Senate Bill 3823, known as the “Steven Watkins Memorial Act”, was signed into law in the wake of the tragic shooting death of Steven Watkins while he was picking up his daughter for court ordered visitation in Cass County.
As Chair of The Illinois Council on Responsible Fatherhood (http://responsiblefatherhood.illinois.gov), I feel strongly that the Governor’s signature on Senate Bill 3823 is an important milestone in the pursuit of social justice and law reform. It should discourage custodial parents who unilaterally ignore visitation orders, providing penalties including suspension of the violator’s driver’s license, monetary fines, and jail time.
Steven Watkins was a beloved resident of Cass County who was shot to death as he arrived to pick up his daughter for court ordered visitation. His daughter’s mother removed the child to Florida. To date, Steven’s parents have been denied court ordered visitation with their granddaughter.
Visitation abuse plagues non-custodial parents throughout Illinois and the nation. We must prevent tragedies like the one that has befallen the Watkins family. I commend the Governor for placing his signature on the “Steven Watkins Memorial Act” and I know that it will set a powerful example for other states.
Law is more than just walking into a courtroom - it's about reforming the legal system and pursuing social justice.
About Jeffery M. Leving
Jeffery M. Leving was named one of “America’s Best Lawyers” by Forbes Radio. Leving was recently honored in Resolution No. 995 by the Illinois House of Representatives for his “forward-thinking initiatives in the field of law and father’s rights.” The House of Representatives resolved that Leving “serves as a model of hard work, integrity, and dedication for the people of the State of Illinois.”
For more information, please contact Jennifer Whiteside at 312-296-3666.