Massive Win for Criminals: Illinois Sets Risky Precedent by Becoming First State to Abolish Cash Bail
Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images
Illinois has become the first state in the U.S. to entirely abolish cash bail starting today, September 18, 2023, a massive win for criminals.
The Gateway Pundit reported in July that the Illinois Supreme Court upheld the Pretrial Fairness Act provision of the Safety, Accountability, Equity, Transparency-today Act, meaning that cash bail will be eliminated in Illinois in 60 days.
The elimination of cash bail in Illinois was set to go into effect on Sunday, January 1, 2023, but the state’s highest court halted the reform.
Democrats in Illinois passed a new law to eliminate the cash bail system. The new law aimed at reforming the state’s criminal justice system.
This will result in the release on no bail while awaiting court date of those accused of certain felonies, such as “second-degree murder, aggravated battery, and arson without bail, as well as drug-induced homicide, kidnapping, burglary, robbery, intimidation, aggravated DUI, aggravated fleeing and eluding, drug offenses and threatening a public official.”
Democrat Gov. JB Pritzker signed HB 3653 THE SAFE-T (Safety, Accountability, Fairness, and Equity- Today) ACT into law in February, saying “Transforming the pretrial detention system so low-income people aren’t thrown behind bars while only the wealthy walk free, diverting low-level drug crimes into substance-treatment programs and reducing excessive stays in prison.”
Republican Mayor of Orland Park, Keith Pekau, said in a press conference earlier this year that this new law would deny victims their constitutional rights.
“It abolishes cash bail for almost every offense,” Pekau said. “This includes, but isn’t limited to, kidnapping, armed robbery, second-degree murder, drug-induced homicide, aggravated DUI, threatening a public official, and aggravated fleeing and eluding.”
“Offenders released on electronic monitoring have to be in violation for 48 hours before law enforcement can act. They can almost drive to Alaska before we can even look for them,” he said.
“It denies victims their constitutional rights. And keep this in mind, businesses and homeowners will no longer be able to remove trespassers from your residence or your businesses. Someone could decide to live in your shed, and all we can do is give them a ticket. You have to decide what level of force is required to remove them and whether or not it’s legal. This is a massive threat to the residents of Orland Park, Cook County in Illinois,” Pekau warned.
The SAFE-T Act:
Abolishes cash bail for almost every offense.
Individuals on electronic monitoring must be in violation for 48 hours before law enforcement can act.
Prohibits officers from removing trespassers from your residence or business. pic.twitter.com/ZX8tlQdelR
— Keith Pekau (@KeithPekau) September 7, 2022
“Because, as the Illinois Supreme Court has determined, the administration of the justice system is an inherent power of the courts upon which the legislature may not infringe and the setting of bail falls within that administrative power, the appropriateness of bail rests with the authority of the court and may not be determined by legislative fiat,” Judge Cunnington wrote in his decision.
In July, the Illinois Supreme Court overturned the lower court ruling citing ending cash bail is constitutional.
“The Illinois Constitution of 1970 does not mandate that monetary bail is the only means to ensure criminal defendants appear for trials or the only means to protect the public,” the court concluded. “Our constitution creates a balance between the individual rights of defendants and the individual rights of crime victims. The Act’s pretrial release provisions set forth procedures commensurate with that balance. For the reasons that we have stated, we reverse the circuit court’s decision to grant summary judgment in favor of plaintiffs,” according to the Supreme Court opinion in the case of Rowe v. Raoul.
The law means that 12 non-detainable offenses will no longer require a paid cash bail:
Aggravated fleeing and eluding
Aggravated driving under the influence
Threatening a public official
Below is the summary of HB 3653: THE SAFE-T (Safety, Accountability, Fairness, and Equity- Today) ACT
Police Reform and Accountability
Creates a more robust statewide certification and decertification system for police officers
Requires the use of body worn cameras by all police departments
Empowers the Attorney General to conduct pattern or practice investigations
Updates use of force standards, creates duties to intervene and render aid, and requires training on racial sensitivity, use of force, de-escalation, mental health and crisis intervention
Provides for mental health awareness and screenings for officer wellness
Requires a predicate offense for a resisting arrest offense to be applicable
Reforms crowd control and arrest techniques, including banning chokeholds
Requires the permanent retention of police misconduct records
Requires use of special prosecutor for officer-involved deaths
Removes the sworn affidavit requirement for the filing of police misconduct complaints
Prevents police departments from acquiring and using certain military surplus equipment
Requires police to develop plans to protect vulnerable people present during search warrant raids
Criminal Justice Reform
Expands first responder/co-responder deflection programs with funding prioritized for programs in communities impacted by the war on drugs, who have police/community relations issues and lack access to mental health and drug treatment
Eliminates cash bail to ensure a fairer pre-trial detention system based on public safety and not on wealth
Eliminates license suspensions for unpaid fines and fees due to red light camera and traffic offenses
Modernizes sentencing laws by reforming the habitual criminal penalty enhancement and felony murder statute
Limits short-term commitments for individuals with 4 months or less left on their sentence. • Eliminates Mandatory Supervised Release for Class 3 and 4 felonies, unless the Prisoner Review Board determines it is needed after a risk and needs assessment. Shortens Mandatory Supervised Release terms for all other felony categories.
Increases the Director of the Department of Corrections’ discretion to award sentence credit and expands awards of credit for completion of educational degrees and programming
Provides services and programming for pregnant incarcerated individuals, and requires that medical treatment be provided to them without unreasonable delay
Requires that 3 phone calls be provided within 3 hours of arrival at a police station and before questioning
Increases transparency and accountability by requiring investigation and reporting of deaths in custody
Ends the practice of prison gerrymandering by requiring that incarcerated individuals be counted as part of their home district and not the district of detention
Expands services for crime victims and supports compensation of crime victims
However, the number of murders and shootings are down by 5% and 10%, respectively. The murder rate is 78% higher than in 2019.