* From Madison County State’s Attorney Thomas Haine’s open letter to constituents…
The greatest jailbreak in Madison County history will occur on January 1, 2023. On that date, approximately half of our present jail population must be released under the terms of the new SAFE-T Act, and cash bail will be eliminated throughout Illinois. That translates to well over 100 criminal defendants walking free in Madison County alone without paying a dime as they await trial for alleged crimes including aggravated DUI, aggravated battery, failure to register as a sex offender, burglary, and aggravated fleeing and eluding from a police officer.
* The governor responded today. Excerpt…
States Attorney Haine,
I was disappointed to read your letter and watch your television interview defending a criminal justice status quo where accused murderers, domestic batterers, rapists, and other dangerous criminals can buy their way out of jail pending trial if they have enough money.
Unfortunately, you made clear in the KDSK interview that your real concern is not about the serious offenses you falsely claim are non-detainable, but to ensure that low level defendants face punishment before they are found guilty. Your approach – seeking to deter possible future crimes by punishing individuals accused of less serious offenses before they have the opportunity to defend themselves in court – is contrary to the foundation of our justice system and based on outdated research that has been debunked.
You also scoff at the notion that the cash bail system contributes to a criminal justice system that disproportionately punishes Black and Brown citizens, saying to KDSK that “there is no truth to the idea that cash bail has a racially disparate impact.” Contrary to your claim, the bipartisan, independent US Commission on Civil Rights, established by Republican President Dwight D. Eisenhower, recently published a report casting light on “stark racial and gender disparities [in the administration of cash bail],” and noting higher pre-trial detention rates and financial conditions of release imposed on Black and Latinx individuals.
In your response to KDSK reporter Mark Maxwell, you admitted that you have seen instances where a defendant accused of a serious crime “[got out of jail], going on to intimidate a witness, going on to harm someone, going on to commit a repeat offense, while they’re out on bail that they paid.” Conversely, the aforementioned report by the bipartisan US Commission on Civil Rights found that 60% of defendants were in jail pre-trial simply because they couldn’t afford bail. That is the broken system that you are defending through fearmongering and unvarnished mistruths.
The SAFE-T Act ensures that those charged with domestic abuse, murder, rape, and other serious crimes cannot buy their way out of prison – as they can right now – because it bases detention on risk rather than wealth. That’s why domestic violence advocacy organizations support ending cash bail , including the Illinois Coalition Against Domestic Violence, who referred to it as reform that prioritizes the safety of survivors.
Furthermore, I was disheartened by your conclusion that you are powerless to keep dangerous people in prison beginning January 1. Your conclusion is not based on the law. Moreover, if your comments are intended to signal that you will refuse to take available steps to seek detention for individuals who present a danger to the community, that would be a dereliction of duty.
Your letter claims that certain offenses become non-detainable under the SAFE-T Act. But your reading of the law has been debunked by multiple non-partisan fact checkers, including the Associated Press, Snopes, and Politifact. Nevertheless, in the interest of justice and safety, I will explain the fallacy in your reading of the law, including your false assertion to Mark Maxwell that prosecutors will have to meet an “unbelievably high standard” to show that a defendant presents a risk of fleeing and must be detained. […]
I trust that your office will use all of the tools available under the law on January 1, and file motions to detain defendants you consider to be dangerous to the citizens of Madison County.
Governor JB Pritzker
Links and footnotes are in the full original document.
A Granite City man was indicted on firearm charges by Madison County officials on Thursday.
Detchauz Wray, 31, of Granite City, was indicted on charges of aggravated battery with a firearm, a Class X felony; aggravated discharge of a firearm, a Class 1 felony; and aggravated unlawful use of weapons, a Class 4 felony.
According to court documents, on Sept. 4 Wray fired a 9mm semi-automatic handgun, intentionally causing injury to another person.
Bail was set at $150,000.