A measure aimed at protecting postal workers has been signed into law. The new law allows judges to consider harsher penalties for violent crimes against employees of the United States Postal Service.  Gov. Pat Quinn signed the law at the Illinois State Association of Letter Carriers’ annual convention in Rockford. “The hard-working men and women of the United States Postal Service deserve our gratitude,” Quinn said. “The law will help make sure that they are able to continue doing their jobs safely.”

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The law allows judges to consider a victim’s employment with the postal service as an aggravating factor in violent crimes such as assault, battery and robbery. Upon conviction a judge could impose more severe sentences on the offender.

The law is an initiative of the National Association of Letter Carriers, which is working with the Postal Service to inform postal workers in Illinois about the appropriate steps to take in the event of a crime against them or in their vicinity. Postal employees are already protected by federal law, but if federal prosecutors don’t pursue the case, the law allows state courts to consider Postal Service employment in the proceedings.

The law goes into effect Jan. 1, 2013.

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