Friday, April 10, 2009

Illinois Prosecutors Seek State RICO Law

This posting was written by John W. Arden.

In order to help them fight political corruption, white collar crime, and gang activity, the Cook County, Illinois chief prosecutor and the head of her special prosecution bureau are urging the Illinois legislature to pass a state racketeering law, according to an article posted on the Chicago Tribune website on April 7.

A new state RICO law would give law enforcement officials “a little more bite” in handling political corruption and some of the more violent gang and drug conspiracy cases, said Cook County States Attorney Anita Alvarez.

The current state racketeering law—called the Narcotics Profit Forfeiture Act (725 ILCS 175/1 to 175/11)—covers only narcotics cases.

Alvarez proposes that the state enact a statute based on the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), as 29 other states, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands have done.

A state RICO law could help the state investigate political corruption cases, such as the case against former Governor Rod Blagojevich, according to Assistant State's Atty. John Robert Blakey, chief of the office's Special Prosecutions Bureau and the son of G. Robert Blakey, the Notre Dame law professor credited with drafting the federal RICO statute.

The prosecutors said that they hope the Illinois General Assembly would consider RICO legislation this term. Such a bill has not attracted a sponsor as of yet.

Further information about state RICO laws—including full text of the statutes—appears in the CCH RICO Business Disputes Guide.

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