* An instructive Twitter exchange…
Amdor is right. Even the bill’s House sponsor, Rep. Jaime Andrade (D-Chicago), freely admits that his bill is not about carjacking. From a statement Rep. Andrade sent me via text on May 16th…
The biggest issue is that people are calling it a “car jacking” bill.
This is NOT a carjacking bill.
This is a change to the PSMV [Possession of a Stolen Motor Vehicle] act. That needs to be changed because modernizations of vehicles, the FOBS, keyless entry, etc.
My goal is to deal with the 1000s of motor vehicle thefts in the state.
* From Rep. Kelly Cassidy’s Sun-Times op-ed, which prompted the Twitter exchange…
Most car thefts involve parked and unattended vehicles, not violent seizure. Under current law, people who were not involved in the original theft may still be prosecuted for possession of a stolen motor vehicle. It is a serious offense which carries a sentence of between 3 and 7 years, and one for which passengers as well as drivers can be held liable no matter how long ago the car was stolen.
Considering the length of the sentence and how broad the liability is, it is important to establish that the defendant knew that the car was stolen. This requirement to show knowledge is not a “loophole,” as the bill’s staunchest proponents would have you believe, but rather an essential way of making sure the law is fair.
Carjacking is a very different crime, a violent and dangerous one. But the barrier to prosecuting carjacking effectively is not that so-called “loophole” in the law. It is, quite frankly, that nine out of ten carjacking offenses in Chicago never result in an arrest.
If the police do not successfully arrest the perpetrators, the State’s Attorney has no one to prosecute.
Instead of developing a strategy that could result in more arrests, the mayor and the Chicago Police Department have proposed a law that is overly broad and would result in punishing not only the person in possession of the car, but also their passengers, many of whom may not even know they are committing a crime.
* Also, this…
It is perhaps instructive to note, by the way, that the state’s attorney’s Motor Vehicle Theft unit was funded for many years by a state grant that fell victim to the recent budget standoff.