State Supreme Court Decision Makes Illinois the First State to Get Rid of Cash Bail

(AP Photo/M. Spencer Green, File)

The Illinois Supreme Court decided to roll the dice and take a chance that eliminating cash bail won’t result in more people becoming victims of crime.

The odds are long. And isn’t it just grand that Illinois residents will shortly become guinea pigs for “criminal justice reform?”

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The state law passed last year — the incredibly misnamed “SAFE-T Act” (Safety, Accountability, Fairness, and Equity-Today) — was supposed to go into effect on Jan. 1, 2023. But as you can imagine, not everyone thought that ending bail for criminals was not such a hot idea. Prosecutors and sheriffs sued, and a state judge in Kankakee County agreed that the law was unconstitutional.

But on Tuesday, the state Supreme Court overturned the ruling.

Fox News:

Under the new law, judges will not require suspects charged with crimes to post bail in order to leave jail while they await trial. Suspects deemed a threat to the public or those who are likely to flee can still be required to remain in jail, CBS News reported.

The state Supreme Court’s ruling means the end to cash bail will take effect across the state beginning Sept. 18. Other states have enacted reforms to abolish cash bail for many cases, but Illinois is expected to be the first state to eliminate cash bail, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

“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,” Justice Mary Jane Theis wrote in the ruling Tuesday morning. “Our constitution creates a balance between the individual rights of defendants and the individual rights of crime victims. The Act’s pretrial release provisions set forth procedures commensurate with that balance.”

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What “balance”? The criminals have guns and many law-abiding citizens do not. Now, the blood of every single victim of a violent crime who is preyed upon by a criminal who should have been securely locked up will be on the hands of those justices.

In truth, a poll taken by the Chicago Sun-Times last January found that just 32% of state residents were in favor of the elimination of cash bail while 40% opposed it. This is another “Chicago law” that the rest of the state is just going to have to swallow.

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The Sun-Times editorial board is happy and hopeful about the decision. “Happy” that it will be easier to fight unjust incarceration. Hopeful that no one gets killed because of it.

When the law takes effect in September, the hope is it will balance the playing field without hurting public safety.

But bottom-line, it simply isn’t fair for people charged with low-level and nonviolent crimes to bide their time in jail while they await trial solely because they don’t have the cash more privileged suspects can withdraw within minutes.

As a Center for American Progress report from last year summed it up, because of “excessive cash bail, hundreds of thousands of people are incarcerated each year not due to any real public safety concern, but rather due to a lack of money.”

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“The hope” that public safety isn’t hurt isn’t good enough. The radical left is using Illinois residents as lab rats in a “criminal justice reform” experiment.

There probably isn’t going to be a trail of dead bodies from the courthouse where criminals were released to the morgue. But I’d love to hear the proponents of this law justify the murder of a single person by someone who had no business being out of jail.

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