of Villa Park; married (wife Stacey), three sons.

Associated Representatives:
Deb Conroy
Diane Pappas