McHenry County State’s Attorney Patrick Kenneally (left) and Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (right) | Photo – Left: Matthew Apgar / Northwest Herald (Pool Photo) and Photo – Right: Illinois Information Service.

Calling it “another face-to-palm bill,” the McHenry County state’s attorney slammed Governor JB Pritzker for signing a law that will limit judges from barring cannabis and alcohol use for those criminally sentenced.

Pritzker last week signed Senate Bill 1886, which prohibits a judge from ordering a defendant from refraining from alcohol or cannabis as part of a criminal sentence.

The only exception is if a defendant undergoes a validated clinical assessment and the clinician then recommends testing as part of the treatment plan.

McHenry County State’s Attorney Patrick Kenneally said that a “validated clinical assessment” is “ludicrously easy to game” and manipulate a low-risk result because it is dependent on the information a defendant chooses to disclose.

“Essentially, the “clinician” asks the defendant a short series of questions about their recent alcohol and drug use and makes little to no attempt to verify whether the answers are true or not,” Kenneally said in a statement Thursday.

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A clinician can be someone with a high school degree and a year and one-half of work experience in the substance abuse treatment field, Kenneally said.

The state’s attorney claimed the clinicians operate out of “unsightly strip malls and run volume businesses for DUI and drug defendants in need of evaluations,” the state’s attorney said.

“So, in other words, despite an elected judge’s firm, moral conviction based on a defendant’s criminal history and the nature of his crime that the community and others are in danger at the hands of a violent or reckless drunk, a judge’s ruling on a criminal sentence is now dependent upon the convicted criminal laying bare the ugly and mortifying truth about his drinking to a stranger in a strip mall who has got five more “evaluations” that afternoon,” Kenneally said.

According to the bill, the change applies to people on probation, conditional discharge and supervision.

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“Who does this benefit? What problem exactly is this solving? Why is the Illinois legislature obsessed with passing laws that unburden criminals at the expense of us dupes who are still committed to following the law?” Kenneally said.