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Copyright (c) 1994 Board of Trustees of Southern Illinois University
Southern Illinois University Law Journal

ILLINOIS' NEWLY AMENDED STALKING LAW: ARE ALL THE PROBLEMS SOLVED?

Fall, 1994

19 S. Ill. U. L. J. 165

Author

Brenda K. Harmon

Excerpt



INTRODUCTION

One of the most helpless combinations of feelings imaginable is being out of control and afraid for your own life.Until 1990, countless numbers of people in just this situation were also helpless in the sense that there were no law enforcement tools available to adequately protect their rights and their safety.Before the enactment of stalking statutes, victims had little or no legal recourse available when they were being followed, harassed, or threatened by a former lover or an uninvited admirer. Although stalkers had the potential for causing serious emotional and physical harm, many of their tactics were perfectly legal.Consequently, law enforcement officials were often unwilling or powerless to act. 1 Stalking laws were designed to recognize the unique circumstances involved in stalking situations and to provide victims with adequate and enforceable legal protection. 2

In 1990, California enacted the first statute making it illegal to stalk another person. 3 Soon after, in a virtual legislative frenzy, every state and the District of Columbia enacted stalking statutes of their own. 4 Illinois' law has proven to be one of the strictest, and ultimately one of the most controversial stalking statutes developed.As amended, Illinois' law makes it a crime to knowingly and without lawful justification follow another person and either threaten physical harm or place the person in reasonable apprehension of such harm. 5 The statute also provides that the alleged perpetrator may be held before trial without bail. 6

Although stalking laws have, for the most part, been afforded ...
 
 
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