Capitol - Your Illinois News Radar » Pritzker responds to state’s attorney who warned of “greatest jailbreak” in history because of SAFE-T Act
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Pritzker responds to state’s attorney who warned of “greatest jailbreak” in history because of SAFE-T Act

Friday, Sep 23, 2022 - Posted by Rich Miller

* 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have the opportunity to defend themselves in court – is contrary to the foundation of our justice system and based on outdated research that has been debunked.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.

...Adding… Today

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.

Emphasis added.


  1. - MisterJayEm - Friday, Sep 23, 22 @ 3:06 pm:

    “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.”

    JB has a very good team.

    – MrJM

  2. - There we go again - Friday, Sep 23, 22 @ 3:11 pm:

    That’s a very good letter from the Governor and - I would add - It’s difficult being lectured about crime from the MAGA Party that won’t speak out against the January 6 domestic terrorism that injured more than 100 police officers.

  3. - Bruce( no not him) - Friday, Sep 23, 22 @ 3:19 pm:

    Now get Mark Maxwell to interview him on KSDK to refute the original interview.

  4. - H-W - Friday, Sep 23, 22 @ 3:39 pm:

    Nice clarifying, Governor.

  5. - Jibba - Friday, Sep 23, 22 @ 3:39 pm:

    I’m sorry that Madison County will have to do the hard work of figuring out which of their inmates are dangerous to the public and which are just poor.

  6. - Cubs in '16 - Friday, Sep 23, 22 @ 3:40 pm:

    This is how adults respond to rhetoric. It’s factual and articulately presents specific examples of why Haine is wrong without name-calling. Compare to Proft’s hissy fit in an earlier post regarding being dropped by the DH.

  7. - Walker - Friday, Sep 23, 22 @ 3:48 pm:

    JB gets to the point: States Attorneys need to step up and help make it all work. The challenges are operational, not in the law itself.

  8. - Give Us Barabbas - Friday, Sep 23, 22 @ 3:49 pm:

    Restaurant quality. But why didn’t Maxwell ask this at the interview and push it?

  9. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Sep 23, 22 @ 3:52 pm:

    JB calling out of state’s attorneys are able to first understand their jobs and if state’s attorneys understand the Act.

    As far as letters go, it’s a takedown, but with such subtle panache… it’s fine work.

  10. - Skokie Man - Friday, Sep 23, 22 @ 3:55 pm:

    More like this. That said…

    “subtle panache”

    Subtle like a sledgehammer.

  11. - Pundent - Friday, Sep 23, 22 @ 3:57 pm:

    At the root of all of this is a justice system that sees no need for change. It favors those that have financial resources while punishing those that don’t. It’s not about the crime that was committed but who committed it.

  12. - jmj - Friday, Sep 23, 22 @ 4:03 pm:


  13. - Sox Fan - Friday, Sep 23, 22 @ 4:06 pm:

    Only mistake I see is that all of this wasn’t articulated a lot sooner

  14. - Juvenal - Friday, Sep 23, 22 @ 4:06 pm:

    Haine admits that taxpayers are footing the bill to keep someone in jail for “failure to register as a sex offender” and thinks that’s a win?

    Did the person actually commit a sex crime? If not, why not just register them and send them home until their court date?

    How many people who have actually committed sex crimes has Tom Haine let out on bail?

  15. - Chicagonk - Friday, Sep 23, 22 @ 4:07 pm:

    Embarrassing response by Pritzker.

  16. - ste_with a v_en - Friday, Sep 23, 22 @ 4:11 pm:

    Just in time for Joe Rogan to tell his millions of listens the same misinformation.

  17. - New Day - Friday, Sep 23, 22 @ 4:14 pm:

    “Embarrassing response by Pritzker.”

    Because it’s true…???

  18. - MisterJayEm - Friday, Sep 23, 22 @ 4:47 pm:

    “Embarrassing response by Pritzker.”

    Embarrassing to Thomas Haine, perhaps.

    If he has sense enough to feel embarrassment.

    – MrJM

  19. - Pot calling kettle - Friday, Sep 23, 22 @ 4:47 pm:

    === Bail was set at $150,000.===

    Sounds like a lot, but as I understand bail, the defendant can be released if he can provide a 10% cash bond ($15,000) or put up property worth $150k. I apologize if I’m incorrect.

  20. - JoanP - Friday, Sep 23, 22 @ 5:01 pm:

    @ Pot calling kettle -

    You are partially correct. He’ll need $15,000, or unencumbered property valued at $300,000.

    Property bonds are pretty rare. I have often had to talk a defendant’s relative out of posting one. The reality is that if you have the equity to post a property bond for your wayward kid, you will also be able to get a loan for the 10% cash bond, and won’t risk losing your home if he absconds.

  21. - Lt Guv - Friday, Sep 23, 22 @ 5:15 pm:

    Chicagonk, it’s time to change meds.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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