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JG-B pledges “thoughtful” review of Bennet’s SAFE-T Act trailer bill as Downstate state’s attorney urges calm

Wednesday, Sep 28, 2022 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Background is here if you need it. Deputy House Majority Leader Jehan Gordon-Booth responds to Sen. Scott Bennett’s proposed SAFE-T Act changes…

State Rep. Jehan Gordon-Booth, leader of the House Public Safety Working Group, released the following statement Wednesday:

“Since the SAFE-T Act was passed in January 2021, legislators have worked with stakeholders from across the state to address sincere concerns and facilitate the law’s successful implementation. These conversations have been invaluable, and as a result the House has passed three trailer bills refining and improving the law. That work continues. The Public Safety Working Group is meeting regularly, both internally and with state’s attorneys, law enforcement, survivors, advocates, and others to discuss further refinements and improvements.

“We will review Senate Bill 4228 through the same process of thoughtful consideration within our working group to ensure all voices are being considered. This is the same process that delivered $200 million to address public safety across Illinois, and developed bipartisan measures to give police high-tech tools they need to solve carjackings, home burglaries, and violent crimes against people, and crack down on ’smash and grab’ retail crime rings. We believe in the transformative and holistic changes to our criminal justice system included in the SAFE-T Act, and we also recognize we can continue to improve upon that progress through thoughtful, honest, and collaborative dialogue.”

* Meanwhile, here’s Sanford J Schmidt at the Edwardsville Intelligencer

Jersey County State’s Attorney Ben Goetten is urging calm in the midst of a storm of controversy over the Jan 1, 2023, effective date for the SAFE-T Act, a criminal justice reform bill approved by the Illinois General Assembly in 2021.

“There is no reason to panic,” Goetten said Tuesday, adding he and state legislators are working to fine tune the legislation before it goes into effect.

Goetten’s statement come a week after he announced his office had filed suit challenging the constitutionality of the SAFE-T Act, short for Safety, Accountability, Fairness and Equity-Today. […]

Goetten said critics of the SAFE-T Act should remember the key legal principle: that defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. People in custody awaiting trial are presumed innocent, he said.

* More…

* Pretrial Implementation Task Force to Host Town Hall Meeting on Septmeber 29: Safe-T Act’s No-Cash Bail Implementation to be Discussed

* Democratic Illinois senator proposes changes to SAFE-T Act: Bennett believes that he has the votes to get this language, or at least something close to it, through the Senate during veto sessions this November. He does not know if it would pass the House.

* State Senator Proposes Changes to Illinois’ SAFE-T Act Amid ‘Purge’ Rumors: But Sen. Elgie R. Sims, Jr., who sponsored the bill, said “the entirety of the SAFE-T Act says if you are a threat to public safety or you are a flight risk, you are going to be held.” He noted the law replaces the current cash bail policies with a system that “focuses on safety, not how much money a person has in their bank account.”

* Joyce backs measure to update SAFE-T Act, support law enforcement: “With all the confusion surrounding the SAFE-T Act, it’s important that we make things as clear as possible,” said Joyce. “It is my hope that by clarifying items brought to me by my local State’s Attorneys and police, we will give law enforcement and the courts the tools they feel they need to keep people safe.”

* Vermilion County State’s attorney suing Gov. Pritzker over SAFE-T-Act: Lacy says the bill is poorly drafted and it contains ill-conceived directives in an effort to systematically dismantle law enforcement

* Champaign state senator proposes clarifications to SAFE-T Act: “We have to look at this bill like we would any other major bill, bring stakeholders to the table and make it better,” Bennett said. “I recognize this is a bill that’s going to need to be negotiated, it’s going to need to be discussed with our colleagues.”

* Safe-T Act To Be Discussed At Chamber630 Event In Naperville: The Oct. 4 panel discussion, facilitated by Stefanie Hood, will feature, among others: DuPage County State’s Attorney Robert Berlin; Supreme Court Justice Michael J. Burke; DuPage County Chairman Greg Hart; DuPage County Sheriff James Mendrick

* Danville Chief Yates Says Police Department & State’s Attorney’s Office are United on Victims’ Rights: Chief Yates explained during the meeting the difficulties of law enforcement needing to plead their case each and every time they want to keep a dangerous person off the streets, and how it could cause petty criminals to simply not be arrested due to the backlog of cases, Chief Yates says there are challenges to this, and at this point, no one has any definite answers.

* Gov. JB Pritzker earns endorsements from anti-gun violence PACs, faces more pushback on SAFE-T Act: “I take seriously all of [Sen. Bennett’s] proposals, but we’ll have to go through one by one to figure out what works,” Pritzker said. Bailey said the Safe-T Act should be repealed, and lawmakers should start over from scratch. On Tuesday, he fired back at Pritzker. “He’s in trouble with his campaign right now and he knows it, so he’s backing up saying ‘hey, maybe we need to relook at this now,’” said State Sen. Darren Bailey, the Republican nominee for governor. The Illinois Network for Pretrial Justice, a coalition of 42 organizations that helped shaped the original Pretrial Fairness Act, which is a part of the Safe-T Act, is already lining up to oppose changes.

* Pritzker in Aurora advocates for gun reform as Bailey warns about Safe-T Act: Under Pritzker, [Bailey said] “mental health is a disaster, our schools are a disaster, he has nothing to show for it. That’s what the press should be talking about, but they’re not. They’re continuing on the craziness of Republicans running for office.”

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14 Comments
  1. - vern - Wednesday, Sep 28, 22 @ 10:45 am:

    Jersey County is politically fascinating. Biden got 28% of the vote but 5 out of 8 countywide electeds are Democrats, including this very reasonable-sounding States Attorney. It’s like they’re 50 years behind on the national post-civil rights realignment. Ticket splitting is alive and well in this corner of Southern Illinois.


  2. - Norseman - Wednesday, Sep 28, 22 @ 10:56 am:

    === … Ben Goetten is urging calm in the midst of a storm of controversy …

    … Goetten’s statement come a week after he announced his office had filed suit challenging the constitutionality of the SAFE-T Act … ===

    One of these two statements is inconsistent with the other. Kinda makes you question his credibility.


  3. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Sep 28, 22 @ 10:57 am:

    Yeah.

    This was inevitable.

    These 100 of 102 state’s attorneys are now so far ahead of this… now folks are gonna hold *them* accountable if crime rises and they aren’t doing *their* jobs

    Ya stir it up until it’s put back on the folks doing the stirring.

    Nothing like a downstate county now in fear of things they never feared before, but folks are being “warned”

    Reminds me of the fear ANTIFA was coming to towns of 800, 900 residents…


  4. - don the legend - Wednesday, Sep 28, 22 @ 11:29 am:

    ==They’re continuing on the craziness of Republicans running for office.”==

    This might be the last line of this post but it is the best.


  5. - G'Kar - Wednesday, Sep 28, 22 @ 11:41 am:

    ==They’re continuing on the craziness of Republicans running for office.==

    As the old saying goes, if the shoe fits . . .


  6. - Dr. M - Wednesday, Sep 28, 22 @ 11:56 am:

    Bennett’s proposed changes seem like low hanging fruit, but I doubt they will fly.

    They address items in the act that are getting the most criticism: 1) that judges need to have evidence someone is a flight/no-show risk to detain them, but skipping court in the past doesn’t count as such, and 2) that a person must pose more than an “abstract” threat to the community as cause for pre-trial detention (i.e. they must be proven to be a threat to a particular person).

    There are reasons the enacted bill didn’t contain these provisions in the first place. The more caveats you add, i.e. reasons to detain people, the less of a dent it makes in the jail population awaiting trial and the less this policy reduces the racial and economic disparities it purports to address. For instance, there are likely economic and racial differences in who is more likely to have missed a previous court date. If this criteria can be used to detain someone then it perpetuates current racial and economic disparities in the pre-trial jail population.


  7. - Watching - Wednesday, Sep 28, 22 @ 12:04 pm:

    These negotiation meetings begin with a reminder from key Dem Legislators that there will not be any changes to the ’spirit’ of the law. That’s code for we will make small changes around the edges but nothing of substance. It’s all show. And the public will be worse off for it.


  8. - Demoralized - Wednesday, Sep 28, 22 @ 12:13 pm:

    ==And the public will be worse off for it.==

    How in the world can you possibly know that yet?


  9. - SweetLou86 - Wednesday, Sep 28, 22 @ 12:23 pm:

    So the states attorneys needlessly whip their constituents into a frenzy by claiming murders would be released into their communities and now say “there’s no need to panic”? Which is it?


  10. - Not a Superstar - Wednesday, Sep 28, 22 @ 12:47 pm:

    == They’re continuing on the craziness of Republicans running for office.” ==

    Mr. Bailey, as is often said on this site, “get your own blog.”


  11. - JB13 - Wednesday, Sep 28, 22 @ 1:37 pm:

    – the entirety of the SAFE-T Act says if you are a threat to public safety or you are a flight risk, you are going to be held –

    That is misinformation. Easily the biggest sleight of hand supporters of the law pull on this.

    To be held, someone must be deemed a threat to a “specific, identifiable person” *not* just a “threat to public safety.”

    That aspect of the law *must* be changed


  12. - btowntruthfromforgottonia - Wednesday, Sep 28, 22 @ 1:49 pm:

    “folks are gonna hold *them* accountable’
    Oswego Willy:
    In my part of Forgottonia that more than likely will not happen.
    They will blame Pritker because more people than you might think have convinced themselves that “Chicago” and “Chicago” alone is responsible for anything they think is wrong with Illinois.

    And especially if the States Attorney is a Republican….. my guess is it will be “the SA can’t do anything because Pritzker/Chicago/Democrats.”


  13. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Sep 28, 22 @ 2:03 pm:

    ===In my part of Forgottonia that more than likely will not happen.===

    They just coverin’ bases…. :)

    You’re far more right to a reality, but the politics all but demands this phony “we need to slow down” with the worry.


  14. - Making DuPage Blue - Wednesday, Sep 28, 22 @ 2:25 pm:

    Can I just remind you that Greg Hart is NOT the current chair in DuPage. His team and party seem to like to forget that simple word ‘for’.


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