Illinois Supreme Court Halts Elimination of Cash Bail

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The elimination of cash bail in Illinois has been put on pause for now, after an Illinois Supreme Court ruling on Saturday.

Ruling Follows Earlier Circuit Court Decision

The court made the decision after an earlier ruling on Thursday, December 29 by a Kankakee circuit court judge, who declared certain parts of the SAFE-T Act set to launch in the new year unconstitutional. That ruling was in response to a class action lawsuit filed by prosecutors and sheriffs within 65 counties, and effectively put a stop to the January 1 launch of elimination of cash bail within those counties.

Local State’s Attorneys File Emergency Motion

State’s attorneys in DuPage and Kane counties made a request to the Illinois Supreme Court after that ruling. Their two counties were not included in the lawsuit. On December 30, they filed an emergency motion for supervisory order with the Illinois Supreme Court looking for clarification, arguing that the Kankakee judge’s ruling had resulted in confusion statewide about its legal implications.

The motion requested that the court, “exercise its supervisory authority to enter an order sufficient to maintain consistent pretrial procedures because without such an order, defendants in different jurisdictions will be subject to different treatment upon arrest and throughout pretrial proceedings, creating an equal protection problem for citizens across the State.”

Stay Issued Just Hours Before New Rule To Launch

The Illinois Supreme Court issued a stay on Saturday, December 31 to halt the elimination of cash bail. The court said it was necessary to “maintain consistent pretrial procedures throughout Illinois.”

The DuPage and Kane county state’s attorneys said they were “very pleased” with the court’s decision, saying in a statement, “Had the Safe-T-Act gone into effect on January 1, 2023, while litigation is pending, the administration of justice in Illinois would have been uneven, thus harming all the citizens of the State. Additionally, DuPage and Kane Counties, would have faced additional challenges as multiple municipalities are in multiple counties, some of which were bound by the pending litigation and others that were not.”

Appeal Already in Motion

The Illinois Attorney General had filed an appeal to the Illinois Supreme Court on Friday, December 30, in response to the Kankakee judge’s ruling. The court said it would coordinate an “expedited process” for that appeal.

Naperville News 17’s Kim Pirc reports.

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