The Illinois Supreme Courtroom halted a statewide finish to money bail for felony defendants in an eleventh-hour ruling simply hours earlier than the brand new legislation was anticipated to start Sunday.
The excessive court docket enacted a keep on the provisions of the laws in response to an attraction the Illinois Legal professional Normal’s Workplace filed Friday with the court docket of an area decide’s ruling — which discovered that the act was unconstitutional.
The Supreme Courtroom mentioned its order was essential to “keep constant pretrial procedures all through Illinois” earlier than it decides on the legislation. It promised an “expedited course of” to decide.
The Democrat-controlled Illinois Normal Meeting hoped to finish money bail starting Jan. 1 via the passage of the SAFE-T Act — arguing that money bail creates an inequitable system during which the poor sit in jail whereas the wealthy go free as they await trial.
Nonetheless, state Republicans feared the termination of money bail — which has traditionally been used to make sure defendants present as much as their court docket dates — would enable probably harmful criminals to stroll free.
Illinois counties had been anticipated to cease ordering defendants to be held on bail at their first court docket appearances on Sunday, however many counties mentioned they’d ignore the brand new legislation — leading to a hodge-podge court docket system.
Prosecutors and sheriffs from 64 counties throughout the state had filed a lawsuit to problem the reforms.
Democrats, making an attempt to appease security issues, added quite a few offenses to a listing of criminals that qualify an accused particular person to stay jailed whereas awaiting trial.
Nonetheless, an area decide deemed the laws unconstitutional.
Kankakee County Circuit Choose Thomas Cunnington dominated Wednesday that the Normal Meeting violated the structure’s separation of powers clause. He mentioned the tip or continuation of money bail must be the judiciary department’s resolution.
Governor J.B. Pritzker, a Democrat, mentioned he was assured that the laws was constitutional and could be dominated so by the Supreme Courtroom.
He described the brand new insurance policies as “lengthy overdue reforms that can make Illinois households safer and forestall violent offenders from having the ability to purchase their freedom simply because they’re rich sufficient” in an announcement.
With Submit wires.