WOODSTOCK, Ill. (WTVO) — McHenry County State’s Attorney Patrick Kenneally criticized the SAFE-T Act on Monday, identifying two recent releases as examples of “more SAFE-T Act failures.”
Kenneally’s office highlighted the release of two men, 38-year-old Nicholas Koczor, of Woodstock, and a 27-year-old unnamed man in a September 25 press release. Both defendants were released by the court due to provisions enacted by the SAFE-T Act.
According to the State’s Attorney’s office, Koczor was released on September 25. He had previously been in custody since October 8, 2022, after he was unable to post bond following his arrest on charges of harassing his girlfriend by telephone and aggravated battery to a police officer. Koczor reportedly filed a petition for his release after the act became law.
“Under the SAFE-T Act, however, the court must release a Defendant even on a detainable offense if a judge finds that pretrial release conditions ‘can mitigate’”’ the threat posed by a defendant,” said Kenneally’s office. “In this case, the court released the Defendant with the pretrial conditions that he not contact his ex-girlfriend, not use drugs or alcohol, submit to random urine drops, and live in a sober living house.”
The 27-year-old man was allegedly found with 30 counterfeit Alprazolam tablets. He was released under the act due to his charge of intent to distribute a look-alike substance being classified as a “non-detainable offense.”
“Over the past week, numerous constituents have reached out to the office in disbelief that they had been lied to about the SAFE-T Act and wanted some type of proof or confirmation from our office that it was as flawed as we claimed,” the office said.
“We thought it worthwhile, therefore, to, again, walk constituents through the law in the hopes of clarifying it and its dangerous consequences.”
Boone County State’s Attorney Tricia Smith told Eyewitness News that it is too early to see any real results of the act.
“There are a lot of different forms and procedures that had never been done before,” Smith said. “So we actually had a meeting this morning within our courthouse with the judges, circuit clerk, public defender, myself, just to review what has happened within the last week.”
Winnebago County is holding a Pre-Trial Fairness Act panel on September 27th at 5:30 at Veterans Memorial Hall.