In the midst of a crime wave, the Illinois Supreme Court ends cash bail

 July 19, 2023

The Illinois Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday that a state law prohibiting cash bail can go into effect on September 18.

This comes despite a crime wave and concerns that arrestees will perpetrate additional crimes while awaiting trial, as Breitbart News reported.

The law was enacted and signed by Democratic Governor J. B. Pritzker last year. As reported by Breitbart News last year:

Thousands of suspects accused of second-degree murder, kidnapping, burglary, robbery, and other violent crimes will be released from prison as a result of a new Illinois law passed by Democrats and signed by Democratic Governor J.B. Pritzker (D).

Beginning on January 1, 2023, Illinois will be the first state in the nation to eliminate cash bail for all offences, including the most violent. Consequently, local district attorneys claim they will be compelled to release thousands of suspects accused of crimes such as homicide and kidnapping.

A group of local law enforcement agencies filed a lawsuit to prevent the law's implementation, and a magistrate ruled that the law was unconstitutional. This decision was revoked on appeal to the Supreme Court.

Local Reports

CWB Chicago reported an opinion released Tuesday morning by a majority of 5 to 2, the court ordered the legislature-approved elimination of cash bond to go into effect 60 days later, on September 18.

In his December 28 ruling declaring the elimination of cash bail to be unconstitutional, Kankakee County Judge Thomas Cunnington applied "uneven reasoning," according to the court's written opinion released on Tuesday.

Cunnington  “ignored the plain language of the constitution,” the court wrote, noting that the state constitution "does not include the term 'monetary'" when it states that nearly all criminal defendants must be able to be released on bond with "sufficient sureties."

The court also determined that the current state constitution "was largely identical to the original 1818 constitution," a period when "monetary bail was all but unknown."

The Supreme Court suspended the implementation of the law until it could review an appeal of Cunnington's decision, hours before the elimination of cash bail was scheduled to take effect on January 1.

The Timing

In a decision issued on Tuesday, the court stated that its stay will expire in sixty days, on September 18.

The court concluded: "On that date, the circuit courts shall conduct hearings in accordance with" the Pretrial Fairness Act.

Mary Jane Theis, the chief justice, rendered the court's decision. Justices P. Scott Neville Jr., Joy Cunningham, Elizabeth Rochford, and Mary Kay O'Brien joined her on the bench.

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