Kankakee, Will County state's attorneys file lawsuit over Safe-T Act eliminating cash bail

ByABC7 Chicago Digital Team via WLS logo
Saturday, September 17, 2022
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The act, which Governor JB Pritzker signed last year, eliminates "cash bail" in Illinois starting January 1.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Two Illinois state's attorneys are suing over the so-called "Safe-T Act."

The act, which Governor JB Pritzker signed last year, eliminates "cash bail" in Illinois starting January 1.

The States attorneys for Kankakee and Will counties both filed lawsuits Friday, alleging the act violated the state constitution by not allowing voters to weigh in.

Governor Pritzker's office released a statement after the first lawsuit was filed, calling it a "weak attempt to protect the status quo that lets murders and abusers pay their way out of jail."

RELATED: Illinois law eliminating cash bail faces criticism, but supporters say it makes system fairer

Critics say the bill will make it very difficult to detain some dangerous criminals and disincentivizes people from returning to court to stand trial.

Republican candidate for attorney general Tom Devore noted that for some forcible felonies, such as second-degree murder or kidnapping, suspects will be released without even having a detention hearing because of the way the new law defines flight risk.

Supporters say it will make the criminal justice system more fair.

"You are presumed innocent until proven guilty. But under this current cash bail system you don't get that benefit," State Rep Justin Slaughter said.

READ MORE: Illinois law eliminating cash bail has some in law enforcement concerned

The governor continues to defend the landmark bill.

"Are there changes or adjustments that need to be made, of course, and there have been adjustments," Governor JB Pritzker said.

Lawmakers said discussions are underway and there will be changes to address a number of concerns about the law before it goes into effect on January 1.