(WTVO) — Illinois Democrats in the General Assembly who pushed for the abolishment of cash bail, aren’t happy with the court ruling that halts that portion of the SAFE-T Act.
“The frivolous lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the Pretrial Fairness Act is just the latest of many attempts by conservatives to prevent progress and preserve wealth-based jailing in Illinois,” the Illinois Network for Pretrial Justice said in a statement. “They know their actions were taken on weak legal grounds, at the last minute despite the law passing 23 months ago, and were simply intended to delay the inevitable implementation of the Pretrial Fairness Act.”
No-cash bail was provided in the Pretrial Fairness Act part the SAFE-T Act. It was ruled unconstitutional by a Kankakee County judge after state’s attorneys in 64 counties, filed suit to stop the legislation last fall.
The Kankakee ruling only applied to the 64 counties listed in the lawsuit, leaving half the state open to end cash bail and the half to keep operating under the standard cash system. The Illinois Supreme Court then stepped in and ruled that a statewide stay was needed to maintain consistent pretrial procedures throughout the state as the court prepares to hear arguments.
The high court’s ruling drew praise from state Republicans.
“In certain judicial circuits, having cash bail and others not, many municipalities that are across counties where one part of the municipality would have cash bail and the other wouldn’t, it would have been chaotic,” state Rep. Patrick Windhorst, R-Metropolis, told The Center Square.
Other provisions in the SAFE-T Act were allowed to stand. The act started getting traction with the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus after the 2020 death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
The Illinois Attorney General’s Office is expected to file an appeal. A timetable for a ruling isn’t known.