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Grand jury processes to be reviewed by Illinois Senate task force


From Illinois Business Journal news services

SPRINGFIELD – In 2011, wrongful convictions cost Illinois taxpayers $214 million and the falsely accused a combined 926 years in prison. The Illinois Senate approved a good government measure to create transparency in the grand jury process.

“Wrongful convictions erode the public’s trust in our criminal justice system. Transparency is the only way to restore faith in this process,” said state Sen. Mattie Hunter, the plan’s sponsor.

The Grand Jury Review Task Force aims to reduce undeserved years in prison and lost tax dollars in response to growing concerns about the criminal justice system. Events in Ferguson, Mo., and New York City fueled demands for reform in urban communities.

The task force will hold public hearings to provide a thorough examination of the criminal justice and grand jury processes. The task force will then present their findings and recommendations to the General Assembly and governor beginning Dec. 31, 2015.

Representatives from the Senate, the legal system, civil liberties organizations, advocacy groups and members of the public will be a part of the board.

The Senate Resolution was adopted unanimously. The task force will begin meeting as soon as the Senate president and Republican leader appoint members, Hunter said.

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