(WMBD) — House Bill 1095, or the SAFE-T Act, was ruled unconstitutional by a Kankakee judge Wednesday night. While the state is filing an appeal to the Illinois Supreme Court, lawmakers and elected officials have released statements in reaction to the original ruling.
Today’s ruling is a setback for the principles we fought to protect through the passage of the SAFE-T Act. The General Assembly and advocates worked to replace an antiquated criminal justice system with a system rooted in equity and fairness. We cannot and should not defend a system that fails to keep people safe by allowing those who are a threat to their community the ability to simply buy their way out of jail. I thank the Attorney General for his work on this case and look forward to the Illinois Supreme Court taking up the appeal as soon as possible.
Gov. JB Pritzker
Although the court’s decision is binding in the 64 cases that were consolidated in Kankakee County, it is important to note that it is not binding in any other case, including those involving criminal defendants in any of the state’s 102 counties. To definitively resolve this challenge to the pretrial release portions of the SAFE-T Act, Governor Pritzker, the legislative leaders named in the consolidated cases and I intend to appeal the circuit court’s decision directly to the Illinois Supreme Court, where we will ask the court to reverse the circuit court’s decision.
Most of the SAFE-T Act’s provisions have been in effect for more than a year, and regardless of today’s circuit court decision, all parts of the SAFE-T Act, including the pretrial release portions addressed in the court’s decision, will go into effect Jan 1. For instance, the right of individuals awaiting criminal trials – people who have not been convicted of a crime and are presumed innocent – to seek release from jail without having to pay cash bail will go into effect in a few short days, despite the court’s ruling against those provisions. Illinois residents in all counties should be aware that the circuit court’s decision has no effect on their ability to exercise their rights that are protected by the SAFE-T Act and the Illinois Constitution.
Attorney General Kwame Raoul
The creation of the SAFE-T Act has been a colossal failure from the beginning. The sloppy, rushed, poorly drafted law not only disregarded the opinions of citizens, law enforcement, prosecutors, and judges, but more dangerously has threated public safety here in Illinois. And on top of this, the central component has now been ruled unconstitutional. This ruling is just another example of the failure of this law.
While the ‘no cash bail’ provision will continue to work its way through the court system, I will continue to advocate for a system that is fair, puts victims ahead of criminals, and gives judges the discretion they need to ensure violent offenders are not let back out on the streets.
Senate Minority Leader Dan McConchie (R-Hawthorn Woods)
Today’s ruling by Circuit Judge Thomas Cunnington was the correct one. Republicans have loudly and consistently voiced the many concerns with the SAFE-T Act since its passage during the lame-duck session nearly two years ago. Many provisions within the act put victims, law enforcement and communities throughout Illinois at-risk for disastrous outcomes. I am grateful the courts have ruled on the side of common-sense and am hopeful that any appeal will be upheld to protect Illinois families and the most vulnerable throughout the state.
House Minority Leader-elect Tony McCombie (R-Savanna)
Cashless bail was slated to go into effect across Illinois this Sunday. This law would have severely limited the ability of judges and prosecutors to keep dangerous criminals off of the streets thereby exporting the epidemic of lawlessness we’ve seen in certain parts of Chicago throughout the rest of our state. The Circuit Court ruling which rightly declared it unconstitutional is a win for public safety, and the businesses and residents of Illinois, if upheld by the Illinois Supreme Court. For now, it should serve as a message to Governor Pritzker and Democrat legislators that they can’t subvert our constitutional process by ramming their unpopular and dangerous soft-on-crime policies through the legislature in the dark of night.
Illinois Republican Party Chairman Don Tracy
Last night the Pretrial Fairness Act was declared unconstitutional. Although Peoria County did not participate in this ruling, we are required to follow it. When a statute is unconstitutional, the statute becomes invalid and has no force or effect on anyone. As a result, and until the Illinois Supreme Court provides further clarification, we will abide by this ruling and not implement the new bail reform. This office remains committed to following the law and is hopeful the Supreme Court will bring finality to this topic in the near future.
Peoria County State’s Attorney Jodi Hoos
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December 29, 2022 at 10:32AM