Governor Pritzker Signs S.B. 64 into Law

Last Thursday, July 15, 2021, Governor Pritzker signed into law S.B. 64, which creates a privilege for statements made in restorative justice circles.  S.B. 64 is the product of years of dedication by many members of the Catholic Lawyers Guild of Chicago, among others.  In February 2015, Cardinal Cupich called on the CLG to promote restorative justice practices in the Chicago community.  Restorative justice practices are gatherings in which parties who have caused harm, parties who have been harmed, and community stakeholders come together to identify and repair harm, address trauma, reduce the likelihood of further harm, and work to strengthen community ties.  

Several members of the Guild visited the Precious Blood Ministry of Reconciliation, a restorative justice hub in the Back of the Yards neighborhood, and were overwhelmed by its work promoting healing, reconciliation, and forgiveness in a community plagued by too much violence.  But the Guild learned of a major obstacle to open and effective dialogue:  lawyers representing individuals who wished to participate in restorative justice circles were concerned that statements their clients made in such circles might later be used against them in court proceedings.  So, the Guild’s new Restorative Justice Committee, led by former Guild President Matthew Simon, drafted a new rule that would provide an evidentiary privilege for communications made in such restorative justice circles.  Over the past six years, Simon, Judge Tom Donnelly, and so many others on the Committee worked tirelessly to make this rule the law in Illinois.  

Simon and the CLG’s current President, Judge Ed Washington, were present for the signing.  We are grateful to all those who supported our effort, and hopeful that this new law helps bring about healing, reconciliation, and ultimately, a safer and more compassionate community.


News from the Community

From Catholic Star-Herald

Martyr symbolizes church’s condemnation of the mafia

Italian judge Rosario Livatino, who was killed by the Mafia in Sicily in 1990, was beatified on Sunday, May 9, 2021, the last stage before possible sainthood in the Roman Catholic Church.


Prayer

Providing opportunities for reflection and union with God has been a crucial part of the Guild’s life, accomplished through retreats, days of recollection, and the Red Mass.

God has been a crucial part of the Guild’s life, accomplished through retreats, days of recollection, and the Red Mass.

Service

Some notable services provided by the Guild have been pro bono service to immigrants at the request of Cardinal Samuel Stritch in the 1960s and Cardinal Joseph Bernardin in 1970s , the hearings on sexual abuse conducted at the request of Cardinal Francis George in 2002, and our recent adoption of the Catholic Charities Legal Clinic as a service opportunity for our members.

Celebration

Annually we organize the Red Mass at Holy Name Cathedral, the Mass that has opened the Fall Term for courts since 1245 A.D. asking the Holy Spirit’s help for lawyers and judges. In tandem with the Red Mass, we celebrate with a reception with lawyers who have incarnated Christ in the world through their work.


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