ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Just days before the Safe-T Act is supposed to take effect in Illinois the Pre-trial portion of it will no longer be implemented on January 1st in the 17th Judicial Circuit.
This comes after Wednesday night’s ruling by Kankakee County Chief Judge Thomas Cunnington who said that the no cash bail provisions were unconstitutional.
“The appropriateness of bail rests with the authority of the court and may not be determined by legislative fiat,” Cunnington said.
Due to this, all judicial courts apart of the litigation will be included in not partaking in no cash bail until Illinois Supreme Court gives its say.
“Any reaction I had as I mentioned is a little bit tempered because I know the supreme court will ultimately have the final say,” said J. Hanley the Winnebago County States Attorney. “I wasn’t overly happy or anything like that. It was just like okay what does the, what does the memorandum say, what does it mean for Winnebago county and how are we going to proceed.”
I think it’s good we are taking a timeout I guess, a breather and take a real hard look at it because it could be very very dangerous for our community and I keep saying that because we’re letting people out that I don’t feel should be let out,” said Winnebago county sheriff Gary Caruana
We cannot and should not defend a system that fails to keep people safe by allowing those who are a threat to their community to simply buy their way out of jail.”
Many other local lawmakers weighed in.
“Judge Cunnington is absolutely correct in his assertion that this measure is set to fully become a law on January 1st is a violation of the separation of powers clause of the constitution and represents a significant overreach from Legislative and Executive branches of government,” said Ogle County States Attorney Mike Rock and Sheriff Vanvickle.
“I have no reaction. There was a ruling, there was a commitment to an appeal and I’m going to let the whole process play out,” said Illinois State Representative Maurice A. West II.
“From day one I have fought the Democrat-pushed and hastily crafted SAFE-T Act that would put families, victims, and law enforcement in danger. Democrats refused to listen to legal professionals and law enforcement; instead, they used their supermajority status to steamroll the legislation through the process resulting in the unconstitutional ruling, said Illinois State Representative Andrew Chesney. “This all could have been avoided if the Democrats had simply held real bipartisan working groups and hearings that took into consideration the testimony of law enforcement, states attorneys, victim advocates, and others. Let’s see if the lesson is learned.”
“Despite being heavily opposed, the controversial no cash bail provision was set to become law on Jan. 1, 2023,” said Senator Brian Stewart. “To address all the controversy and the tremendous public outcry against this new law, the Senate passed House Bill 1095 on Dec. 1, but I could not support those changes either because, at the end of the day, the SAFE-T Act would still have made the public less safe than they are today.”
The next steps now, according to Illinois Attorney General the state will appeal to the Illinois supreme court.
This may cause problems however within Illinois. The state is almost split in half with counties that will be implementing the pre-trial portion of the Safe-T Act.
“There will be some hiccups or complexities because you’re going to have portions of the state not be abiding by the pretrial fairness act and others that are,” Hanley said.
Once a decision is made, Hanley mentions the county will be prepared.
“We are back to the status quo. In terms of preparation, we were ready to go. You know I think there’s this thought because we were involved in litigation that we weren’t preparing. All we’ve been doing for about the last 6-9 months is preparing for January 1. and we were ready.”