Here’s What Judge’s Ruling on Cash Bail in Illinois, SAFE-T Act Means for the State – NBC Chicago

Here’s What Judge’s Ruling on Cash Bail in Illinois, SAFE-T Act Means for the State – NBC Chicago

A judge ruled Thursday that the pre-trial release provisions in the SAFE-T Act are unconstitutional, but what will that mean for the state?

Circuit Judge Thomas Cunnington in Kankakee County ruled that bail reform and pre-trial release provisions in the Pre-Trial Fairness Act are unconstitutional.

The elimination of cash bail was set to take effect Jan. 1, but the full ramifications of the ruling remain uncertain.

Here’s what we know so far for counties across the state:

What Did the Judge Rule and Why?

Cunnington’s ruling held that the SAFE-T Act violated the Separation of Powers Clause, the Victim Rights Act, and unconstitutionally amended Article I, Section 9 of Illinois’ constitution, which codified cash bail in the state.

But the judge denied the injunction that 64 state’s attorneys and sheriffs sought in filing the case.

Cunnington was swayed by the plaintiffs’ argument that the state constitution provides for bail in stating, “All persons shall be bailable by sufficient sureties,” while Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul’s staff contended that the statement merely assures defendants that there’s a way out pending trial.

What Does the Ruling mean?

Outside of the elimination of cash bail, other portions of the SAFE-T Act, including new requirements for body cameras and other police reforms, were allowed to stand under the terms of the court order.

According to a press release sent by Kankakee County State’s Attorney Jim Rowe, one of the lead plaintiffs in the class-action suit, the bail portion of the law will not go into effect on Jan. 1 in the 65 counties that signed onto the complaint filed against the administration of Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker. Raoul, however, said “it is important to note that it is not binding in any other case, including those involving criminal defendants in any of the state’s 102 counties.”

Without an injunction, nothing stops the law from taking effect, Raoul said. And one circuit court’s ruling does not bind other jurisdictions.

Will Cash Bail Be Eliminated?

In at least 65 Illinois counties, cash bail will remain in place on Jan. 1 unlike the rest of the state.

While several Chicago-area counties were included in the suit, many were not. Among the most notable was Cook County, the largest county in Illinois.

Here’s the full list of 65 counties included in the suit:

  1. Adams County
  2. Bond County
  3. Boone County
  4. Brown County
  5. Carroll County
  6. Cass County
  7. Christian County
  8. Clay County
  9. Clinton County
  10. Coles County
  11. Cumberland County
  12. DeKalb County
  13. DeWitt County
  14. Douglas County
  15. Effingham County
  16. Fayette County
  17. Ford County
  18. Franklin County
  19. Fulton County
  20. Greene County
  21. Grundy County
  22. Hancock County
  23. Henderson County
  24. Jackson County
  25. Jasper County
  26. Jefferson County
  27. Jersey County
  28. Jo Daviess County
  29. Johnson County
  30. Kankakee County
  31. Kendall County
  32. Knox County
  33. LaSalle County
  34. Lee County
  35. Livingston County
  36. Logan County
  37. Macon County
  38. Mason County
  39. Madison County
  40. Massac County
  41. McDonough County
  42. McHenry County
  43. McLean County
  44. Mercer County
  45. Monroe County
  46. Montgomery County
  47. Moultrie County
  48. Ogle County
  49. Perry County
  50. Pope County
  51. Pulaski County
  52. Randolph County
  53. Saline County
  54. Sangamon County
  55. Scott County
  56. Shelby County
  57. Stephenson County
  58. Tazewell County
  59. Union County
  60. Vermilion County
  61. Washington County
  62. White County
  63. Will County
  64. Winnebago County
  65. Woodford County

What’s Next?

Raoul said the state will appeal the ruling to the Illinois Supreme Court, though it remains unclear how quickly the court could take up the matter.

“To definitively resolve this challenge to the pretrial release portions of the SAFE-T Act, Governor Pritzker, the legislative leaders named in the consolidated cases and I intend to appeal the circuit court’s decision directly to the Illinois Supreme Court, where we will ask the court to reverse the circuit court’s decision,” he said in a statement.

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