Illinois high court strikes down law that would eliminate cash bail

The Illinois Supreme Court halted the end of cash bail for defendants statewide in an eleventh-hour ruling just hours before the new law took effect on Sunday.

The High Court ordered a stay of the legislation’s provisions in response to an appeal the Illinois attorney general’s office filed Friday in court from a local judge’s ruling – which found the law to be unconstitutional.

The Supreme Court said its order was necessary to “maintain consistent pretrial procedures throughout Illinois” before making a decision on the law. He promised an “accelerated process” to reach a decision.

The Democratic-controlled Illinois General Assembly hoped to end cash bail starting Jan. 1 through the passage of the SAFE-T Act — arguing that cash bail creates an unfair system in which the poor are in jail while the rich are released pending trial. .

However, Republicans in the state were concerned that terminating cash bail — which has historically been used to ensure defendants show up for their court dates — could allow potentially dangerous criminals to go free.

Illinois counties were to stop ordering bail for defendants during their first court appearances on Sunday, but many counties said they would ignore the new law, resulting in a messy court system. -melo.

Prosecutors and sheriffs from 64 counties in the state had filed a lawsuit challenging the reforms.

Democrats, trying to assuage security concerns, have added numerous offenses to a list of criminals that allow a defendant to remain in jail while awaiting trial.

Yet a local judge ruled the legislation unconstitutional.

Kankakee County Circuit Judge Thomas Cunnington ruled Wednesday that the General Assembly violated the constitution’s separation of powers clause. He said ending or continuing cash bail should be the decision of the judiciary.

Governor JB Pritzker, a Democrat, said he was confident the legislation was constitutional and would be ruled so by the Supreme Court.

He described the new policies as “long overdue reforms that will make Illinois families safer and prevent violent offenders from being able to buy their freedom just because they are wealthy enough” in a statement.

With post wires.


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