Saturday, April 20, 2013

Penalty Enhancement For Meth Labs Near Churches Survives Establishment Clause Attack

In People of the State of Illinois v. Stewart, (IL App., April 16, 2013), an Illinois state appeals court, following state Supreme Court precedent, upheld a state statute (720 ILCS 646/15(b)(1)(H) that provides an enhanced criminal penalty for participating in the manufacturing of methamphetamine within 1,000 feet of a place of worship or parsonage.  Rejecting an Establishment Clause challenge, the court said: "The penalty enhancement... acts not as an establishment of religion but, rather, as a protection for those people particularly vulnerable to the evils of drug trafficking."