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SAFE-T Act coverage roundup

Thursday, Oct 6, 2022 - Posted by Isabel Miller

* Yesterday, Republicans criticized potential property tax increases due to the SAFE-T Act. Channel 7

At the heart of the matter, Republicans said it is the unfunded mandates associated with the law. Costs that local police departments and courts will incur because of the law which could then fall on taxpayers. […]

Republicans contend that counties will have to raise property taxes to pay for some of the requirements of the law including police body cameras and the systems to store the video. They also said it will require additional personnel in the courts, sheriff’s departments and pretrial services.

DuPage County estimates that over five years, the Safe-T Act will cost $63 million to implement. […]

Democrats contend that while the reforms do come with costs, they also come with savings, including not having to process so many bonds. Democrats question the motives of the law’s opponents.

* The Daily Herald

Two Arlington Heights candidates for a state House seat have sharp disagreements on Illinois’ new criminal justice reform law, with Republican Jack Vrett saying it makes streets more dangerous and Democrat Mark Walker calling those arguments fear mongering.

Like other GOP candidates for state-level office, Vrett has made issues of public safety and crime the cornerstone of his campaign. Vrett, a labor and employment law attorney and former prosecutor running for 53rd District representative, has paid for a billboard along the Jane Addams Tollway that says he’d vote to recall Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx. […]

“It will make it effectively impossible … for prosecutors to be able to convince a judge that someone should be detained before trial (in) all but the most extreme of circumstances, “Vrett said during a recent interview with a representative of the Daily Herald Editorial Board. “Judges are already supposed to take into account the economic circumstances of an individual defendant, and I certainly believe that we should not be locking people up in jail merely because they cannot afford to pay bail. But that’s not what this bill really does. This bill changes the standards to make it almost impossible for a prosecutor to actually make the case that a dangerous criminal shouldn’t walk the streets.”

Walker, the incumbent who returned to the legislature in 2019 after a previous stint from 2009 to 2011, called characterizations of the SAFE-T Act exaggeration, fearmongering and “unbelievable nonsense.” He said crimes like second-degree murder, for instance, remain detainable offenses under the legislation. And, he said, police officers do have the ability to arrest people for trespassing.

* WSIU Public Radio

At a discussion with business leaders Wednesday morning State Senator Dale Fowler said he’s confident there will be more changes to it at the next session.

“I know we’re going to be working hard for some repeals on the Safety Act, and we want to just ensure that the business climate is as well protected.” […]

Williamson County Sheriff Elect Jeff Diedrich explained that if someone is trespassing the police can not remove them, only give them a citation, which could lead to bigger problems for the property owner.

“That has a propensity for people to take matters into their own hands. We have to be very, very careful with that because we don’t want to have victims then become suspects and if things go too far, that’s exactly what can happen.”

* The Center Square

During a news conference Wednesday, state Rep. Keith Wheeler, R-Oswego, said changes have to be made to the law.

“This is not the time to add to our highest in the nation overall tax burden,” Wheeler said. “The Democratic-majority SAFE-T Act is literally forcing our local governments to consider raising property taxes to make our communities less safe.” […]

The Illinois Network for Pretrial Justice disputed the claims, and said the SAFE-T Act does not require counties to raise property taxes to fund the criminal legal system.

“For the last two years, the Administrative Office of Illinois Courts has been working with stakeholders from every branch of government to ensure that counties across Illinois have the guidance and resources they need to effectively make this transition,” they said in a statement.

* Channel 2

A new bi-partisan lawsuit was filed against the Illinois’ Safe-T Act, which calls for ending cash bail in the state.

Madison County State’s Attorney Tom Haine and Madison County Sheriff John Lakin have announced they’re filing a suit against the controversial law. The suit claims that eliminating cash bail is unconstitutional, partly because it violates the victim’s rights.

The lawsuit comes after several other counties in the state filed similar suits.

* Fox Illinois

Greene County State’s Attorney Caleb Briscoe and Scott County State’s Attorney Richard Crews are the latest to file lawsuits.

The two are suing over the elimination of cash bail, which is part of the Pre-Trial Fairness Act.

Crews and Briscoe are asking for a permanent injunction of the SAFE-T Act.

They argue it’s unconstitutional, it violates the single subject rule, it violates the separation of powers clause, it’s unconstitutionally vague, and it violates the three readings of charges requirement.

* The Telegraph

In partnership with the Southern Illinois Area Police Chiefs Association, state Sen. Kris Tharp, D-Bethalto, met Tuesday with Metro East police officials to discuss their concerns with the SAFE-T Act. […]

“With my background as a law enforcement officer, my priorities as a senator remain ensuring that our communities are safe, keeping violent criminals off our streets and supporting police officers to effectively perform their duties,” said Tharp, a former Madison County deputy.

“Tuesday’s conversation was vital to addressing concerns in the SAFE-T Act, and I thank the chiefs for their participation.”

Tharp hosted Tuesday’s meeting with about 30 police officers at the Edwardsville Public Safety Building to give SIPCA members an opportunity to voice their concerns and propose changes to the SAFE-T Act. Tharp said he plans to bring their concerns to the negotiating table in Springfield.

* ILGOP press release…

The Pritzker Administration and Democratic leadership have gone into full damage control mode on the SAFE-T Act in the past few weeks with the looming elimination of cash bail going into effect on January 1st. Meanwhile, 100 of Illinois’ 102 States Attorneys have sounded alarm bells on cashless bail - including multiple Democratic States Attorneys who have filed lawsuits to stop it.

“No cash bail is no cash bail. There’s going to be so many bad actors that are not going to be subject to bond hearings or detention hearings based on the law that he has created,” said House Republican Leader Jim Durkin.

Democrats can diminish and deflect all that they want, but by no discernable metric has the law been a success. Meanwhile, we’re already seeing the disastrous effects of the elimination of cash bail in other states that have passed similar legislation. New York eliminated cash bail for most non-violent offenses in 2019. 

Since going into effect in January 2020, New York’s bail reform law has led to an unprecedented massive rise in crime, violent reoffenders, and accused criminals skipping trial. According to the New York Post in February, “Nearly every single city police precinct has seen spikes in crime so far this year — including five in which the rate has doubled.” 

As a direct result of the new bail law, 20.1% of “felony arraignments” were rearrestedin 2021, with 16.1% failing to appear at arraignment. These stats could indicate an even more grim future on the horizon for Chicago which has already seen a 37% spike in crime since this time last year.

Bizarrely, Speaker Welch is sticking by the law. “We know the SAFE-T Act will help people, it will help people,” he said as reported by NBC5 Chicago.

“I guess it’s no surprise that so many Illinois Democrat political leaders continue to support legislation that makes law enforcement more difficult, more dangerous, and more expensive. So many of their Illinois Democrat colleagues have been indicted or convicted for corruption since 2019, they’re probably very supportive of the defund, disarm and demoralize law enforcement movement and overly sympathetic to criminal defendants,” said Illinois Republican Party Chairman Don Tracy.

Seven Democratic State Lawmakers - including Speaker Madigan - and nine Chicago Aldermen have been indicted or convicted since Pritzker took office. The SAFE-T Act’s champion in the Senate, Elgie Sims, is currently facing an FBI investigation. 

Further, the SAFE-T Act is expected to lead to property tax hikes across the state as a result of unfunded mandates placed on law enforcement. 

* Rich discussed this Forest Park Review editorial with subscribers today

[Forest Park Fire Chief Phil Chiappetta] asked Ford why legislators acted so quickly and why there were not more discussions and negotiations with law enforcement before [the elimination of cash bail] was passed as part of the much broader state SAFE-T Act.

Here’s where Ford was most direct and most correct.

Cash bail has been a linchpin of systemic racism in our criminal justice system forever. It plainly punishes people who are Black and Brown and poor. It plainly favors white people of means with the ability to hire solid lawyers and raise bail readily. […]

Ford’s explanation for why the Democrats in the legislature and Gov. J.B. Pritzker pushed it through is entirely accurate and illustrative of why criminal justice must be thoroughly reformed.

“If we didn’t pass something, we wouldn’t have gotten anything from law enforcement. We wouldn’t have gotten a serious conversation,” Ford told local leaders.

Dead on.

Now with cash bail as we have known it disappearing in 90 days, prosecutors and police are eager to talk. We hope they further fine-tune this law and bend it toward justice and safety.

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37 Comments
  1. - Candy Dogood - Thursday, Oct 6, 22 @ 12:06 pm:

    ===Williamson County Sheriff Elect Jeff Diedrich explained that if someone is trespassing the police can not remove them, only give them a citation, which could lead to bigger problems for the property owner.

    “That has a propensity for people to take matters into their own hands. We have to be very, very careful with that because we don’t want to have victims then become suspects and if things go too far, that’s exactly what can happen.” ===

    A local elected official spreads misinformation about policing powers and then suggests that his misinformation could cause people to murder other people over trespassing, but some how without being able to acknowledge his role in spreading the misinformation.

    What a guy. Way to keep it classy, Williamson County. Hope no one relies on their sheriff’s office for anything important down there.


  2. - The Opinions Bureau - Thursday, Oct 6, 22 @ 12:11 pm:

    Nothing in the SAFE-T Act requires DuPage County to undertake the capital expenditures that make up $25m of that $63m figure.

    https://www.shawlocal.com/my-suburban-life/news/dupage-county/2021/03/11/dupage-county-predicts-spending-63-million-on-police-reform-mandates-over-next-5-years/


  3. - G'Kar - Thursday, Oct 6, 22 @ 12:12 pm:

    ==DuPage County estimates that over five years, the Safe-T Act will cost $63 million to implement.==

    When I took Math as a student, I was never allowed to simply write down the answer. I was always told to “show my work.” So, I’m asking DuPage County–show your work. How did you get to $63 million?


  4. - Big Dipper - Thursday, Oct 6, 22 @ 12:13 pm:

    It makes perfect sense to give the officer the option to write a ticket rather than arrest in trespassing cases. There are certain circumstances that are technically trespassing but if the trespasser leaves immediately when asked don’t call for an arrest.


  5. - TheInvisibleMan - Thursday, Oct 6, 22 @ 12:20 pm:

    –How did you get to $63 million?–

    They ‘estimated’ it.


  6. - JS Mill - Thursday, Oct 6, 22 @ 12:24 pm:

    ====Williamson County Sheriff Elect Jeff Diedrich explained that if someone is trespassing the police can not remove them, only give them a citation, which could lead to bigger problems for the property owner.=

    He and the other are correct. As long as you don’t actually read the law and go off of facebook they are right that is.


  7. - Anon221 - Thursday, Oct 6, 22 @ 12:26 pm:

    If your area of jurisdiction depends on the monies from cash bail to operate… then you have more problems than the SAFE-T act would ever possibly impose. Maybe a deeper dive into why certain crimes are being committed, and at what level, needs to be addressed in the community??? Frankly, I’m so tired of the lies and misinformation in my county by heads of law enforcement and the States Attorney. It wasn’t until this year that I was even aware of how dependent the county had made itself on cash bail to function. It was an eye opener… and also helped explain why certain proactive programs never seemed to get very far. It’s easier to “collect” than to “connect”.


  8. - Rabid - Thursday, Oct 6, 22 @ 12:40 pm:

    Hard to scare seniors when their taxes are frozen


  9. - XonXoff - Thursday, Oct 6, 22 @ 12:40 pm:

    == Williamson County Sheriff Elect Jeff Diedrich explained that if someone is trespassing the police can not remove them, only give them a citation, which could lead to bigger problems for the property owner. ==

    I guess my question at this point is; what’s the fallout for those found guilty of dereliction of duty, whether someone gets hurt or not?


  10. - Nuke The Whales - Thursday, Oct 6, 22 @ 12:48 pm:

    So by their own estimate (which as The Opinions Bureau notes includes money not directly mandated) the act will cost a county of 932,877 a total of $12,600,000 per year. The FY 2022 budget for DuPage County was $474,331,325.


  11. - TheInvisibleMan - Thursday, Oct 6, 22 @ 12:55 pm:

    After watching how badly DuPage gaffed on cannabis revenue, missing out on millions of tax dollars because nobody in the county filed the paperwork needed, or even noticed millions of dollars were missing from expected revenue, I’m having some doubts on the veracity of their sudden concern for tax dollars.


  12. - Kayak - Thursday, Oct 6, 22 @ 12:57 pm:

    I remember some of these same Sheriffs declaring adult use cannabis would cause crime to skyrocket and society was poised to suffer irreparable damage. Hopefully we believe them this time. /s


  13. - Donnie Elgin - Thursday, Oct 6, 22 @ 1:01 pm:

    JB
    “The SAFE-T Act is designed to keep murderers, and domestic abusers, violent criminals in jail,” Pritzker said during an unrelated press conference Wednesday”

    LaShawn Ford
    “Cash bail has been a linchpin of systemic racism in our criminal justice system forever. It plainly punishes people who are Black and Brown and poor. It plainly favors white people of means with the ability to hire solid lawyers and raise bail readily”

    Dem’s messaging is not unified.


  14. - Norseman - Thursday, Oct 6, 22 @ 1:10 pm:

    Looking at the lawsuit arguments really makes me believe these States Attorneys care little about actual justice and more about politics. I’ll be flabbergasted if any of their arguments succeed in the long run.


  15. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Oct 6, 22 @ 1:11 pm:

    ===can read the bullet points===

    Those are outdated, which is why your comment was deleted.


  16. - Jilted - Thursday, Oct 6, 22 @ 1:15 pm:

    Well,I think I can speak for most here, most of not all of us,are legal experts yet they objections of. Close to 100 states attorneys, both red and blue, are ignored as ” misinformation”. I would think they would be more qualified to speak on the bill that almost all of us yet their concerns get ignored.


  17. - Jilted - Thursday, Oct 6, 22 @ 1:15 pm:

    Aren’t legal experts


  18. - Flapdoodle - Thursday, Oct 6, 22 @ 1:19 pm:

    Given the quality of much local law enforcement in Illinois, there’s a strong possibility that much of the erroneous information being spread about the SAFE-T Act is due to ordinary stupidity and incompetence.* Still, this is Illinois, so no matter what sheriffs and SAs claim to be talking about, most likely it somehow has to do with money and power, neither of which they want to lose and justice be d****d.

    * Hanlon’s Razor: Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity or incompetence.


  19. - Dysfunction Junction - Thursday, Oct 6, 22 @ 1:21 pm:

    =Dem’s messaging is not unified.=

    Two things can be true at the same time. Just sayin.


  20. - DuPage - Thursday, Oct 6, 22 @ 1:22 pm:

    @- TheInvisibleMan - Thursday, Oct 6, 22 @ 12:55 pm:

    After watching how badly ===DuPage… missing out on millions of tax dollars because nobody in the county filed the paperwork needed, or even noticed millions of dollars were missing from expected revenue…===

    Sadly, this level of incompetence at the County level is not unusual for DuPage County. They collect such large amounts in property taxes that they don’t even think about the other sources of lost revenue, or the competence of the politicians attempting to run the actual offices. It has been this way for 50 years that I know of, and I don’t expect it to change anytime soon.


  21. - TheInvisibleMan - Thursday, Oct 6, 22 @ 1:24 pm:

    – I would think they would be more qualified–

    You would think so, wouldn’t you.

    The job of the State’s Attorney is to *enforce* the law the legislature passes.

    If State’s Attorneys want to write laws, they can run for office and change the laws if they can get a majority of votes in the legislature.

    There are a lot more residents in Illinois than 100. They elected people to the legislature to represent them and to pass laws. They elected their State’s Attorneys to *enforce* laws, not write them.

    There’s a reason our system of government distinguishes between who writes the laws, and who enforces them. Glossing over that as meaningless seems to be the pattern here, and it’s a big underlying problem.


  22. - KSDinCU - Thursday, Oct 6, 22 @ 1:25 pm:

    Is there a source for this statement about 100 of 102 state’s attorneys? I have googled but have been unable to find anything like a petition or letter signed by 100 SAs. And every news story I find mentioning those numbers seems to link back to one of several articles on the Center Square.


  23. - JS Mill - Thursday, Oct 6, 22 @ 1:27 pm:

    =Dem’s messaging is not unified.=

    Seems unified to me. They make two different points but both are reasons for the law.

    =Close to 100 states attorneys, both red and blue, are ignored as ” misinformation”. I would think they would be more qualified to speak on the bill that almost all of us yet their concerns get ignored.=

    I am not sure about you, but I can read the law and see that violent offenders will not simply be allowed to roam the streets. The law, in point of fact, allows for exactly the opposite to happen.

    The law does not treat shoplifters like insurrectionists.


  24. - Osborne Smith III - Thursday, Oct 6, 22 @ 1:28 pm:

    The Senate Democrats put out a podcast this morning with Senator Sims and Senator Peters addressing a number of the claims being made about the law. It’s a good listen.


  25. - Payback - Thursday, Oct 6, 22 @ 1:43 pm:

    “…counties will have to raise property taxes to pay for some of the requirements of the law including police body cameras and the systems to store the video.” The underlying idea that local police and sheriffs can be trusted to be the custodians of their own video records is stupid anyway. Police video evidence should be sent directly to the AG’s office or some outside agency, in the same way that local 911 systems are under the control of the state police (used to be the ICC). How many cops lied on reports or deleted vids in the Laquan McDonald shooting?


  26. - Amalia - Thursday, Oct 6, 22 @ 1:46 pm:

    Good luck, Walker.


  27. - MisterJayEm - Thursday, Oct 6, 22 @ 1:50 pm:

    Sadly, this level of incompetence at the County level is not unusual for DuPage County. They collect such large amounts in property taxes that they don’t even think about the other sources of lost revenue, or the competence of the politicians attempting to run the actual offices. It has been this way for 50 years that I know of, and I don’t expect it to change anytime soon.

    This is true, but DuPage County’s slipshod sloppiness could be forced to change with this November’s election.

    – MrJM


  28. - cermak_rd - Thursday, Oct 6, 22 @ 2:41 pm:

    I don’t see why the people (represented by the Statehouse) should have to negotiate with our employees (law enforcement) about changes to the law. That is a matter for the Statehouse, not the stationhouse.


  29. - cover - Thursday, Oct 6, 22 @ 2:49 pm:

    = They argue it’s unconstitutional, it violates the single subject rule, it violates the separation of powers clause, it’s unconstitutionally vague, and it violates the three readings of charges requirement. =

    Throwing everything at the wall and hoping something sticks?


  30. - Pot calling kettle - Thursday, Oct 6, 22 @ 3:05 pm:

    ==I would think they would be more qualified to speak on the bill that almost all of us yet their concerns get ignored. ==

    Perhaps, but many of their claims about the impact of the law have been shown to be incorrect. So, it is fair to ask, why else might they oppose this law?

    As I have noted on several prior threads, the SA’s are losing an important tool they use to get poor folks to sign a plea bargain: A person is detained for a lower-level crime, cannot post the money bond, and sits in jail awaiting trial for a year (or more) - they may lose their job, their home, etc. The SA then comes in, reminds the accused that their trial might be months away and that, if they plead guilty, they will be released because they have already been in jail for as much time as they would get if convicted. What would you do in that situation? The SA’s do not want to lose that leverage.


  31. - MisterJayEm - Thursday, Oct 6, 22 @ 3:06 pm:

    Miller Lite: “Tastes Great.”

    Miller Lite: “Less Filling.”

    Genius: “Miller Lite’s messaging is not unified.”

    – MrJM


  32. - Norseman - Thursday, Oct 6, 22 @ 3:28 pm:

    One of the lawsuits argued the 3 day reading requirement which is absurd since the bill was amended in the Senate and concurred in the House.

    As for single subject, the chances of that making it by the enrolled bill rule is on par with an ice cube’s chances in hades.


  33. - Blue Dog - Thursday, Oct 6, 22 @ 3:31 pm:

    With national ambitions, this is something JB can’t have blow up in his face.


  34. - Guzzlepot - Thursday, Oct 6, 22 @ 3:56 pm:

    =As I have noted on several prior threads, the SA’s are losing an important tool they use to get poor folks to sign a plea bargain…=

    Pot calling kettle you have it exactly right. It is notable that the SA’s and Sheriff’s can go on and on about how the SAFE-T Act is dangerous, but have nothing to say about how they would reduce the inequities in the current bail statute.


  35. - Blake - Thursday, Oct 6, 22 @ 4:03 pm:

    Raise taxes or cut spending elsewhere may not be the talking point they want, so they go with it’ll raise taxes.


  36. - Not a Superstar - Thursday, Oct 6, 22 @ 4:18 pm:

    The foolishness in DuPage isn’t limited to the cost of the SAFE-T Act. Some local electeds are now warning about “tent cities” in the suburbs. https://patch.com/illinois/hinsdale/hinsdale-leader-warns-tent-cities


  37. - SweetLou86 - Thursday, Oct 6, 22 @ 11:45 pm:

    I swear like 80% of what’s in this post is just pure lies and BS


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