All men are by nature free and independent and have certain inherent and inalienable rights among which are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. To secure these rights and the protection of property, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.
No person shall be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law nor be denied the equal protection of the laws.
The free exercise and enjoyment of religious profession and worship, without discrimination, shall forever be guaranteed, and no person shall be denied any civil or political right, privilege or capacity, on account of his religious opinions; but the liberty of conscience hereby secured shall not be construed to dispense with oaths or affirmations, excuse acts of licentiousness, or justify practices inconsistent with the peace and safety of the State. No person shall be required to attend or support any ministry or place of worship against his consent, nor shall any preference be given by law to any religious denomination or mode of worship.
All persons may speak, write and publish freely, being responsible for the abuse of that liberty. In trials for libel, both civil and criminal, the truth, when published with good motives and for justifiable ends, shall be a sufficient defense.
The people have the right to assemble in a peaceable manner, to consult for the common good, to make known their opinions to their representatives and to apply for redress of grievances.
The people shall have the right to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and other possessions against unreasonable searches, seizures, invasions of privacy or interceptions of communications by eavesdropping devices or other means. No warrant shall issue without probable cause, supported by affidavit particularly describing the place to be searched and the persons or things to be seized.
No person shall be held to answer for a criminal offense unless on indictment of a grand jury, except in cases in which the punishment is by fine or by imprisonment other than in the penitentiary, in cases of impeachment, and in cases arising in the militia when in actual service in time of war or public danger. The General Assembly by law may abolish the grand jury or further limit its use. No person shall be held to answer for a crime punishable by death or by imprisonment in the penitentiary unless either the initial charge has been brought by indictment of a grand jury or the person has been given a prompt preliminary hearing to establish probable cause.
In criminal prosecutions, the accused shall have the right to appear and defend in person and by counsel; to demand the nature and cause of the accusation and have a copy thereof; to meet the witnesses face to face and to have process to compel the attendance of witnesses in his behalf; and to have a speedy public trial by an impartial jury of the county in which the offense is alleged to have been committed.
(a) Crime victims, as defined by law, shall have the following rights as provided by law:
(1) The right to be treated with fairness and respect for their dignity and privacy throughout the criminal justice process.
(2) The right to notification of court proceedings.
(3) The right to communicate with the prosecution.
(4) The right to make a statement to the court at sentencing.
(5) The right to information about the conviction, sentence, imprisonment, and release of the accused.
(6) The right to timely disposition of the case following the arrest of the accused.
(7) The right to be reasonably protected from the accused throughout the criminal justice process.
(8) The right to be present at the trial and all other court proceedings on the same basis as the accused, unless the victim is to testify and the court determines that the victim's testimony would be materially affected if the victim hears other testimony at the trial.
(9) The right to have present at all court proceedings, subject to the rules of evidence, an advocate or other support person of the victim's choice.
(10) The right to restitution.
(b) The General Assembly may provide by law for the enforcement of this Section.
(c) The General Assembly may provide for an assessment against convicted defendants to pay for crime victims' rights.
(d) Nothing in this Section or in any law enacted under this Section shall be construed as creating a basis for vacating a conviction or a ground for appellate relief in any criminal case.
All persons shall be bailable by sufficient sureties, except for the following offenses where the proof is evident or the presumption great: capital offenses; offenses for which a sentence of life imprisonment may be imposed as a consequence of conviction; and felony offenses for which a sentence of imprisonment, without conditional and revocable release, shall be imposed by law as a consequence of conviction, when the court, after a hearing, determines that release of the offender would pose a real and present threat to the physical safety of any person. The privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended except in cases of rebellion or invasion when the public safety may require it.
Any costs accruing to a unit of local government as a result of the denial of bail pursuant to the 1986 Amendment to this Section shall be reimbursed by the State to the unit of local government.
No person shall be compelled in a criminal case to give evidence against himself nor be twice put in jeopardy for the same offense.
All penalties shall be determined both according to the seriousness of the offense and with the objective of restoring the offender to useful citizenship. No conviction shall work corruption of blood or forfeiture of estate. No person shall be transported out of the State for an offense committed within the State.
Every person shall find a certain remedy in the laws for all injuries and wrongs which he receives to his person, privacy, property or reputation. He shall obtain justice by law, freely, completely, and promptly.
The right of trial by jury as heretofore enjoyed shall remain inviolate.
No person shall be imprisoned for debt unless he refuses to deliver up his estate for the benefit of his creditors as provided by law unless there is a strong presumption of fraud. No person shall be imprisoned for failure to pay a fine in a criminal case unless he has been afforded adequate time to make payment, in installments if necessary, and has willfully failed to make payment.
Private property shall not be taken or damaged for public use without just compensation as provided by law. Such compensation shall be determined by a jury as provided by law.
No ex post facto law, or law impairing the obligation of contracts or making an irrevocable grant of special privileges or immunities, shall be passed.
All persons shall have the right to be free from discrimination on the basis of race, color, creed, national ancestry and sex in the hiring and promotion practices of any employer or in the sale or rental of property.
These rights are enforceable without action by the General Assembly, but the General Assembly by law may establish reasonable exemptions relating to these rights and provide additional remedies for their violation.
The equal protection of the laws shall not be denied or abridged on account of sex by the State or its units of local government and school districts.
All persons with a physical or mental handicap shall be free from discrimination in the sale or rental of property and shall be free from discrimination unrelated to ability in the hiring and promotion practices of any employer.
To promote individual dignity, communications that portray criminality, depravity or lack of virtue in, or that incite violence, hatred, abuse or hostility toward, a person or group of persons by reason of or by reference to religious, racial, ethnic, national or regional affiliation are condemned.
No soldier in time of peace shall be quartered in a house without the consent of the owner; nor in time of war except as provided by law.
Subject only to the police power, the right of the individual citizen to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.
A frequent recurrence to the fundamental principles of civil government is necessary to preserve the blessings of liberty. These blessings cannot endure unless the people recognize their corresponding individual obligations and responsibilities.
The enumeration in this Constitution of certain rights shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the individual citizens of the State.
The legislative, executive and judicial branches are separate. No branch shall exercise powers properly belonging to another.
The enumeration in this Constitution of specified powers and functions shall not be construed as a limitation of powers of state government.