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Letters to the Editor

Letter: Questions not guilty verdict for Brenton Cleveland

To the Editor:

I am writing about Chief Judge Robbin Stuckert’s not guilty verdict of Brenton Cleveland.

I am appalled, to say the least. No, I didn’t attend any courtroom sessions. My source of information about the trial is what I read in the Chronicle. But based on those articles, I have several questions:

1. How did 18-year-old Brenton get the alcohol he consumed and provided at his party?

2. Why aren’t his parents charged with anything? His mother was home; she had to know underage drinking occurred on her premises. Maybe Dad is off the hook because he was socializing in a bar.

3. Why isn’t Brenton charged with statutory rape? In Illinois, the age of consent is 17 years old. Age of consent is the minimum age at which an individual is considered legally old enough to consent to participation in sexual activity. Individuals aged 16 or younger in Illinois are not legally able to consent to sexual activity, and such activity may result in prosecution for statutory rape. Illinois does not have a close-in-age exemption, thus it is possible for two individuals both younger than the age of 17 who willingly engage in intercourse to both be prosecuted for statutory rape, although this is rare. Similarly, no protections are reserved for sexual relations in which one participant is a 16-year-old and the second is a 17- or 18-year-old (Source: ageofconsent.net).

4. Why is Brenton’s alcoholic-impacted memory more reliable than the victim’s? As Stuckert said, “people are victimized in the U.S. every day, victims’ recollections are not great when alcohol is involved.” Could not Brenton’s recollection of consent be “not great?”

5. Why did it take Stuckert only about 20 minutes of deliberation to reach a decision that affects so many lives (It takes me longer than that to decide what to fix for dinner.)? I guess there is no answer to that question, but it leads me to my final question.

6. How soon do we voters decide whether Chief Judge Robbin Stuckert should be retained on the 23rd Judicial Court?

D’Ann Hamilton-White

DeKalb

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