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Sponsors, supporters push back on critics, tout SAFE-T Act benefits

Monday, Sep 18, 2023 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Jim Dey on the end of cash bail

That’s why this plan is a roll of the dice with potentially serious consequences. Hundreds of accused felons who would otherwise be in jail or tethered to a cash bond will be on their own.

Gov. Pritzker may be unconcerned about it. But he lives in the kind of crime-free neighborhood and is protected by the kind of personal security to which most people can only aspire.

It’s not an unfair hit on a billionaire governor who has 24/7 Illinois State Police protection. However, the legislators who sponsored the legislation and those who voted for the bill along with the advocates who fought for passage have no special law enforcement protections. And some of those folks spoke up today.

* Here’s one of the bill’s chief sponsors, Rep. Justin Slaughter, who lives on the city’s South Side

What we’re doing here is reworking our system, streamlining our system to address those higher level more violent, dangerous alleged offenses. But at the same time addressing the vicious cycle of poverty that’s had such a negative impact on communities of color. […]

I want to preempt some of the questions and first say please be patient as the state rolls this out. There is a transition period. … Let’s start to pay attention to what offenses are not in detention and which ones are. Keeping it kind of basic here, your lower level of nonviolent offenses are not going to be eligible for detention, but those higher level offenses will be, indeed, eligible for detention. We’re putting a lot in place for speedy trials and remote hearings. Start paying attention to that. Also one hallmark of this is building out a statewide, warm and robust statewide public defenders program. We’re going to be seeing more accurate, more robust hearings comes along with is having more public defenders and ultimately that will manifest into judges having more discretion to make these critical decisions.

* Sen. Robert Peters (D-Chicago)

This law is rooted in true community safety. And if folks do their job, They’ll set us up on to a path of fairness, safety and equity. We’ve done the Obamacare-like shenanigans in the court, have seen multiple elections both local and state, and right wingers have engaged in literal misinformation, fake newspapers, literal fake newspapers. I ask that they set aside their politics and their old ways, and join us in giving their constituents a better life. To quote FDR, there’s nothing to fear but fear itself. And those who peddle fear are only going to make matters worse. I repeat, the agents of fear who don’t do their jobs are going to make their communities less safe.

* During a separate press conference today by proponents, Greg Bishop asked about concerns expressed by the Sangamon County sheriff that jail populations will actually increase (the opposite of The Purge) because people will skip out due to no cash bail. Benjamin Ruddell of the ACLU responded

There’s no reputable research that shows that requiring people to pay money bond is actually an effective way of getting people to come back to court. People come back to court because of the incentives that exist, that you know they can have a warrant for their arrest, they can be brought to jail if they don’t come to court. And what other jurisdictions that have have lessened the use of money bond have demonstrated is that sending somebody a court reminder via text or a phone call is a much more effective way of getting people to come back to court than charging money bond, which has not been shown to increase court appearance. So all the research as well as the experience of states that have begun to phase out money bond suggests that rates of court appearance won’t go down as a result of this law. So we don’t think that the fear is well-founded, that jail populations will increase because of an increase of people failing to appear in court.

Please pardon all transcription errors.

       

11 Comments
  1. - Candy Dogood - Monday, Sep 18, 23 @ 11:49 am:

    ===That’s why this plan is a roll of the dice with potentially serious consequences.===

    What’s the philosophy behind this statement? That rich people and people with connections don’t break the law or that they don’t re-offend after they get arrested?

    People with money or access to people with money deserve better justice? Is that some kind of Calvinist idea that the wealthy are better loved by God? I have a hunch that that has something to do with the origins of the practice of cash bail anyhow.

    We let murderers out on the street all the time while they await for their trial. Why are rich murderers different than poor murderers?

    I think it’d behoove folks to talk a moment to wonder whether or not in 5 years they’re going to regret taking the public position they’ve taken on issues like this.


  2. - Larry Bowa Jr. - Monday, Sep 18, 23 @ 11:58 am:

    “protected by the kind of personal security to which most people can only aspire.”

    What kind of terrified weirdo aspires to have personal security with them 24/7 like they were a politician? What’s it like to be that scared of the world around you?

    “tethered to a cash bond”

    Because everybody knows accused felons out on cash bond never previously absconded or did crimes before this law was passed. You naive libs don’t understand the wonder working power of cash bond to keep a hardened criminal in line out on the streets.


  3. - Occasionally Moderated - Monday, Sep 18, 23 @ 12:00 pm:

    I have now seen 3 versions of instructions and flow charts that a larger Illinois department sent out to it’s officers. Each was prepared by a different county. The version I trust the most has undergone 2 revisions since Friday. I would not describe it as a “streamlined”. I would describe it as complex.

    That being said: the leader that sent it to me told his people not to stop doing their jobs. He knew with any new process, mistakes would be made and they would work through them. He told me that officers who did not make a lot of arrests for class B and C misdemeanors would not see much change in who gets jailed and who gets released.

    I have confidence that these officers will do their best to get it right the first time but mistakes will be made. I worry most that states attorneys offices may not have the resources to add detention hearings to their docket. That is speculation on my part, time will tell.


  4. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Sep 18, 23 @ 12:02 pm:

    ===You naive libs===

    Glad we are coming at this with mere facts, not partisan lenses… so, to those facts…

    ===…don’t understand the wonder working power of cash bond to keep a hardened criminal in line out on the streets.===

    Facts? Or is this an opinion to the deterrent?

    I’m actually asking because when I read it, was there a factual stipulation both sides agreed to about bail and keeping alleged (I know you meant alleged too) criminals in line.

    Thanks.


  5. - Candy Dogood - Monday, Sep 18, 23 @ 12:06 pm:

    ===I have confidence that these officers will do their best to get it right the first time but mistakes will be made. I worry most that states attorneys offices may not have the resources to add detention hearings to their docket. That is speculation on my part, time will tell. ===

    I agree with you in spirit that most police offices and deputies don’t go ahead looking for opportunities to refuse to perform work in order to score political points, but there definitely are some and sometimes it gets a little coordinated.

    I worry that somewhere out there is a Sheriff that will refuse to do their job in order to “own the libs.” Oddly enough they’re probably in one of those counties that vote in majorities like 70% or more for GOP candidates, but they’re still going to refuse to do their job in their own very conservative county in order to “own the libs.”

    Unfortunately for us I don’t think anyone has really come up with a good “stop hitting yourself” approach to politics and government in the United States and so most of the GOP’s platform is centered on “hitting oneself policy” and efforts to prevent the Federal Government’s efforts to stop people from hitting themselves.

    I am now resisting the urge to go make a bunch of maps identifying counties where people are hitting themselves as a matter of routine public policy. So much data to be turned into fun memes for me and eight other people I know.


  6. - We've never had one before - Monday, Sep 18, 23 @ 12:32 pm:

    Beware the unintended consequences.


  7. - Occasionally Moderated - Monday, Sep 18, 23 @ 12:47 pm:

    Candy Dogwood- I was paraphrasing and apparently doing it badly!

    I think the official was more concerned that officers would avoid arrests initially due to the complexity of the process and to avoid “being wrong”.

    I believe most officers would rather arrest a bad guy than own the libs!

    And will I have to pay a subscription fee to view this map of yours? (Banned smiley face not submitted)


  8. - Socially DIstant Watcher - Monday, Sep 18, 23 @ 1:46 pm:

    I’m looking forward to the budget hearings next year when local prosecutors and sheriffs come hat in hand to describe the financial hardship they’re facing after they can’t keep the bonds that accused people put up prior to being acquitted.


  9. - Lucky Pierre - Monday, Sep 18, 23 @ 3:04 pm:

    How many “rich people” are carjacking and being arrested for the escalating violent crimes in Chicago?

    Just keep repeating to yourself on you next drive through the dangerous areas on the south and west sides of Chicago that you have nothing to fear but fear itself


  10. - Rich Miller - Monday, Sep 18, 23 @ 3:20 pm:

    ===Just keep repeating to yourself on you next drive through the dangerous areas on the south and west sides of Chicago that you have nothing to fear but fear itself ===

    I’d be willing to bet a lot of money that those two Black legislators travel through those dangerous areas far more than you do.


  11. - Occasionally Moderated - Monday, Sep 18, 23 @ 3:54 pm:

    ===I’m looking forward to the budget hearings next year when local prosecutors and sheriffs come hat in hand to describe the financial hardship they’re facing after they can’t keep the bonds that accused people put up prior to being acquitted===

    When defendants are acquitted, the defendant has the money returned to them. The third party that benefits in that case is the defendants attorney when the judge would allow attorney fees to be paid from the bond money.

    Forfeited bond money went to the county general fund by the way.

    Bond money was forfeited when the defendant didn’t appear for court, and then only when the judge had enough and multiple appearances were missed.

    After all that has been written about all this, the continued lack up understanding by those not directly involved does surprise me.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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