Our legal team advised us on this months ago while the Illinois Supreme Court debated the “merits” of cash free bail since last year when they halted it”s implementation for review.
Our legal team is like us, SKEPTICAL of everything government related and the immediate concerns were as follows…
- Judges now become the “gatekeepers” in determining whose crimes warrant incarceration till the assigned court dates. Will priors factor into this? No one really knows although judges in this state mandated to consider them in sentencing , it is individual cases being determined otherwise before sentencing. In Crook County where the entire legal system has seemingly collapsed in favor of criminals in a revolving door reality of catch and release, this becomes very important as a healthy percentage of crimes committed is by repeat offenders.
02). Domestics. Did anyone consider the danger to women in these cases? Many times a multi day cool off behind bars key to diffusing violatile domestic situations. Sending someone home after charging them could be kiss of death for some. Anger levels in the population at an all time high exacerbated by social anxieties and inflation and job issues not to mention lingering pandemic trauma, world events and now wildfire smoke. With defunding of police , many situations could get out of control before police even arrive on the flip side.
03.) Has anyone considered if criminals merely avoid court cases and take off after release? If a criminal is busted for something he has already been busted for and KNOWS jail awaits him, why show up if not in jail already? And does the state/county/local have the police manpower to roust these guys on the run (US Marshalls in federal cases in our state courts)? Of course the argument reverts back to the judges making prudent decisions on determining which defendants constitute a threat to the public safety and are sentenced to jail but the question deserves serious consideration.
04.) Current jail situations. On September 18th when this law takes affect what happens to the current criminals in jail? Are they released en masse? Or are the judges overwhelmed intially in assessing the reworked directives in assessing the viability of the sentencing of these people? Many in law enforcement here have publicly echoed their concerns on these points(we have posted some) as well as the fear is many of these criminals will be released back ‘into the wild” to be emboldened to commit more crimes because jail deterrent removed. And because many of these people know no other way to survive, the public is at serious risk because of this.
If crime here was not so prevalent, this law would resonate better when framed in the situations where it is supposed to make sense. But with hard core crime on the rise we see it as a major catalyst to the slow but steady exodus out of this state because fundamentally law and order is a key component of the public reality and when people do not feel safe they leave.
THE LEVER piece here…
When You Land On Illinois, Get Out Of Jail Free
Illinois is the first state to abolish cash bail, with its supreme court determining it’s unconstitutional to hold defendants in jail based on their inability to pay.
Cash bail allows people to put up a sum of money in exchange for leaving jail and awaiting trial at home. It’s entirely contradictory to the principle of “innocent until proven guilty” because people are held in jail without trial, and sometimes even without charges. It also puts poor defendants who can’t afford to shell out large sums of money at a huge disadvantage, and can cause them to lose their jobs or homes while they’re held pretrial.
Under Illinois’ new measure, all people charged with offenses will be eligible for release on personal recognizance — a promise that they will show up in court for their trial. The court can still seek a pretrial detainment in certain criminal cases, but they can’t levy a monetary requirement.
“Someone’s experience with the criminal justice system should not vary based on their income level,” said Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul in a statement.
California and New York have taken some steps to curb cash bail, but Illinois’ measure is unique in that it completely abolishes the use of cash bail. The legislation was originally passed by Democratic legislators in 2021, then ordered unconstitutional by a circuit court judge in 2022. On Tuesday, the Illinois Supreme Court upheld the original measure, and it will now go into effect this fall.