The Illinois Supreme Court today ruled that Adolfo Davis, who was sentenced to mandatory life without parole for crimes he commited as a juvenile, should receive a new sentencing hearing. The decision comes on the heels of the 2012 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Miller v. Alabama that such mandatory sentences "violate . . . the Eighth Amendment's ban on cruel and unusual punishment."
The Catholic Conference of Illinois in August joined other faith-based organizations in an amicus brief to the Davis case, pointing out the U.S. Supreme Court noted that juveniles lack maturity, are far more impressionable than adults, and still have the capacity to change. When the case was heard in January, CCI wrote a letter to the editor that was distributed statewide, and published in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Daily Herald, the State Journal-Register and the Belleville News-Democrat.
Davis has spent more than 20 years behind bars for participating in a robbery that ended up killing two people. He was 14 when he committed the crime in which he never fired a shot.
CCI further notes that Davis has accepted responsibility for his actions, attained his General Education Diploma, and works with a Catholic priest to deter at-risk children from criminal activity. Cardinal George of the Archdiocese of Chicago in 2011 wrote Gov. Pat Quinn, asking him to commute Davis' sentence.
"We support the justifiable punishment of crime, but also believe in the redemptive abilities of the individual, especially juveniles who can mature, repent and develop into productive members of society," CCI executive Director Robert Gilligan said today in a press release.
He also noted the Conference supports state legislation ending mandatory life sentences without parole for juveniles, a position shared by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
The Illinois House today passed Senate Bill 10 on a 61-54 vote, with two voting "present." The Senate approved the legislation on Feb. 14, 2013. Gov. Pat Quinn has said he will sign the legislation into law.
(View the House roll call here.)
SB 10 changes the state's definition of marriage from "between a man and a woman" to "between two persons" and offers scant religious freedom protections to churches, religious employers and organizations, businesses and individuals.
Statement of Catholic Conference of Illinois
on House Passage of Redefinition of Marriage Legislation (SB 10)
CHICAGO – Today’s decision by Illinois lawmakers to change the definition of marriage not only goes against the common consensus of the human race – which understands that nature tells us that marriage is the union of one man and one woman – but it also undermines an institution that is the cornerstone of a healthy society. The optimal condition in which to raise children is a home that includes both a mother and father, since women and men are not interchangeable.
The Catholic Conference of Illinois is deeply disappointed that members of the General Assembly chose to redefine what is outside of its authority: a natural institution like marriage. We remain concerned about the very real threats to religious liberty that are at stake with the passage of this bill.
We thank the thousands of citizens across Illinois who joined us in our efforts to preserve marriage in law. This was a truly bipartisan and ecumenical effort, reflective of the fact that a marriage is universally understood as being between a man and a woman.
CCI says parents 'can breathe a sigh of relief' with state Supreme Court ruling allowing Parental Notice of Abortion Act
The Catholic Conference of Illinois today issued the following press release regarding the Illinois Supreme Court ruling allowing the implementation of the 1995 Parental Notice of Abortion Act.
This map by CCI shows how Illinois stood out before today's ruling. The blue states are those with parental notification/consent laws. The red states are those with no laws. Illinois is in green to show how it stood out as an abortion haven. When the law is implemented within the next month, Illinois will join the sea of blue.
Read the press release in pdf form here.
Catholic Conference of Illinois says parents ‘can breathe a sigh of relief’
with state Supreme Court ruling allowing Parental Notice of Abortion Act
CHICAGO — The Catholic Conference of Illinois applauds today’s unanimous Illinois Supreme Court ruling clearing the way for a 1995 parental notification of abortion law to finally be implemented.
State lawmakers approved the legislation requiring that a parent or legal guardian be notified when a minor seeks an abortion in order to protect our children from making a life-or-death decision on their own. The measure includes a waiver for those children who have been physically or sexually abused.
Special interests and legal wranglings barred the law from taking effect for 18 years, setting up the state as an abortion haven for children from surrounding states, which already have parental notification laws in place.
“With this ruling, parents across the state and the Midwest can breathe a sigh of relief with the knowledge that state law finally allows them to fully parent their children, and safeguard their lives and those of the unborn,” said Robert Gilligan, executive director of the Catholic Conference of Illinois.
Gilligan noted the decision cited other court rulings that recognize minors often lack the maturity, experience and judgment to distinguish harmful choices, as well as observing that juvenile justice systems exist for those very reasons.
The Catholic Conference of Illinois strongly supported the original legislation, lent its support to defeating the legal challenges to the law, and fought off subsequent legislative efforts to undermine the role of parents.
The Catholic Conference of Illinois today released the following statement regarding the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling invalidating the federal Defense of Marriage Act. The Act barred the federal government from recognizing same-sex unions as marriage.
The statement can also be viewed here as a pdf.
STATEMENT FROM THE CATHOLIC CONFERENCE OF ILLINOIS
ON U.S. SUPREME COURT RULING ON DEFENSE OF MARRIAGE ACT
CHICAGO — The Catholic Conference of Illinois regrets the U.S. Supreme Court’s wrong decision to invalidate the Defense of Marriage Act. Marriage comes to us through God’s nature as the union of one man and one woman.
The ruling, however, does not mandate a redefinition of marriage across the nation, so the citizens of Illinois can still preserve marriage by telling their state lawmakers to honor the natural truth of marriage as the union of one man and one woman.
The Catholic Church in Illinois and across the world will continue to promote this truth.
The Catholic Conference of Illinois will work to preserve marriage and stress the disturbing lack of religious freedom protections included in Illinois’ legislative efforts to redefine marriage. The bill before the Illinois legislature lacks even the minimal protections found in other state laws authorizing the redefinition of marriage, including New York, Minnesota, Rhode Island and Connecticut.
Individual bishops in Illinois later issued their own statements:
Cardinal George of the Archdiocese of Chicago
Bishop Conlon of the Diocese of Joliet
Bishop Malloy of the Diocese of Rockford
Bishop Paprocki of the Diocese of Springfield-in-Illinois