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The Catalyst
The newsletter of the ISBA’s Standing Committee on Women and the Law

October 2008, vol. 14, no. 1

New law adds remedies, enhances protections for DV victims

“A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives.”

—Jackie Robinson

The life of Cindy Bishof was extremely important to victims and survivors of domestic violence. On August 4, 2008, Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich signed legislation to increase remedies available against violators of court orders of protection.

Despite an order of protection, Cindy Bishof was stalked by a former boyfriend who repeatedly violated court orders to stay away from Bishof’s home and job. She asked a judge to order her stalker to wear a GPS device to notify authorities if he went to either of those places. Unfortunately, the court had no authority to do so. In March of this year, in the parking lot of her place of employment, that former boyfriend shot and killed Cindy Bishof, then killed himself.

Known as the Cindy Bishof Law, PA-773 gives courts, corrections and probation officers discretion to impose additional restrictions against violators of orders of protection.

Specifically, the new law amends the Code of Criminal Procedure sections addressing special conditions of bail and order of protection remedies. As to conditions of bail, the Cindy Bishof Law requires a court to order an individual charged with a criminal violation of an order of protection to “undergo a risk assessment evaluation at an Illinois Department of Human Services protocol approved partner abuse intervention program.” The court may then order the accused to be placed under electronic surveillance pursuant to the new 730 ILCS 5/5-8A-7 after considering the results of the risk assessment and the circumstances of the violation. See 725 ILCS 5/110-5 (f). It also amends the counseling remedy in an order of protection to allow a court to order a respondent in an intimate partner relationship to submit to a similar assessment and follow all recommended treatment, See 725 ILCS 5/112A-14 (b)(4), and adds a parallel provision in the Illinois Domestic Violence Act of 1986. See 750 ILCS 60/214 (b)(4).

The new law also allows courts to order a convicted violator of an order of protection to wear a global positioning device as a condition of probation or conditional discharge. See 730 ILCS 5/5-6-3 (l). In addition, courts are required to fine a convicted violator of an order of protection a minimum $200. This fine will be used to implement the domestic violence surveillance program and fund the costs of supervising the offender. The fine may not be reduced by time served. See 730 ILCS 5/5-9-1.16. Furthermore, the law requires a person convicted of a violation of an order of protection to wear a global positioning device as a condition of early release from the Department of Corrections because of good time credit. See 730 ILCS 5/3-6-3 (f).

Finally, the Cindy Bishof Law establishes the domestic violence surveillance program. It suggests that the authorities supervising the offender employ global positioning technology that:

(1) immediately notifies law enforcement or other monitors of any breach of the court ordered inclusion zone boundaries;

(2) notifies the victim in near-real time of any breaches;

(3) allows monitors to speak to the offender through a cell phone implanted in the bracelet device; and

(4) has a loud alarm that can be activated to warn the potential victim of the offender’s presence in a forbidden zone.” See730 ILCS 5/5-8A-7. The Division of Probation Services is charged with developing standards to implement the domestic violence surveillance program. See 730 ILCS 110/15 (n).

The law takes effect January 1, 2009.