New law expands court protections for individuals with disabilitiesSPRINGFIELD – A new law passed by Senator Julie Morrison (D – Deerfield) earlier this year and signed today by the governor will expand court protections for individuals with intellectual disabilities, cognitive impairments and developmental disabilities.

“For victims of physical or sexual assault, taking the stand and confronting an accuser is often a very emotional and trying experience,” Morrison said. “For an individual with an intellectual disability, the process can be completely overwhelming.”

Current Illinois law allows an individual with an intellectual disability, who has been the victim of certain crimes involving physical or sexual assault, to designate someone to testify in court on their behalf. Known as a hearsay exception, the law is vague and excludes many vulnerable victims.

Morrison introduced Senate Bill 3106 earlier this year that more thoroughly lays out who qualifies for a hearsay exception, allowing a trusted caretaker or another individual with knowledge of a crime the ability to testify on the victim’s behalf. 

“This new law adds an additional level of protection for individuals with disabilities to ensure they are not denied justice simply because of their disability,” Morrison said. “The law will ensure our courtrooms give the opportunity for justice for all individuals.”

Senate Bill 3106 was signed into law today by the governor and takes effect immediately.

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