Vol. 4 No. 1, Fall 2012; Illinois’s Drug-Induced Homicide Statute: Injecting Some Sense Into a Misinterpreted Law
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In 1988, Illinois went on the offensive in the War on Drugs by creating the Drug-Induced Homicide Statute. In essence, this statute creates increased punishment beyond normal drug trafficking penalties when a person delivers drugs to another person and, as a result of that delivery, somebody dies. For twenty years, the law remained mostly dormant, only being charged and prosecuted in a handful of cases. In a new push to fight drug-related deaths across Illinois over the last few years, prosecutors have dusted off the old law and vastly increased the number of drug-induced homicide charges. As these charges become more common, it is important to take a closer look at the Drug-Induced Homicide Statute and ensure that the statute provides those accused with a fair opportunity to defend themselves in court. This Comment will reveal the errors associated with the Drug-Induced Homicide Statute both in how it was written and how the law has been applied by the courts. Furthermore, this Comment will provide suggestions on how to improve the law to give the citizens of Illinois the added protection they seek while fairly balancing the rights of those accused of this crime.