of Champaign County

Steering Committee

March 1, 2007

Present: Bill Brown, Roger Clark, Susan Cohen, Ward Henson, Esther Patt, Gary Peters, Richard Schnuer, Ben Grosser, Stephen Portnoy, Carol Spindel, Marsha Woodbury, Mary Cory, Stan Levy, Paul Wisovaty

Absent with notice:  Alan Levy, Rachael Dietkus, Shirley Stillinger

Guest: Julia Reitz, Champaign County State's Attorney.

The meeting was called to order by the acting chair, Susan Cohen, at 7:35 p.m. Introductions were made around the table and the minutes were approved as distributed.

Julia Reitz's Presentation

State's Attorney Julia Reitz gave her presentation before general business. She spoke for over an hour about her running of the State's Attorney office. Some of the interesting points made were that out of  the 102 State's Attorneys in Illinois, only 7 are women. Locally in Champaign Country the office has 22 attorneys and 48 staff altogether.  There are 12 police agencies in the county.

The office only prosecutes State crimes, with over 2000 felonies and 1800 misdemeanors filed last year. They also oversee Juvenile Justice and Illinois traffic cases.  The changes in Illinois law regarding DUI and driving without car insurance have increased the felony cases related to traffic offenses.

Her goal is to reduce the number of felonies filed and increase the number of misdemeanors. She mentioned "station adjustments" that are alternatives to prosecutions and involve things like having violators do public service. These programs are at the discretion of the police agency.

She also mentioned that truancy has become a large problem, and largest group of truants are African American girls.

Another issue that is of interest to the ACLU is changing the age for the "Adult" label.  Currently the age is 17, but there is a movement to have the age moved to 18.  She reviewed both sides of the debate,
and finished her presentation at 9:00 p.m.

Annual Meeting:

The Annual meeting will be on April 22, 207, at the Great Impasta, starting at 11:30 a.m. Gary Isaacs is the speaker.

The price is $25, and $15 for students/low income. The only award we will present is the Chalmers Award to Sandra Ahten.


The deadline for newsletter articles is March 10, and we can help with labeling during the last week in March.

The meeting was adjourned at 9:20 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Marsha Woodbury

NEXT MEETING: April 5, 2007, at 7:30 p.m.