- On November 27th, the Illinois legislature overrode the governor’s veto of Senate Bill 1830, which will require pre-trial reliability hearings and enhanced discovery before jailhouse informant testimony is admissible in homicide, sexual assault and arson cases. Gwen Jordan, Associate Professor in Legal Studies; John Hanlon and Larry Golden, Directors of the Illinois Innocence Project (IIP); and Payton Raso, a UIS History major, VP of the Pre-Law Society and student worker with the IIP, all worked diligently for the past two and a half years on securing this law. The law, which will take effect January 1, 2019, is the first in the nation that requires pre-trial reliability hearings before jailhouse informant testimony is admissible.
Below is news coverage of the enactment of the bill.
THE MOVEMENT TO REFORM the controversial practice of employing and using jailhouse informants as witnesses in criminal trials is gaining traction after a major victory this week.
WICS-TV 20 (Nov. 27)
According to the Illinois Innocence Project, jailhouse informants typically have ulterior motives when testifying, since they often get leniency on sentences or other benefits. They said that can lead to false accusations, which in turn can lead to wrongful convictions.
NPR Illinois (Nov. 27)
John Hanlon directs the Illinois Innocence Project, which has gotten 11 people out of prison. He says jailhouse informants have long been controversial. “I like the fact that we will now get to find out more about a jailhouse snitch,” he explained.
- Dr. Anette Sikka is the first to be featured in UIS’s newest blog, Star Scholars, focusing on the scholarly work she has provided in regards to the current and on going issues surrounding immigration.
- Dr. Gwen Jordan recently contributed in the book Woman In International and Universal Exhibitions 1876-1937, Myriam Boussahba-Bravard and Rebecca Rogers, eds. (London: Routledge). Her chapter titled, “”After Mature Deliberation’: Women Lawyers’ Infiltration of the 1893 World Columbian Exposition” discusses how women lawyers used the 1893 world fair in Chicago to advance women’s rights and to establish their professional identity. Dr. Jordan has a forthcoming publication “A Woman of Strange, Unfathomable Presence”: Ida Platt’s Lived Experience of Race, Gender, and Law, 1863-1939,” in Harvard Law School Journal of Law and Gender volume 41, Fall 2018) in which she explores how Platt’s choice to maintain a fluid racial identity allowed her to pursue a career as a practicing lawyer and maintain her family relationships in the era of Jim Crow in the United States.
- Professor Deborah Anthony’s new article forthcoming in the Hastings Women’s Law Journal of the University of California Hastings College of Law, entitled Analyzing the Disappearance of Women’s Surnames and the Retrenchment of their Political-Legal Status in Early Modern England. It is scheduled for publication in their Fall 2017 journal.