Note: MSJDN is pleased to present the first installment from Lizanne Carleson, a member of the organization’s new Writer’s Corps.
On August 15, Illinois Governor Patrick Quinn signed the “Access to Justice Act,” allowing better access to the justice system for those who would not normally be able to afford representation, A major feature of the Act is the justice hotline, a free service where veterans and service members can get information and assistance regarding legal issues.
“It is important in our system of justice that all of our citizens have access to the justice system, that they have zealous advocates to represent their interests,” Governor Quinn said upon signing the act. “It is particularly important for those who wear the uniform of our country, who volunteer to serve.”
MSJDN’s very own Angela Allen, an attorney at Jenner & Block and military spouse to Illinois National Guard member, attended the bill signing and will aid in implementation of the act. “The need here is critical, and we know the legal sector recognizes this need and will extend its hand to our veterans who have sacrificed so much for our nation.”
The Act will also fund self-help centers in legal libraries, in-court legal assistance, and will set up a task force to investigate the costs litigants incur in both criminal and civil matters. These pilot programs are being implemented so that Illinois citizens, especially veterans and those currently serving, to have better access and representation within the legal system.
What are your thoughts on this new legislation?