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Roundup: The SAFE-T Act takes effect

Monday, Sep 18, 2023 - Posted by Isabel Miller


Court officials across the Chicago area say they’ll be ready when Illinois becomes the first state in the nation to eliminate cash bail on Monday, but that doesn’t mean some are any less concerned about a law they once decried as a threat to public safety. […]

The Pretrial Fairness Act lists crimes eligible for detention, from violent felonies and gun cases to sexual assaults and domestic attacks. It also allows someone to be detained if they are a flight risk.

But it will largely be up to prosecutors to decide when to actually seek detention, and then they will have to prove their case before a judge within 24 to 48 hours.

Researchers at Loyola University estimate roughly 37% of all arrests in Illinois – about 70,000 people — are at least potentially eligible for detention. They estimate as few as 15,500 could actually be detained.


Under the new law, people who are charged with the state’s lowest level offenses will likely never set foot in a jail cell, including at a police station after their arrest.

People charged with an offense lower than a Class A misdemeanor — littering, some speeding charges and possession of marijuana over the legal limit — will likely be released with a citation and a court date without having to be processed at a police station.

In these cases, people usually face no more than six months in prison if convicted and often are released on probation without any incarceration.

However, law enforcement agencies will still be given discretion in certain cases. For example, if a person continues to commit the offense after being cited, they can be taken into custody and held until they appear before a judge, which must occur within 24 hours.

* Tribune

In addition to eliminating money as a factor for release, the Pretrial Fairness Act is also intended to level the playing field and offer defendants more time to make a case against pretrial detention or excessive supervision orders.

Under the new system, there will be an “initial appearance” court call, where defendants will mostly be released with conditions, such as regular check-ins with authorities, as well as a court call for detention hearings made up of the more serious cases in which prosecutors seek to keep defendants incarcerated while they await trial.

Those hearings will be longer, with defense attorneys able to call witnesses to speak on behalf of the arrestee.

“We’re expecting them to be a little more in depth than the current 60-second bond hearing,” said Takenya Nixon, an attorney supervisor for the Cook County public defender’s office. “It’s … no longer one-sided.”

* More…

    * Capitol News Illinois | Disparately resourced public defenders prepare for the end of cash bail in Illinois: Some bigger counties are better prepared than others for the changes required by the PFA. Cook County, for example, is one of a few counties that has for years been moving toward limiting the use of cash bail. Additionally, the county’s criminal courthouse on Chicago’s near-south side has for years been holding bond court every day of the week – a practice shared by other larger county court systems in Illinois.

    * NBC Chicago | Illinois leaders update as state becomes 1st in nation to end cash bail: Judges will also be asked to determine whether the defendant poses a flight risk if released, according to the text of the bill. So-called “forcible felonies” include first and second-degree murder, predatory criminal sexual assault, robbery, burglary, residential burglary, aggravated arson, kidnapping, aggravated battery resulting in great bodily harm, or any other felony that involves the use or threat of physical violence. Hate crimes, attempts of crimes that are detainable, animal torture and DUI causing great bodily harm were added to the list in a subsequent amendment to the legislation.

    * WAND | No cash bail law goes into effect in Illinois: If the judge makes any of those determinations, then the defendant may be held in jail before going to trial. Detention hearings would not be mandatory for crimes that include probation as a possible punishment, but judges can still make the determination to keep those defendants incarcerated pending trial if they determine they are a risk to the public.

    * ABC Chicago | Illinois becomes 1st state to abolish cash bail as Pre-Trial Fairness Act takes effect: The Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Assault supported the end to cash bail, saying judges will now take more careful consideration of the risk posed by defendants. “Our now former system, which I’m very excited to say, didn’t make survivors safe,” Madeleine Behr with the Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Assault said. “People could get out of jail simply because they had the money to pay.”

    * NPR | SAFE-T Act ushers in requirements regarding victims’ rights; Winnebago County State’s attorney already adapting to the changes:[Winnebago County State’s Attorney J. Hanley] said for the last six months, they’ve prioritized staffing to reach out to victims earlier. […] Prior to this, his office was averaging about a week to a month before they made contact.

    * WGEM | Adams County prosecutors, deputies talk about the official end of cash bail: “I think the law could have been written in a way that was much clearer and much easier to implement, but we’re beyond that point now,” said Adams County Assistant State’s Attorney Josh Jones. Jones made it clear, that come Monday, the Adams County Sheriff’s Office isn’t releasing any one from the jail because of the new law. Instead, it will change the procedure by which someone is arrested or not and if they will remain in jail.

    * Shaw Local | Will County prepares for cashless bail that goes into effect Monday: The most important issue for defense attorneys Monday will be filing petitions to get their clients a detention hearing as soon as possible, said Jeff Tomczak, a prominent defense attorney who was the Will County state’s attorney in the early 2000s. […] “It’s going to be a big rush, real early on,” Tomczak said. “I don’t envy the chief judge or the presiding judge of the felony division.”

    * Cook County Public Defender | Cook County Public Defender Celebrates the End of Money Bond in Illinois, Pledges Vigilance on Implementation: “With one chapter closing, a second one begins,”[Cook County Public Defender Sharone R. Mitchell] said. “Though the eradication of money bond and the confusing and conflicting processes that allowed for rampant unjustified incarceration will now end, the calls for backsliding will begin. The second chapter will include ensuring PFA is more than words on paper on a page, that they are actualized.”

    * Amanda Pyron | Court actors must implement SAFE-T Act for crime survivors: When our elected officials and law enforcement perpetuate misinformation about the law, they put survivors at risk by misstating their rights under this new system. Survivors deserve to know how exactly their county state’s attorney and local law enforcement will enforce the new law, and ensure it upholds public safety for all people. It is imperative we set aside political differences and implement the law correctly so all survivors across Illinois can get the rights and opportunities afforded to them under the SAFE-T Act.

    * Daily Herald | Moving beyond bail: How suburban court officials have prepared for dramatic change: Third District Presiding Judge Jill Cerone Marisie anticipates it will be business as usual on Monday at the Rolling Meadows courthouse. Preparation for cashless bail began 18 months ago. For the last six months, courthouse personnel have participated in weekly and biweekly meetings as well as in-house training. That training culminated in a procedural run-through last week with about 100 judges, prosecutors, assistant public defenders, pretrial services division representatives and officers from 20 police departments.

    * CBS Chicago | Illinois becomes first state to end cash bail: Opponents of the law have said judges need more discretion than currently allowed to decide whether a defendant should remain in jail. Special Assistant State’s Attorney Alan Spellberg, representing Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow, argued that the pretrial release provisions of the SAFE-T Act “unduly interfere with the judiciary’s authority to set bail.”However, the Illinois Supreme Court ruled that “the legislature has long regulated the bail system.”

    * Block Club Chicago | Illinois Is Officially Done With Cash Bail As Pretrial Fairness Act Begins: “Cash bail does not make communities safer, and it never has; it has simply exacerbated existing inequities and disparities in the criminal legal system,” Mayor Brandon Johnson said in a statement over the summer. “Pretrial detention, as a result of the inability to pay bail, further decimates communities that have long been most impacted by mass incarceration, and the destabilization of households and families.


  1. - TheInvisibleMan - Monday, Sep 18, 23 @ 12:27 pm:

    It is also a complete failure of local journalism how Jim Glasgow has been allowed to just walk away from his fear-mongering over the past year, including his highly visible lawsuit claiming this was unconstitutional failing due to his failure to understand how the law works. That should be much more of a concern when it involves someone who has the literal job of enforcing the law.

    Now he’s just throwing his ASA’s out under the bus in public(That linked CBS story near the end) to keep beating on that dead horse, because even he realizes it would be foolish to keep putting his face on his own nonsense claims.

    Today, Glasgow is busy trying to convince the Joliet City council to get rid of the inspector general on a vote tomorrow, who in an unrelated investigation ended up catching Glasgows cell phone number and communications in an investigation involving filing false police reports against public officials.

  2. - PublicServant - Monday, Sep 18, 23 @ 12:35 pm:

    The sky is falling… /s

  3. - Grandson of Man - Monday, Sep 18, 23 @ 12:48 pm:

    Checking in on the GOP, is it okay? On this first day of the SAFE-T act. Selective fear and outrage knob goes up to eleven (h/t Spinal Tap). This and migrants. The ads to expect next year, holy blaring bullhorn “dog whistles,” Batman.

  4. - James - Monday, Sep 18, 23 @ 1:24 pm:

    I hope Democrats are prepared for the effects of this, 2 - 4 years from now. There will be a parade of horrible happen, and it will all be very easy to campaign on.

  5. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Sep 18, 23 @ 1:35 pm:

    ===for the effects of this, 2 - 4 years from now===

    Don’t waste your superpowers of seeing in the future on the Safe-T Act… get them lottery numbers, bud.

    ===There will be a parade of horrible happen, and it will all be very easy to campaign on.===

    Nah. “Why?”

    Abortion > Crime… with actual campaign results to back it… cheering for more crime to win elections is one creepy and sad political statement for yourself

  6. - supplied_demand - Monday, Sep 18, 23 @ 1:50 pm:

    ==There will be a parade of horrible happen, and it will all be very easy to campaign on. ==

    Let’s assume, for a second, that it doesn’t end that way. Will you admit you are wrong? Will you vote for the Democrats who implemented it?

  7. - AlfondoGonz - Monday, Sep 18, 23 @ 2:01 pm:

    I’m currently in detention court. The effects of this on the community, I think, will be much less than folks think.

    The giant pain in the backside it will be for the SAO and law enforcement, however, is substantial. And I think enough that some of my fellow dems should can the sarcasm.

  8. - H-W - Monday, Sep 18, 23 @ 2:26 pm:

    Re: NPR Story on Winnebago County States Attorney

    =“We have someone who comes in every morning [and] looks at the arrest sheets and makes attempts to call the victims first thing in the morning.” Prior to this, his office was averaging about a week to a month before they made contact.

    So in the past, they didn’t prioritize contacting victims before prosecuting a case but now they do.

    Seems like a win to me.

  9. - TheInvisibleMan - Monday, Sep 18, 23 @ 2:28 pm:

    “The giant pain in the backside it will be for the SAO and law enforcement, however, is substantial.”

    I do not consider ‘actually having to do your job’ instead of ‘not doing your job, but still taking credit for anything good’ to be a giant pain in the backside.

    The people you mentioned signed up for the explicit purpose of enforcing the law in the executive branch of government, whatever that law may be.

    If they instead want jobs to create laws… they can run for a seat in the legislative branch of government and get out of the job you now claim will be a ‘big pain in the backside’ for them - despite being the job the applied to do.

    There is zero sarcasm needing to be canned.

  10. - Amalia - Monday, Sep 18, 23 @ 2:42 pm:

    having so much fun (not funny) reading the complaints of those who fought for this new system but now are afraid there will be more ankle monitoring awardees.

  11. - illinifan - Monday, Sep 18, 23 @ 2:52 pm:

    Like anything new it will take time for the courts and SOA to adapt to the new process. Basically you can’t do something new, thinking old methods will work.

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