MADISON COUNTY, Ill. – An Illinois judge has ruled part of the state’s new SAFE-T Act unconstitutional. This means the end of cash bail likely won’t happen on January 1.
This ruling will only impact part of the SAFE-T Act. It’s the portion that eliminates the cash bail system in Illinois.
Under the new system, people in jail would have a pre-trial hearing where a judge would decide on their release, but Kankakee County Circuit Judge Thomas Cunnington severed the cash bail provisions from the rest of the legislation.
He determined eliminating cash bail was unconstitutional.
According to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, the cash bail system disproportionately impacts black and brown communities and other under-represented or impoverished groups, who cannot afford bond.
The SAFE-T Act is set to go into effect next week. In the 65 counties that were part of the lawsuit, including Madison County, the cash bail provision will not go into effect. However, the other portions will, including police body cameras and expanded training.
The plaintiffs in this suit sued Governor JB Pritzker, the Illinois attorney general, speaker of the house, and other state leaders.
The state is expected to immediately file an appeal to the Illinois Supreme Court.