Illinois’ new Street Gang and Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Law
Yesterday, Illinois Governor Patrick Quinn signed into law the Illinois Street Gang and Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Law, 720 ILCS 5/33G. The full text of the new law can be found at https://www.ilga.gov/legislation/publicacts/fulltext.asp?Name=097-0686.
The legislative intent of the statute is stated, “The substantial harm inflicted on the people and economy of this State by pervasive violent street gangs and other forms of enterprise criminality, is legitimately a matter of grave concern to the people of this State who have a basic right to be protected from that criminal activity and to be given adequate remedies to redress its harms.” It further states that the legislature found that current laws were inadequate and that it, thereby, supplemented those laws with the Illinois RICO statute.
The statute defines the enterprises that are subject to the statute as well as the predicate activities which are subject of the new law. Those activities include any act that is a Class 2 felony or higher as well as any act under the law of another jurisdiction that could be charged as a Class 2 felony or higher in the State of Illinois. It outlines many of those offenses including solicitation of murder for hire, first degree murder, kidnapping, criminal sexual assault, promoting juvenile prostitution, criminal street gang recruitment, robbery, arson, place of worship arson, aggravated discharge of a firearm, as well as certain offenses under the cannabis control act, controlled substance act and methamphetamine control and community act. It further outlines that pattern of predicate activity means at least three occurances that are in some way related to each other, have continuity between them and are separate acts. The statute further explains such a pattern of predicate activity in detail.
It outlines prohibited activities and provides for enhanced Class X felony sentences as well as enhanced sentences whenever the unlawful death of any person or persons results as a necessary or natural consequence of any violation of the statute. The statute further prohibits a sentence of probation, periodic imprisonment, conditional discharge, impact incarceration or county impact incarceration, court supervision, withheld adjudication, or any pretrial diversionary sentence or suspended sentence for persons convicted under the act.
The law requires the State’s Attorney wishing to prosecute persons under this Act to adopt rules and procedures and determine, subject to internal approval, that the prosecution is appropriate pursuant to an internal memorandum. Said memorandum is not subject to disclosure, however, and does not subject the exercise of prosecutorial discretion to judicial review.
It is interesting to note that the legislature included a provision repealing the act 5 years after it becomes law. Presumably, this will allow the General Assembly to review the efficacy and wisdom of the statute a few years after it is operational.