January 6, 2023

Judge Rules Illinois Law to End Cash Bail Is Unconstitutional

An Illinois judge ruled that the state's law to end cash bail is unconstitutional.

The SAFE-T Act was ruled against after 65 counties in the state challenged the law last week.

"The legislation, which Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed into law last year, takes effect Jan. 1, but according to the Kankakee County State's Attorney, the ruling from the judge means that the pre-trial release and bail reforms that are part of the law will not take effect in those counties next month," Fox News reported.

"The ruling does not, however, affect other counties in the state that were not a part of the legal challenge to the law, including the state's most populous Cook County, which includes Chicago," it added.

Kankakee County Circuit Court Judge Thomas W. Cunnington wrote the ruling against the law.

"The court finds that had the Legislature wanted to change the provisions in the Constitution regarding eliminating monetary bail as a surety, they should have submitted the question on the ballot to the electorate at a general election,” Cunnington wrote.

Further, he said “eliminating monetary bail ... prevents the court from effectuating the constitutionally mandated safety of the victims and their families. This section of the Illinois Constitution is intended to serve ‘as a shield to protect victims.’”

Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) signed the bill last year. He referred to the new ruling as a setback, though the legislation will move forward in places like Chicago where it will have the most impact.

The end of cash bail may add to already high levels of crime in the state's largest city, which is becoming known for its violence rather than its great cultural legacy.

The bill's outcome in court may also help slow the spread of the concerning legislation to other states that seek to make the punishment for crime softer instead of enforcing the law.

Source: Fox News

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