SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax      Advertise Here      Mobile Version     Exclusive Subscriber Content     Updated Posts    Contact
CapitolFax.com
To subscribe to Capitol Fax, click here.
Strong penalties proposed for visitation violations *** US Supreme Court strikes down protest regs at cemeteries

Wednesday, Mar 2, 2011

* Usually, bills based on extreme cases can get a bit outta hand. But there are lots of problems out there with visitation rights, with parents using children as weapons in nasty divorces. So, this may not be too unreasonable

A bill that increases the penalties for parents who violate visitation agreements passed out of an Illinois House committee on Wednesday on a unanimous vote. The proposal now goes before the full House.

House Bill 1604 allows judges to impose fines and possible jail time if visitation is continually denied.

The so-called “Steven Watkins bill” stems from the 2008 case where Watkins was fatally shot when he went to pick up daughter Sidney, now 3, for a court-ordered visit in Ashland. Shirley Skinner, the grandmother of Watkins ‘ ex-wife, Jennifer Watkins , was convicted of first-degree murder in the killing and is serving a 70-year sentence.

Steven Watkins’ parents were granted visitation rights with Sidney, but Jennifer Watkins has not produced the girl for court-ordered visits.

* The bill does a lot more than impose fines and jail time. It grants judges a lot of new powers

Amends the Illinois Vehicle Code and the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act. Provides that the court, upon finding that a party engaged in visitation abuse, may: suspend the offending party’s Illinois driving privileges pursuant to the Illinois Vehicle Code until the court has determined that there has been sufficient compliance for a sufficient period of time with the court’s order concerning visitation and that full driving privileges shall be reinstated; order that the offending party be issued a family responsibility driving permit to allow limited driving privileges for employment and medical purposes; order that an entity that issued a professional license to the offending party suspend or revoke the party’s professional license for a period of no more than 6 months; and fine the party not more than $500 for each finding of visitation abuse. Provides that a finding of visitation abuse constitutes a change in circumstances for purposes of a modification of a custody judgment. Provides that if a parent has been previously found in contempt by the court for visitation abuse, the court may further: incarcerate the offending parent one day for each day of denied visitation; or require the offending party to post a $5,000 bond subject to forfeiture for the purpose of assuring compliance with future visitation.

* By the way, an arrest warrant has been issued for Jennifer Watkins because she defied a judge’s order...

A Cass County judge has ordered the arrest of the widow of the late Steven Watkins for not allowing visits between the couple’s 3-year-old daughter and the murdered man’s parents.

The visits between Sidney Watkins and her paternal grandparents, Dale and Penny Watkins, stopped Nov. 26 because the child and mother Jennifer Watkins reportedly moved to Florida.

Jennifer Watkins did not appear Tuesday at a hearing on multiple petitions that Dale and Penny Watkins’ attorneys filed seeking she be held in contempt of court and a warrant issued for her arrest.

Jennifer Watkins’ attorneys, Michael Goldberg of Chicago and Dan Fultz of Springfield, told Judge Bob Hardwick Jr. they do not know where she is and could not provide any defense because they have been unable to communicate with her.

Thoughts?

…Adding… This ruling may not go down well with some

The First Amendment protects hateful protests at military funerals, the Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday in an 8-1 decision.

“Speech is powerful,” Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. wrote for the majority. “It can stir people to action, move them to tears of both joy and sorrow, and — as it did here — inflict great pain.”

But under the First Amendment, he went on, “we cannot react to that pain by punishing the speaker.” Instead, the national commitment to free speech, he said, requires protection of “even hurtful speech on public issues to ensure that we do not stifle public debate.”

Illinois already has a law on its books restricting the protests (which were enacted because of those idiot cultists who protest at military funerals), but there was a push this year to strengthen it

State Rep. Frank Mautino, D-Spring Valley, is backing legislation to discourage loud and threatening protests at funerals.

“Hateful rhetoric has no place at private ceremonies like funerals where mourners should be able to pay their final respects in peace,” said Mautino. “That right cannot be infringed, so we should do all we can to keep discouraging, despicable protests from taking place at funerals, especially when fallen soldiers are laid to rest.”

In response to demonstrations by a Kansas-based group that regularly protests the families and funerals of soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, including funerals in Illinois, in 2006 Mautino and the General Assembly passed the Let Them Rest in Peace Act — a law prohibiting anyone from protesting loudly, blocking access to and from any funeral and displaying threatening words or images 30 minutes before, during and 30 minutes after a funeral or memorial service.

Under current law, protesters cannot be within 200 feet of the entrance or exit of the cemetery or memorial facility. The law defines protesting as disorderly conduct, which includes loud protests of singing, chanting, whistling or yelling, and displaying any visual images that convey fighting words or actual or veiled threats against any other person.

- Posted by Rich Miller        


21 Comments
  1. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Mar 2, 11 @ 1:23 pm:

    Have to agree with the Supremes, as disgusting as those Westboro haters are.

    Of course, there’s nothing to say that family members or the bikers who’ve been acting as buffers at the funerals might not agree with Justice Alito’s dissent on fighting words, either, and act accordingly.


  2. - Hoping for Rational Thought - Wednesday, Mar 2, 11 @ 1:37 pm:

    What happened to Steve Watkins was tragic. Hopefully a change in law will prevent further tragedies and also help keep children from becoming hostages in custody fights. Who knows maybe it would also keep Jennifer Watkins from disobeying a lawfully issued court order and fleeing the state. I generally dislike adding more layers of law but something needs to be done about ending these terrible situations.


  3. - Ray del Camino - Wednesday, Mar 2, 11 @ 1:42 pm:

    What you said, Word.

    And yes, bikers tend to side with the dissenting opinion, I’ve always found.


  4. - JustaJoe - Wednesday, Mar 2, 11 @ 1:46 pm:

    To me it is inappropriate to react to extreme cases with new law for everybody else. Can we not find ways to improve enforcement of existing law and court orders? With the same reasoning, I to have to side with the Supremes, and in the event of simply hurtful and disgusting abuse of that free speech right, it is up to the rest of us, including the press, to show it for what it is and to not ignore it or its hurtful impacts. If we want a more civil culture, we won’t get it by legislation.


  5. - Springfield Skeptic - Wednesday, Mar 2, 11 @ 2:24 pm:

    For those who don’t know, those bikers are mostly members of the Patriot Guard Riders. I have the priviledge of having been a member for the last 4 years. We set up a flag line. A wall of men and women to act as a buffer and a shield between the grieving family and those hateful monsters. Go PGR!


  6. - Citigirl - Wednesday, Mar 2, 11 @ 2:26 pm:

    Bad idea. Think of those two little boys downstate who were killed by their father when he picked them up for visitation. She had a bad feeling, tried to get the court’s attention, but followed the order. We didn’t rewrite the visitation laws after that horrible case, we shouldn’t change them for the Watkins case.


  7. - D.P. Gumby - Wednesday, Mar 2, 11 @ 2:55 pm:

    There is an ironic link between the two described cases–law can only do so much, it is founded upon the principle of people acting rationally. Those who are irrational will act regardless of what the law says. The Skinners and the Westboro Baptist people are irrational in their beliefs; we can pass laws til the cows come home and it will be unlikely to change their behavior. The time/place/manner restrictions under 1st Amendment w/ the assistance of the Patriot Guards are the best response. As to the visitation, I’ve got great reluctance to see these additional elements added into the mix of these vicious custody battles. It will just be yet another thing for the parties to fight about and distract and extend the battle. I foresee Motions for Sanctions for all of these and then arguments as to why one is appropriate but another isn’t and then appeals and long cases fighting over the applicability. There’s already some statute about interference w/ visitation & that has had no impact. It’s an attempt to legislate the unlegislatable.


  8. - SampsonK - Wednesday, Mar 2, 11 @ 2:59 pm:

    The Connelly Case was seriously unfortunate, but I think a good view of the whole case would find that there was interference there, and with years and years of ongoing litigation, the Connelly Case went way overboard. Also, they did try to pass legislation in that case, they tried to make late drop offs of children as a mandatory Amber Alert. That failed to pass traction in the House.


  9. - Captain Angrypants - Wednesday, Mar 2, 11 @ 3:08 pm:

    Having looked over Snyder v. Phelps this morning when the decision was published, I was very surprised by the facts of the case. I hadn’t been following it closely, and what I read was nothing like what the media covered. Yes, the Westboro “Church” said some really offensive things with their signs, but they stayed to the assigned public protest area, obeyed all laws, and quietly left after half an hour. Mr. Snyder, the father of the deceased, didn’t see anything other than the tops of their signs on his way from the church to the cemetery, and didn’t learn of what the protesters were saying until he watched the news that night.

    The case actually hinged on whether or not Westboro’s conduct qualified, tortiously, as Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress. Given that their signs were largely directed toward the US as a whole and they stayed a thousand feet away in a protest area, the SCOTUS said ‘no’, it wasn’t. What actually alarms me more is Alito’s dissent. He’s working hard at carving out a little niche for himself to the right of Clarence Thomas.


  10. - carbaby - Wednesday, Mar 2, 11 @ 3:10 pm:

    I find it odd to put forth legislation for visitation based upon a case that it is the grandparent’s right for visitation. Last I recall, grandparents do not have a “right” to visit under Illinois law- so in fact this case is unique. The language in this legislation does not indicate who the visiting parties are and thus can lead into a variety of interpretation of who is “protected”. I already thought there was a law on the books regarding withholding visitation with the same/similar remedies. So how does this law differ?


  11. - SampsonK - Wednesday, Mar 2, 11 @ 3:28 pm:

    carbaby: No, there isn’t a law on the books for same remedies, right now the remedies are very insignificant, at best contempt can be found and custody can be reversed. Grandparent visitation isn’t off the books, it was damaged significantly due to Troxel, but it is awarded when extreme situations warrant, the Watkins was one of them. That was upheld in the Appeals court in the case. The protected parties are defined in 750 under the visitation interference provisions. In essence, it’s folks who have a visitation order.


  12. - Team Sleep - Wednesday, Mar 2, 11 @ 4:02 pm:

    The Watkins case was tragic and I firmly believe not everyone involved in Steven’s death has been prosecuted. I’m quite sure the judge who ruled that Steven’s parents had visitation rights was skeptical of the entirety of the events. Regardless of how we feel about grandparents’ visitation rights, the judge ruled in a certain manner and Steven’s ex-wife didn’t follow the judge’s decree. I’m quite sure that’s grounds for arrest in any county under any circumstance. The courthouse news in my home county is filled with arrests made of people who failed to show up for a traffic charge or the smallest of misdemeanors.


  13. - Wensicia - Wednesday, Mar 2, 11 @ 4:27 pm:

    Have to agree with the Supremes. First Amendment protects these disgusting examples of human beings. Best thing is just to ignore them, if you can. I admire the actions of the Patriot Guard Riders in trying to protect the family members.


  14. - Backtrack - Wednesday, Mar 2, 11 @ 4:36 pm:

    This is why there are now over 200,000 Patriot Guard members across the U.S. A movement that started out to create a buffer between the mourners and haters at funerals of our fallen heros.


  15. - Cheryl44 - Wednesday, Mar 2, 11 @ 4:37 pm:

    I prefer taunting them to ignoring them, but YMMV.


  16. - MrJM - Wednesday, Mar 2, 11 @ 5:27 pm:

    @Cheryl44 - Taunting them makes no difference. They only do these stunts to provoke a reaction for which they can file a lawsuit: http://www.npr.org/2011/03/02/134198937/a-peek-inside-the-westboro-baptist-church?ps=cprs

    Like all trolls, they feed on attention.

    – MrJM


  17. - Just The Way It Is One - Wednesday, Mar 2, 11 @ 7:31 pm:

    You’d think the members of this miniscule-sixed “church,” which from what I read mostly consists of the phelps clan (sorry, I just can’t find it in me to CAPitalize the name), would find better, more loving-type things to do with its’ time in spreading the Gospel and the “Good News” about Christ’s many teachings than zero-in strictly on these truly despicable, hateful-based, ridiculing, so-called “protests” when folks are deeply in pain at the loss of a loved one…it’s not only terribly sad but truly pitiful…thank God, Pat Quinn and Rep. Mautino saw to it the passage of Illinois’ statute back in 2006 and the latter hopes to strengthen it even further–my holler out to the General Assembly: let’s push this one through and soon!


  18. - Just The Way It Is One - Wednesday, Mar 2, 11 @ 7:32 pm:

    From 7:31 p.m.’s post…it should read miniscule-sized in that first line….


  19. - Lake Lahontan - Wednesday, Mar 2, 11 @ 7:35 pm:

    I’m with Citigirl. As the child of divorce where the father was an jekyll and Hyde alcoholic in arrears on child support, I’m glad my mother was able to say no to visitation when he was unsafe to be around. Wonder if tv ad attorney Jeffrey “fathers rights” Leving is involved.

    Re: Westboro, bad people, but badly made case. Hopefully it won’t dissuade better cases against them.


  20. - Pot calling kettle - Wednesday, Mar 2, 11 @ 9:54 pm:

    Supremes got it right. I explained the case to my children this evening and we discussed why it is important to protect such despicable speech. I also think the buffer zone approach is a good one as well. The speech is protected and the families get a cushion of space to mourn.


  21. - SampsonK - Thursday, Mar 3, 11 @ 6:55 am:

    Lake Lahontan: Nope, Leving has nothing to do with this bill.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


* Reader comments closed for the weekend
* Summers compares Trump to Rauner
* New White House website references "thousands of shootings in Chicago"
* Let's try cashing in on our rich heritage
* And now for a little bit of good news
* Unemployment up, jobs down
* Question of the day
* *** UPDATED x1 - Kirk declined to fly with Obama *** Kirk won't stop saying goofy things
* Um... about that "fully funded" boast
* Cullerton, Radogno "playing coy" about tax hike percentage
* "Institute" ginning up opposition to Senate deal
* A SOTS preview?
* IDOT warns of doom for I-55 toll lanes
* Is the end near for legislator pensions?
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Today's edition of Capitol Fax (use all CAPS in password)
* Yesterday's blog posts

Support CapitolFax.com
Visit our advertisers...

...............

...............

...............

...............
<


Search This Blog...

Search the 98th General Assembly By Bill Number
(example: HB0001)

Search the 98th General Assembly By Keyword

  
* Galaxy Note 7 explosion report: why did Samsung’s phablet blow up?
* Sonos wants to integrate voice assistants into its speaker lineup
* [TA Deals] Master data science and analytics with this bundle for less than $50
* T-Mobile Tuesday for two
* Best cloud storage apps
* New images suggest fourth physical button present on Samsung Galaxy S8
* Three prospective Xiaomi Mi 6 versions detailed by insiders, including dual-edged Premier

* Dominican Republic academy re-opens with upgrades
* Dominican Republic academy re-opens with upgrades
* New Hall of Famers reflect on highest honor
* Fans will be able to stream live games in '17
* New Hall of Famers get their close-up
* Williams says Hall not just for 'all-time greats'
* Collins named fourth-best catching prospect in MLB

...............


Main Menu
Home
Illinois
YouTube
Pundit rankings
Obama
Subscriber Content
Durbin
Burris
Blagojevich Trial
Advertising
Updated Posts
Polls

Archives
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
December 2005
April 2005
March 2005
February 2005
January 2005
December 2004
November 2004
October 2004

Blog*Spot Archives
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005
May 2005

Syndication

RSS Feed 2.0
Comments RSS 2.0
WordPress

Loading


* Vogel: Some hope Illinois can get on track..
* OUR VIEW: Blago stays in prison — let’s keep it.....
* Rauner Sets NIU Board of Trustees Replacing 3 M.....
* Illinois governor extends tax incentive program.....
* Illinois Senate leaders promise budget-deal vot.....


* EXCHANGE: Arcola man armed and ready to rumble
* EXCHANGE: Church moves from Freeport into historic building
* Illinois State Police warning people about a phone scam
* Alleged Chicago-area drug dealer sentenced in armed robbery
* Chicago police: Off-duty Robbins officer fatally shot robber
* Michigan says 38 underperforming public schools could close
* Inauguration protesters gather in downtown Chicago
* Illinois governor extends tax incentive program
* 4 plead not guilty to fraud charges in Rockford
* Illinois governor extends tax incentive program

* Governor extends tax incentive program
* Schock case reassigned to Urbana's Judge Colin Bruce
* Background-checks policy leads U of I to withdraw 11 job offers
* Film industry generates half-billion in Illinois spending
* Illinois Senate leaders promise budget-deal vote Wednesday
* Jesse White wants ads on license plate renewal reminders to offset cost
* A new tax on sodas, sugary drinks? It might be part of Illinois budget deal
* Jesse White wants ads on license renewal reminders to offset cost
* Jesse White wants advertisements on license renewal reminders to help offset cost
* New state app aims to help students with career choices

* Obama's roots a reminder that ambition can be a grand thing
* Trump's promise: He'll make America great again ​
* What's so hard about assembling a restaurant team? Everything.
* Insurers moving to former Zurich HQ in Schaumburg
* Deceased lawyer was known for stadium deals


* Heading to the Women’s March Saturday? Here’s the lowdown
* 16 arrested in anti-Trump protests in Chicago Loop
* MAP: Chicago weekend shootings tracker for Jan. 20-23
* 15 shot in first 12 hours of the weekend in Chicago
* Pedestrian critically injured in Chatham hit-and-run
* 2017 Kia Optima Hybrid provides seamless drive, big fuel economy
* Man shot in foot in Gresham
* 3 shot in Brighton Park
* Police: 1 dead, 1 critical after Humboldt Park shooting
* Man in critical condition after Austin shooting, crash


* LINDA C. BLACK HOROSCOPES for 1/21/17
* Live blog: Coverage of the Women's March on Washington, Chicago
* 1 dead, 14 wounded in city shootings
* Man critically injured in hit-and-run crash on South Side
* At anti-Trump protests in Chicago, a 'wall of human resistance'
* The day after Trump's inauguration, a different crowd to descend on Washington
* Some women stay away from Women's March over abortion issue
* The danger of Betsy DeVos' ignorance
* West Loop loft with exposed brick: $900,000
* To march or not? Some women are staying away from Women's March because of a rift over abortion


The widget AQL4JYGHIY powered by Feed Informer does not exist.


* Guest Column: Put politics aside and pass a state budget
* Charles Krauthammer: Obama’s self-revealing final act
* Governor extends tax incentive program
* Schock case reassigned to Urbana's Judge Colin Bruce
* Background-checks policy leads U of I to withdraw 11 job offers
* Film industry generates half-billion in Illinois spending
* Illinois Senate leaders promise budget-deal vote Wednesday
* Jesse White wants ads on license plate renewal reminders to offset cost
* Our View: Thumbs Up to a finished Route 29 project
* A new tax on sodas, sugary drinks? It might be part of Illinois budget deal


* PODCAST: Honda BMW of Champaign 1-21-17
* PODCAST: Holder Wealth Management 1-21-17
* Sandra Mason: Easy-care houseplants
* Unit 4 board won't reveal superintendent pick immediately
* Bob Swisher: Some pieces deserve a prominent display
* Urbana police seeking new software in addition to officers
* Weekend Planner: MLK, creatively expressed
* Circus is leaving town
* Local women's march began with buses at UI campus
* Jim Dey: New plea in bank-fraud case, but sentencing delayed


* 1 wounded in school shooting, 'could have been much worse'
* Balotelli livid at Bastia fans he says racially abused him
* Tornado rips through parts of south Mississippi, killing 4
* Hundreds opposed to Trump march in Chicago
* Trump executive order first strike at ending 'Obamacare'

* House lawmakers overcome hurdle on key tra...
* Rodney Davis talks funding with Bloomingto...
* The agency that fought Illiana gets a new ...
* Rep. Dold takes educational cruise down Ch...
* Lawmakers decry high turnover rate of VA h...
* CBD Oil, and politics
* Simon considering state Senate bid
* Killer Congressman Tom MacArthur trying to...
* Shutdown? State may not notice
* Rep. Bob Dold

* Durbin, Senate Judiciary Democrats To Jeff......

* Ex-Sen. Kirk may become lobbyist, complain......

* Fantasies always predominate in political people’s mentalities
* “The Driver’s Side” – News From The Motorist’s Perspective
* Last night on WGN. Talking peace and justice.
* Tony at the Red Line.
* New Illinois Laws Remove Employment Barriers for People with Criminal Records
* Where's Weyermuller? Marching with life lovers in Chicago
* Trumps go to Washington
* Di Leo: Sergeant York and the Affordable Care Act
* Schakowsky: Trump's hateful rhetoric will now live in White House
* Pension theft. From the west suburban front.


* New Authority Allows DCFS to Strengthen and Preserve Families - Federal waiver grants DCFS flexibility to better care for fostered youth
* Illinois Film Industry Generates $499 Million in 2016 - Chicago named #5 Best Place to Live and Work as a Moviemaker
* State Announces Free Tax Preparation for Low Income Families
* Governor Announces Appointments
* Governor Takes Bill Action




      Hosted by MCS SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax Advertise Here Mobile Version Contact Rich Miller