A bill introduced by state Sen. Tim Bivins, R-Dixon, that would make it a felony to batter a Department of Children and Family Services worker – as it now is to batter a firefighter, police or peace office – is making is way through the Senate, filed Jan. 24 with the Senate's Criminal Law Committee.
Senate Bill 2272, introduced specifically in the wake of the attack on Pamela Knight, seeks to amend the current law, making it a felony – aggravated battery – punishable by 4 to 15 years in prison if the batterer, using anything other than a firearm, knowingly attacks a DCFS worker who's performing his or her official duties; batters a worker to prevent the performance of those duties; or batters a worker in retaliation for performing those duties, causing great bodily harm or disfigurement.
It would make it a felony punishable by 3 to 7 years if the above were true, minus great bodily harm or disfigurement.
DCFS workers are not allowed to carry Mace or other weapons on home visits.
Meanwhile, two felony cases against Andrew Sucher are advancing in Carroll County Court in Mount Carroll.
The 25-year-old was indicted Dec. 7 on charges of attempted first-degree murder, which carries at least 6 to 30 years in prison, aggravated battery causing great bodily harm, and aggravated battery of a state employee, each of which carries 2 to 5 years in prison.
A mental evaluation was ordered Jan. 9; a status hearing on the report, which was to take about a month to complete, is set for Feb. 23.
The report, being done by Dr. Joel Eckert of Peoria, will help determine, among other things, whether Sucher is fit to stand trial, is able to aid in his own defense, and whether he was sane at the time of the attack of which he is accused.
Sucher also is charged with aggravated battery of a peace officer, which carries 3 to 7 years.
Officials say he was being moved to another cell in the Carroll County Jail around 3:40 p.m. Dec. 19 when he became "verbally combative" and punched Chief Deputy Craig Dimmick in the face. The status of that case also will be heard Feb. 23.
Sucher also has pleaded not guilty in Whiteside County to aggravated battery of a child, which carries 2 to 5 years, and battery, domestic battery, and interfering with the reporting of a domestic battery, all misdemeanors.
He is accused of dragging a 6-year-old by the foot and striking him in the face with a squirt gun, and of throwing a woman against a wall and taking her phone in a July 29 incident.
He was out on bond in that case when Knight was attacked. It's on hold while the Carroll County case proceeds.