Jeffrey Leving is mistaken that Illinois should pass a bill introduced in 2017 that would change divorce laws to create a presumption that both parents have equal parenting time with a child. Under the current law, the focus is where it belongs: the best interest of the child.
We should not depart from the child-first approach enshrined in existing law. The current law gives the judge the ability to make an individual, case-by-case determination based on the needs and interests of the child, rather than applying a one-size-fits-all presumption.
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The 2017 bill would be particularly harmful in cases involving domestic violence and child abuse. No batterer or child abuser should ever be presumed, as a matter of law, to have equal parenting time. The bill also ignores the reality that women often have fewer resources to pay the legal fees necessary to challenge the presumption in court through litigation.
The bill Leving advocates for would be a boon for abusive parents and divorce lawyers but not for children. It was properly defeated five years ago.
Charles P. Golbert, Public Guardian, Office of the Cook County Public Guardian
A time for mercy
Jason Van Dyke killed a teenager who did not deserve to die.
But there is no comparison between his actions and those of Derek Chauvin, who impassively kneeled on the neck of a handcuffed George Floyd for more than nine minutes, ignoring Floyd’s repeated pleas of “I can’t breathe.”
Van Dyke rushed to a report of a man wielding a knife. McDonald, carrying what appears to be a knife, crossed right in front of Van Dyke’s police vehicle while sirens screamed in the distance; Van Dyke got out of his car and ordered McDonald to drop the knife but he did not; and McDonald collapsed on the street 30 seconds later, shot 16 times.
Was Van Dyke really in fear of his life? Hard to justify. Did he simply panic? We’ll never know.
But he killed a teenager who did not deserve to die and he is accountable.
He was tried by a jury of his peers and sentenced according to applicable sentencing guidelines.
He was beaten by inmates; shuttled from one prison to another because of constant threats; and presumably spent over two years in solitary confinement. The pandemic precluded his wife and daughters from visits. She says she “. . . pray(s) for my husband and my children and the city and the McDonald family and for all the other people in blue, the police officers, to stay safe.”
This sad tale is the story of a Chicago family who have lost a teenage son and will never fully recover. But it is also the tale, as pointed out by Michael Sneed “of a police community that takes the oath of heroes to serve and protect-and is now struggling with reform, riots, recrimination and a street cop’s version of post-traumatic stress disorder.
Jason Van Dyke has been released. It is time for mercy.
Thomas J. Shannon, Lincoln Park