Kankakee County Circuit Judge Thomas Cunnington had ruled earlier in the week that Illinois’ Democrat-controlled General Assembly violated the constitution’s separation of powers clause and that the end or continuation of cash bail should be the judiciary branch’s decision.
In response to an appeal the Illinois Attorney General filed on Friday in response to the local judge’s ruling which ruled the act was unconstitutional, the high court enacted a stay on provisions of the legislation.
The Supreme Court promised an “expedited process” to hand down a decision and said the stay was necessary to “maintain consistent pretrial procedures throughout Illinois” before it rules on the law.
According to The New York Post, “The Democrat-controlled Illinois General Assembly hoped to end cash bail beginning Jan. 1 through the passage of the SAFE-T Act — arguing that cash bail creates an inequitable system in which the poor sit in jail while the rich go free as they await trial.”
State Republicans argued that termination of cash bail would allow dangerous criminals to walk free because there would no longer me a mechanism to ensure that they showed up to court hearings.
Many counties have already announced that they would ignore the new law, and sheriffs and prosecutors from 64 counties in Illinois filed a lawsuit to challenge the reforms.
Democrat Governor JB Pritzker said in a statement that the legislation was constitutional and the new policies are “long overdue reforms that will make Illinois families safer and prevent violent offenders from being able to buy their freedom just because they are wealthy enough.”
New York state saw a massive spike in crime following its implementation of “bail reform” in 2020 as offenders were released to re-offend. Cities such as Seattle which enacted similar provisions have also seen spikes in crime.
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