Blagojevich signs domestic violence monitoring law

GPS to be used to track restraining order violators
August 4, 2008 4:09:33 PM PDT
There's a new law to protect victims of domestic violence in Illinois. The Cindy Bischof Law is named after a suburban woman who was shot and killed by a former boyfriend in March.

The law allows a judge to order an abuser to wear a GPS tracking device if they have violated a restraining order.

Bischof's family says the order of protection she had against her former boyfriend failed to protect her. They say they hope the new law will save lives.

Orders of protection can be a judge's order for someone to stay away. It is a legal maneuver used by victims of domestic violence. But we've heard the cases, such as Bischof's, where a court document wasn't enough to get them safe. In honor of Bischof, her family is offering technology to give victims a fighting chance.

The Bischof family still grieves, but on Monday, they celebrated a new law in memory of Cindy Bischof.

"It will protect ordinary victims from extraordinary fear as their offenders who violate court orders of protection will be subject to wearing GPS bracelets," said brother Michael Bischof.

In March, Cindy Bischof was shot and killed outside of her real estate office in Elmhurst. The gunman was her ex-boyfriend, Michael Giroux. Her family says Giroux had violated Cindy Bischof's order of protection before and was able to get close again.

The new law would have allowed a judge to put a GPS monitor on Giroux, and if he came close to Cindy Bischof, police would have been notified, as would Cindy Bischof.

"She walked out of work in a parking lot and was gunned down. She would have been notified in advance that he was in the area," said Michael Bischof.

"Unfortunately, we did not have this legislation in place that perhaps would have given cindy a precious few minutes," said Ketki Steffan, Cook Co. assistant state's attorney.

Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich signed the bill before the Bischof family. The bill was sponsored by Representative Suzanne Bassi and Senator Susan Garrett.

"Now the courts and the victim, the families will have tools in place that they never had before that will do what, for a long time, has been necessary," said Illinois Sen. Susan Garrett (D), Highwood.

"Perhaps there is some sense of purpose by doing what we can to bless Cindy's memory and living the way she lived, and to do as we move forward, something she would like to us do," said Blagojevich.

Cindy Bischof was a successful commercial realtor. She took all the legal action available to protect herself. Her family hopes the GPS tracking will protect others living in fear.

"From this day forward, victims of stalking and harassment will gain back some of their personal freedom by finally placing the burden of movement on the offender rather than the victim," said Michael Bischof.

The GPS bracelet would be worn around the offender's ankle. It can be set for 50 feet to five miles away from a subject. If the offender enters the area, the police are alerted and the victim would get a page or text message.

The GPS is currently used for 300 parolees in Illinois who are considered high risk.

Illinois' law goes into effect January 1.

Massachusetts is the only other state that uses GPS for those who violates orders of protection.


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