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How about we wait to see if it works or not before everybody loses their freaking minds?

Tuesday, Jan 19, 2021

* Senate Majority Leader Kimberly Lightford wrote an op-ed in response to a misleading (surprise!) Tribune editorial

I’ve seen misguided criticism that we are eliminating cash bail too fast. It’s a two-year phase-in. Two years. How much bureaucratic foot-dragging did they want?

Others complain about new training requirements that are designed to familiarize police with uncomfortable situations and hopefully reduce violent encounters. It’s exactly what community voices have been calling on for decades. They argue that trust won’t be restored between the police and the public until training, supervision and accountability reforms ensure everyone is protected without bias. […]

Before the Senate adjourned in May, we changed our rules so Senate committees could meet via Zoom during this pandemic. Over the summer and fall, the Senate hosted 32 legislative hearings covering well over 100 hours of testimony regarding the Legislative Black Caucus agenda.

These were public hearings. We invited Illinois House members. Law enforcement groups testified. Media outlets covered the hearings. As we had discussions, we also negotiated legislation.

Nothing should have been a surprise to anyone paying attention.

Lobbyists for law enforcement groups were invited to be part of the process. In fact, police groups won key concessions. It’s hard to claim you were shut out when your lobbyists were getting things changed.

As a result of that lobbying, the elimination of qualified immunity was removed from the bill as were restrictions on collective bargaining rights.

* But the misinformation is overwhelming. Here’s a Sun-Times op-ed by Jason Johnson, the president of a group called the Law Enforcement Legal Defense Fund

And the public — especially communities hard-hit by violence and crime — want more police, not less. Residents of impoverished and often dangerous urban areas overwhelmingly want more (53%) or the same (41%) police presence in their communities according to a poll conducted this summer by Gallup for the Center for Advancing Opportunity after the George Floyd incident. A similar Gallup poll found a staggering 68% of residents in Chicago’s South Side wanted the police to spend more time in their neighborhood — only 5% wanted the police around less.

Um, there’s nothing in the bill that would reduce police presence in those communities.

* Notice the sheriff doesn’t say how this bill would be so devastating to law enforcement…


I’m very sorry to announce the dismantling of public safety as we know it. The elected officials that snuck and voted in…

Posted by James Mendrick DuPage County Sheriff on Wednesday, January 13, 2021

What we’re seeing here is a group of people accustomed to always getting their way being told they can’t have veto power.

* And the usual process argument…


Like he’d have been a “Yes” if they had more hearings. Right.

* A trailer bill will likely be needed and laws can always be altered in the future if things go awry

Legislators have taken a giant step toward reforming the criminal justice system in Illinois by approving a bill that would do away with cash bail, but the experiences of other states that tried similar reforms show it’s not a sure thing.

If Gov. J.B. Pritzker signs the measure into law, Illinois will become one of a handful of states that have enacted major changes regarding cash bail.

California and New York passed similar laws in recent years, but they were dropped because of public opposition. New Jersey, which was one of the first states to eliminate cash bail, under a reform passed in 2014, has weathered challenges and is seen as a success.

“Other jurisdictions who have implemented similar reforms offer important lessons that we would be wise to pay attention to — both in terms of what to do and what not to do,” said Roseanna Ander, director of the University of Chicago Crime Lab.

People just need to take a breath and stop believing all the outlandish rhetoric. We saw where that got us with the recent election.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

37 Comments
  1. - essentially working - Tuesday, Jan 19, 21 @ 11:21 am:

    Sure, let’s sign it into law as is, then clean it up later. That worked out well for legalized marijuana. This time they’ll really fix it later. I trust them…


  2. - Wolf - Tuesday, Jan 19, 21 @ 11:25 am:

    Remember when one of the law enforcement groups said police would be forced to kill their drug sniffing drugs if cannabis was legalized? These guys aren’t particularly honest or persuasive.


  3. - Candy Dogood - Tuesday, Jan 19, 21 @ 11:28 am:

    With letters like that you can tell that Paul Schimpf is going to make an excellent failed Lt. Governor candidate.


  4. - VerySmallRocks - Tuesday, Jan 19, 21 @ 11:28 am:

    The cries of white privilege being bruised…


  5. - Politix - Tuesday, Jan 19, 21 @ 11:29 am:

    Police unions have fought reform at every turn and look where it has gotten us. It has to be legislated. This bill may not be perfect, but it’s a start.


  6. - Roman - Tuesday, Jan 19, 21 @ 11:31 am:

    I don’t know, I must be a glass-half-full kinda guy, but couldn’t the police lobbying groups just as easily be claiming victory for getting the “worst” stuff stripped out of the bill?


  7. - NIU Grad - Tuesday, Jan 19, 21 @ 11:32 am:

    “We’ll start tracking the crime increases and repercussions of this action so we can show them the results of what they did in the future”

    So we get to see the Trump strategy at work here: Identifying every crime that occurs over the next two years and blaming it on the Democrats. This is gonna be a messy midterm…


  8. - Put the fun in unfunded - Tuesday, Jan 19, 21 @ 11:36 am:

    De facto, this has been in effect in Cook County for some time under Chief Judge Evans’s affordable bail initiative. He has stated that they haven’t had any horrible incidents occur using this new bail system.


  9. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Jan 19, 21 @ 11:40 am:

    ===but couldn’t the police lobbying groups just as easily be claiming victory===

    That would be off-brand.


  10. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Jan 19, 21 @ 11:40 am:

    ===That worked out well for legalized marijuana===

    Hey, it’s legal ain’t it?


  11. - Michelle Flaherty - Tuesday, Jan 19, 21 @ 11:42 am:

    Sheesh. You’d have thought the General Assembly eliminated police pensions in the middle of the night.

    But if they’d done that, the Trib would have thrown lawmakers a parade.


  12. - Ask - Tuesday, Jan 19, 21 @ 11:45 am:

    Go ask actual police officers who this bill will impact how they do their job. They live it every day and they will know how it impacts them. I am confident that they will tell you this will make the streets less safe.


  13. - 1st Ward - Tuesday, Jan 19, 21 @ 11:46 am:

    The messaging battle for 2022 on this issue will be interesting. Initially, from what I’m seeing and reading this could be a redux of the fair tax debacle. We had 6 carjackings at gunpoint in a one mile radius in 24 hours this weekend. Voters don’t do nuance and will blame this bill even though the bill hasn’t been implemented. The messaging is going to be an uphill battle especially if certain crime statistics don’t decrease from last years increase.


  14. - Dotnonymous - Tuesday, Jan 19, 21 @ 11:51 am:

    Cops will never be able to police themselves.

    The eyes of the People are wide open…and recording.


  15. - Telly - Tuesday, Jan 19, 21 @ 11:57 am:

    == (Judge Evans) has stated that they haven’t had any horrible incidents ==

    Well, of course. He’s the guy who implemented the program.

    The jury is actually still out on the Cook County bond reform. It has drastically cut the jail population, but studies have shown mixed public safety results. A Loyola study found minimal impact, but a Univ. of Utah paper and a Tribune series found some real problems. The bill allows for a two-year phase in for the elimination of cash bail, so as Rich alludes to in the headline, there is time to get this right.


  16. - Ferris Wheeler - Tuesday, Jan 19, 21 @ 11:58 am:

    When I see posts like the one from the DuPage Sheriff making incendiary claims and then providing a list of names, I take it as a threat.

    He is basically inviting social media to attack these folks, and we know unfortunately that there is a significant percentage of folks who are part of the right wing brigade who will respond with vigilante violence. The sheriff know this too.

    Comments on his Facebook post include things like “I’d be interested in seeing pictures and bios of the people who voted for this bill” and “Pull their security and let them fend for themselves and their family. Maybe then they’ll get a clue.”

    He should be reprimanded by the legislators from DuPage County, regardless of whether they voted for or against the bill.


  17. - @misterjayem - Tuesday, Jan 19, 21 @ 12:10 pm:

    Cops: This sneaky bill will dismantle of public safety as we know it‼

    Me: Oh my. Did police have any opportunity to suggest changes to the bill.

    Cops: Well, yes.

    Me: And were any of those changes made?

    Cops: Uhh… yes.

    Me: Oh really? Cool. So what changes to the bill did police suggest?

    Cops: We preserved qualified immunity for police.

    Me: Anything else?

    Cops: We also protected police collective bargaining rights.

    Me: So… nothing to preserve “public safety as we know it”?

    Cops: …

    Me: Huh.

    – MrJM


  18. - Payback - Tuesday, Jan 19, 21 @ 12:17 pm:

    “Notice the sheriff doesn’t say how this bill would be so devastating to law enforcement…” Afer CPD detective Jon Burge and his “midnight crew” beat, elecro-shocked and framed dozens of innocent men and forced them to sign false confessions, sending some to death row, every single police union in Illinois opposed filming interrogations.

    For a bunch of macho men, they sure are a bunch of crybabies when they don’t get to define their own jobs, which they have been doing for the last 100 years with no real oversight. Any cop who doesn’t like their job can quit. It’s not the military, they don’t get charged with AWOL.


  19. - Commisar Gritty - Tuesday, Jan 19, 21 @ 12:19 pm:

    Police have been able to run roughshod with no repercussions over the populace for too long. Friendly reminder that these reforms have been on the table for decades, they didn’t pop up out of nowhere. Cops acknowledge that there are “a few bad apples” but fight tooth and nail any attempt to hold them accountable. They also seem to forget the full expression is, “A few bad apples spoil the bunch.”


  20. - Cool Papa Bell - Tuesday, Jan 19, 21 @ 12:22 pm:

    Maybe just maybe you can’t “make the streets safer” with anything other the widespread economic reforms, improvements to the economy and reinvestment in disenfranchised communities.

    Is it any wonder why crime is up in the past few months? Good golly are people desperate and out of work? Criminals are gonna criminal. But you don’t have to treat those on the margins of making bad decisions like the rest of the them. This bill starts to address that. But the idle chatter on the street isn’t positive - its all “so the bad guys now have more rights than the cops”

    Dunno - all those things up top are hard or impossible to do. But it shouldn’t stand in the way of trying to make small changes to the way people wind up caught in the nasty cycle of the criminal justice system. And just so everyone is clear - that system is way, way worse if your black, brown or poor.


  21. - Anon221 - Tuesday, Jan 19, 21 @ 12:24 pm:

    Impacts on county and court budgets is an underlying not widely discussed. It’s easier to rile people up locally with “defunding” infographs, than disclosing the way they have been funding using cash bail for courts and county sheriffs’ departments. Sometimes the way they have been operating the fees systems on bail is criminal in itself. https://www.abajournal.com/web/article/cash-register-justice


  22. - Publius - Tuesday, Jan 19, 21 @ 12:27 pm:

    The determination that someone should held in custody until a sentence should be up to a judge based on evidence presented by the prosecution. It should not have anything to do with the ability of someone to pay bail. In this country we have innocent until proven guilty. If the police have evidence that someone should be held then they need to provide that.


  23. - BCOSEC - Tuesday, Jan 19, 21 @ 12:35 pm:

    It will be interesting to see how this works for failures to appear. It appears this is one area where the legislature gave the court quite a bit of discretion, including an up to 30 day jail sentence for each FTA.


  24. - Anon221 - Tuesday, Jan 19, 21 @ 12:41 pm:

    Some county court systems and sheriff departments have become reliant on the fees charged with bail. They are going to have to wean themselves off of that, and they have two years to do so. Some have been egregious over the years, and it ain’t going to be easy to change some county’s dependency on that system, but it needed to be done so people like the ones profiled in this article are protected.

    https://thecrimereport.org/2020/04/02/in-illinois-innocence-comes-with-a-35k-bill/


  25. - Dotnonymous - Tuesday, Jan 19, 21 @ 12:46 pm:

    “Pull their security and let them fend for themselves and their family. Maybe then they’ll get a clue.”

    Sheriffs are allowed to incite violence…now?

    Time to root…these tyrants from our office.


  26. - SumGai1986 - Tuesday, Jan 19, 21 @ 1:51 pm:

    Regardless of the content of the bill (-not being a cop or a criminal, I don’t have a horse in this race-) the way in which it was passed was disappointing. It was a missed opportunity to (1) have a genuine conversation about race and police reform and (2) give opponents of police reform a chance to make fools of themselves in a public forum. Instead, it gets snuck through in the middle of the night which gives the average joe the effect that there was ’something to hide’.


  27. - Thomas Paine - Tuesday, Jan 19, 21 @ 2:07 pm:

    There are a lot of parallels between the attacks on the legislative process and the attacks on the electoral process.

    Bills passed in the middle of the night are just as legal as bill’s passed at noon.

    Early votes are just as legal as Election Day votes.

    There was no lack of transparency. Every provision in the bill was thoroughly discussed and debated.

    Elections have consequences; one side played the law-and-order card to the hilt, and that side lost Illinois by an embarrassing 1 million votes, 57% to 40%.


  28. - Holding Back - Tuesday, Jan 19, 21 @ 2:08 pm:

    Another burden to Property Owners. Who will not have the guarantee that their property will not be protected with this bill.


  29. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Jan 19, 21 @ 2:12 pm:

    === Who will not have the guarantee that their property will not be protected with this bill. ===

    What are you even talking about with that double negative?


  30. - G falkes - Tuesday, Jan 19, 21 @ 2:38 pm:

    There is no one involved who thinks this bill was ready for prime time. It was more than 30 separate bills combined together over the course of years with public hearings on subject matter. It was no ones job to harmonize all those bills, definitions etc. and even when it was their job, look how hard it was to get it right. And even then it got many things wrong. But now it’ll be the BC and staff to figure out how to fix it after they’ve passed it. They’ll own the reforms. The downside is every bad outcome will be blamed on these reforms. The upside is that with a gun to their heads, lots of people will work very hard to figure out how to make this Rube Goldberg contraption work. And don’t be surprised if the fix implemented by judges results in more people being held in jail pre-trial.


  31. - Jocko - Tuesday, Jan 19, 21 @ 2:44 pm:

    Is this the same James Mendrick that had a 400 car parade in the middle of a pandemic or the one who decided not to enforce Pritzker’s mask/restaurant order?


  32. - H-W - Tuesday, Jan 19, 21 @ 3:00 pm:

    I read the bill very methodically. It only took a few hours, so the claim no one had time to read it is questionable. But in any case, my thoughts.

    It is conceivable that jails will have less income as a result of providing less custodial care to the accused. Thus, I can understand why sheriffs and other correctional officers have concerns. In addition, there will be a lot more record keeping which may mean a lot more work for clerical staff. Other than these two issues however, most of the concerns are false claims. In the broader sense, more education and training means more safety for the citizens from a more professional police force.


  33. - Amalia - Tuesday, Jan 19, 21 @ 3:22 pm:

    New York in particular is not something to copy so lessons learned from their fast change should help with Illinois. (another particularly difficult recent NY change is allowing defendants….including sexual assault defendants…to visit the scene of their alleged crime including at the same time of day the crime occurred. so NY law enforcement….and Law and Order SVU…are fed up generally.)


  34. - Precinct Captain - Tuesday, Jan 19, 21 @ 3:31 pm:

    Chicago police supervisor sues city, alleging special citywide unit improperly driven by traffic stops and arrests

    https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/criminal-justice/ct-chicago-police-lieutenant-whistleblower-suit-20210119-nsgj7i7chne75lap37zonyxyzy-story.html


  35. - Annonin' - Tuesday, Jan 19, 21 @ 4:24 pm:

    This reminds us the video taped confessions. Police fought every step until they realized it was a protection for good cops. Maybe a few cowboys won’t sign up or quit. Maybe fewer will be gunned down. Maybe a few more will come forward to help Police. This is all been debated for a long time. The first body cam bill passed 5 years ago.


  36. - Thomas More - Tuesday, Jan 19, 21 @ 11:19 pm:

    Process matters because that is what the law requires. If you don’t believe in the process, you don’t believe in the rule of law at all. Perhaps Pritzker should have just passed an edict on this as well.


  37. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Jan 19, 21 @ 11:53 pm:

    ===Process matters because that is what the law requires===

    LOL

    So, you’re saying they broke laws? Isn’t it bedtime yet?


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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