Illinois Supreme Court: Criminal cash bail goes away Sept. 18

Illinois Supreme Court: Criminal cash bail goes away Sept. 18

Illinois will become the first state to eliminate cash bail. The Illinois Supreme Court on July 18 upheld the Pretrial Fairness Act, ruling it doesn’t violate the Illinois Constitution.

The Illinois Supreme Court ruled the Pretrial Fairness Act, one of many provisions included in the SAFE-T Act”, will take effect Sept. 18

The 5-2 ruling means Illinois will be the first state to eliminate cash bail. Gov. J.B. Pritzker said he supported the decision.

“I’m pleased that the Illinois Supreme Court has upheld the constitutionality of the SAFE-T Act and the elimination of cash bail. We can now move forward with historic reform to ensure pre-trial detainment is determined by the danger an individual poses to the community instead of by their ability to pay their way out of jail,” Pritzker said in a prepared statement.

The new Sept. 18 implementation date was set by Illinois Supreme Court Chief Justice Mary Ann Theis, who wrote the court’s opinion.

“The Illinois Constitution of 1970 does not mandate that monetary bail is the only means to ensure criminal defendants appear for trials or the only means to protect the public,” the majority opinion stated.

The act was supposed to take effect Jan. 1, 2023, but a Kankakee County Court sided with a lawsuit claiming it was unconstitutional.

Other provisions of the SAFE-T Act have already gone into effect. A requirement all police officers wear body cameras doesn’t take effect until 2025.

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