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The victim restitution issue and the upcoming changes

Monday, Oct 24, 2022 - Posted by Rich Miller

* DuPage County State’s Attorney Bob Berlin was on the Jeanne Ives SAFE-T Act panel the other day and said this

One final part about the law, what happens when you dry up cash bail, is that right now, when defendants post bond and they’re found guilty, when restitution is ordered to victims, that money comes out of bond money, and victims of crime will not receive that restitution out of bond money.

According to the Civic Federation, DuPage County collected $5.7 million in bond payments last year, and paid out just a tiny fraction of that, $195,652, for victim restitution, almost equal to the local state’s attorney’s salary that year.

Indeed, comparing state’s attorney salaries to county victim restitution payments is quite eye-opening.

According to the Civic Federation, a total of $83 million was collected in bond payments in 95 counties last year (Cook and some smaller counties were not included in the data), and $2.6 million of that went to restitution. That same year, those same counties’ 95 state’s attorneys were paid a grand total of $14 million in salaries (not including pensions and other benefits).

* I reached out to the governor’s office to ask about state funding for victims’ assistance and was told the Fiscal Year 2023 budget puts $10.5 million new GRF in the Attorney General’s budget for awards and grants under the Violent Crime Victims Assistance Act, on top of the existing $5.5 million appropriation. Plus, the AG received a new $7 million GRF appropriation for the Crime Victims Service Division. Plus the GRF appropriation for the Court of Claims’ Crime Victims Compensation Act went from $6 million to $7 million. The Court of Claims also gets federal money. There’s also new state funding for the Violent Crime Witness Protection program.

* And there’s another side of the money issue from Sen. Elgie Sims, a SAFE-T Act sponsor

Sims said the opposition’s misinformation campaign against the ACT is nothing more than a “red herring that is there to distract you from the real issue. The real issue is that over the last five years, not my numbers, $700 million has gone into the cash bail system. Imagine what could happen in the communities” with that kind of money.

* Meanwhile, from the Aurora Beacon-News

Kane County State’s Attorney Jamie Mosser has spent the last two weeks working with other state’s attorneys, law enforcement officials and legislators to make changes to the SAFE-T Act before its introduction Jan. 1, 2023.

Mosser, Champaign County State’s Attorney Julia Rietz, Peoria County State’s Attorney Jodi Hoos and DuPage County State’s Attorney Bob Berlin have met twice a week over Zoom with legislators and advocates for the SAFE-T Act, the Illinois Sheriffs Association, the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police and the Illinois Fraternal Order of Police for negotiations over changes to the act. […]

Mosser said she worries about how under the new law, defendants in serious crimes would not be detained. For instance, someone involved in a motor vehicle accident that results in death who fled the scene or someone who threatened a school would not be able to be detained, she said.

“I think this was all unintended and when you have a year and a half to pick apart the legislation, you find these things,” Mosser said.

* House Speaker Chris Welch was also asked about the talks

We have the fall veto session coming up here in mid-November. Are you anticipating a follow-up measure related to the SAFE-T Act?

We do have a public safety working group that’s been meeting on this continuously since the end of session. I do understand that they are having some very productive conversations. And if that group has a recommendation for us, we will be prepared to put it on the board and call it (for a vote). It’s likely that they will have a recommendation for us, because we’ve already had three trailer acts to the SAFE-T Act pass. And they’ve committed to continuing to do the work. And a fourth trailer bill would only be keeping with that commitment.

What are your priorities in a follow-up bill?

I don’t have any priorities. My priority is to listen to my caucus. And the caucus is doing the work. They’ve been meeting since the end of session. Our public safety working group is very diverse and geographically diverse, ethnically diverse, genderly diverse. And they’ve been doing the work, meeting with the advocates. They’re going to have a recommendation for me, as the leader of the caucus. I’ll put it before the entire caucus, we’ll vet it, and likely put it on the board, because it’s gone through our process. But it would be premature for me to get ahead of a group that’s been doing that kind of work, with talk about what my agenda would be. I haven’t met with any of these advocacy groups. They’ve been doing work, and the proper respect would be to allow them to continue to do that work.

* More…

    * How will eliminating bail affect counties’ finances?: “The first use of bail bond money that comes into the county is for victim restitution and that’s where you’re trying to make those victims whole,” said Hawthorn Woods state Sen. Dan McConchie, the chamber’s Republican leader. “They’re not sure how they’ll handle victim restitution going forward.”

    * Lake County sheriff candidates debate SAFE-T Act merits, myths: Idleburg said he’s told people on the campaign trail that when a resident reports someone is trespassing on their property a deputy will come out and tell the person they need to leave and will be able to arrest the person if they determine it is necessary. “(If) you said that this person is a threat to you and your family that individual will be detained and they will be escorted off the property,” Idleburg said. But in a separate interview with the Daily Herald Editorial Board, challenger Mark Vice, a Round Lake Republican, cited that same debunked claim as one reason he’s 100% against the law. Vice is a 16-year veteran of the sheriff’s office.

    * Coverage roundup…

    * McHenry County Board votes to oppose the SAFE-T Act , which eliminates cash bail in Illinois

    * SAFE-T Act concerns or making political hay? McHenry County Board sends resolutions opposing act on party-line vote to Springfield: All seven Democrats present voted against the resolution for the SAFE-T Act, while all but County Board member Kelli Wegener, D-Crystal Lake, voted against the resolution opposing House Bill 3447. Wegener abstained, and on Wednesday said she did so because she felt more information was needed before a full vote could take place. Wegener in a statement Wednesday said the resolutions were brought forth “to create a political issue just before the elections.”

    * Halpin, Thoms go head-to-head on SAFE-T Act & inflation policy: “It does end the cash bail system, and gets the system back to a threat-based system as opposed to how much money you have in your wallet,” Halpin said. “No cash bail puts a financial burden on the counties,” Thoms said. “Now that could end up increasing property taxes. We’re starting to give the criminals more rights than the victims.”

    * Video: Pastor Corey B. Brooks: Dems Are DESTROYING Our Communities By Siding With CRIMINALS, Not Victims

    * Illinois Attorney General candidate Thomas DeVore visits Sycamore to discuss SAFE-T Act: Evans also said she’s concerned by recent gun violence on DeKalb’s north side, especially as it pertains to DeKalb County youth. “That’s why I’m getting involved in politics and even getting involved in the school board because I also know what they kids are being taught in school,” Evans said. “I just see a lot of damage being done to society. And I believe that the SAFE-T Act is going to only make things worse for our communities, make them unsafe, and probably get a lot of people killed.”

       

23 Comments
  1. - Google Is Your Friend - Monday, Oct 24, 22 @ 1:28 pm:

    People treat Bob Berlin as some kind of honest broker, but he’s far from it.


  2. - charles in charge - Monday, Oct 24, 22 @ 1:32 pm:

    Why on earth should someone who’s supposed to be presumed innocent ever have to pay money up front for the restitution that they might be ordered to pay in the event that they are eventually found guilty?


  3. - Amalia - Monday, Oct 24, 22 @ 1:49 pm:

    to be fair, salaries for County Public Defenders should also be listed.


  4. - Amalia - Monday, Oct 24, 22 @ 1:53 pm:

    old list for Cook County but probably similar $ now. what is extra pay? also, the public defender’s office is unionized, SAs not allowed to do that. https://salary.bettergov.org/department/cook-county-public-defender-2dc8bf06/


  5. - Rich Miller - Monday, Oct 24, 22 @ 1:54 pm:

    ===to be fair===

    Public defenders aren’t making an issue out of the money aspect. Prosecutors are.


  6. - Betty Draper’s cigarette - Monday, Oct 24, 22 @ 1:56 pm:

    ====a total of $83 million was collected in bond payments in 95 counties last year (Cook and some smaller counties were not included in the data), and $2.6 million of that went to restitution.===
    Oh good. So they should have some money left over to use in the future.


  7. - City Guy - Monday, Oct 24, 22 @ 2:12 pm:

    There is the old saying of follow the money. I found a good article from Center for American Progress. A few highlights: US and the Philippines are the only two countries that have a commercial bail bond system. In the U.S. it brings in over $2Billion in profit to a handful of insurance companies. Even if a person is innocent and charges dropped the bail bond company keeps their percentage.

    It never impacted me, so I will admit I never paid it much attention. But the more I know, the more I want it to end.

    I also would be interested in knowing if the insurance companies and bail bond companies are donating to political campaigns, running dark money campaigns and fueling the myths about ending cash bail.


  8. - Count Floyd - Monday, Oct 24, 22 @ 2:23 pm:

    City Guy- there are no bail bond companies in Illinois. In the cash bail system here an accused has to post 10% of the bail amount to be released pending trial.


  9. - Rich Miller - Monday, Oct 24, 22 @ 2:30 pm:

    ===the insurance companies and bail bond companies====

    We don’t have that system here.


  10. - frustrated GOP - Monday, Oct 24, 22 @ 2:50 pm:

    How many people are held in jails who can’t make bond? How much will this reduce need for Sherrif deputies at the jail because their population will drop and how many more of those officers will be back on the street? This is a huge issue, or it’s not. If all the poor people who can’t make bail leave after arraignment, and all the police are worried about them, there should be a lot of police sheriff deputies open for redeployment.


  11. - Anonymous 103 - Monday, Oct 24, 22 @ 3:25 pm:

    Restitution is ordered by the court. It is not ordered in every case, it is at the discretion of the judge, and can be fulfilled by non-monetary means. Looking at what is paid to restitution as a percentage of all bond payments is not representative. The bond that is held in convictions is applied to court costs, state programs and other places. That is the money that will be going away. Regardless of how you feel about it being used in the first place, those are funds that will not be available to fund the court system and other programs on 1/1/23.


  12. - Rich Miller - Monday, Oct 24, 22 @ 3:30 pm:

    ===Looking at what is paid to restitution===

    He brought it up, not me.


  13. - Not Your Gramma - Monday, Oct 24, 22 @ 3:39 pm:

    Will County: Republicans on county board suggested in committee a resolution asking to delay implementation by 6 months. At full board they changed their mind and offered an amendment to the resolution to support complete repeal. Their amendment failed and the original resolution - to delay - was removed from the agenda entirely.


  14. - Holding Back - Monday, Oct 24, 22 @ 3:46 pm:

    As a person that reconciles cash bond payments, there will be a dramatic effect on the court finances to run the system. There will need to be a solution for this loss in funding.


  15. - The Velvet Frog - Monday, Oct 24, 22 @ 3:48 pm:

    Won’t costs be decreased as well?


  16. - DuPage - Monday, Oct 24, 22 @ 3:57 pm:

    One side says this law will keep fewer people in jail awaiting jail.
    The other side says this law will keep more people in jail awaiting trial.
    This does need clarification.


  17. - TheInvisibleMan - Monday, Oct 24, 22 @ 3:58 pm:

    –salaries for County Public Defenders should also be listed.–

    Bail money isn’t used to pay public defenders. The legal presumption under current Illinois law is that if you can pay bail, you can afford a private attorney.

    Bail DOES get used to pay private attorneys though, but only at the request of the defendant.


  18. - DuPage - Monday, Oct 24, 22 @ 4:00 pm:

    (Correction) Fewer people in jail awaiting TRIAL. (Not jail).


  19. - here we go - Monday, Oct 24, 22 @ 4:21 pm:

    All of the public misinformation and confusion among county state’s attorneys begs the question - why hasn’t the Illinois Attorney General held public meetings to clarify fact vs fiction for all 102 state’s attorneys?


  20. - BCOSEC - Monday, Oct 24, 22 @ 4:44 pm:

    Don’t know that the AG could improve upon the work of the Implementation Task Force.

    Go read the Task Force’s flow charts, considerations and watch it’s Town Hall meetings, all easily found on the Illinois Supreme Court’s website.

    Issues interpreting the PFA were pointed out by the Task Force in a non-partisan manner over a year ago.


  21. - The Velvet Frog - Monday, Oct 24, 22 @ 4:50 pm:

    ==more people in jail awaiting trial==

    Who is saying that?


  22. - DuPage - Monday, Oct 24, 22 @ 6:37 pm:

    6:37 was me.


  23. - JoanP - Monday, Oct 24, 22 @ 8:28 pm:

    = We’re starting to give the criminals more rights than the victims. =

    I’m probably wasting my breath, but we are not talking about criminals. We are talking about pre-trial detainees.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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