Safe-T Act

Illinois leaders update as state becomes 1st in nation to end cash bail

Illinois leaders will hold a press conference at 8 a.m. Monday to discuss the end of cash bail in the state

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Following months of legal debate, the "Pretrial Fairness Act" took effect Monday in all 102 of Illinois' counties, making Illinois the first state in the nation to eliminate cash bail.

The Illinois Supreme Court in mid-July upheld the pretrial fairness portion of the state's controversial SAFE-T Act in a 5-2 ruling, allowing the end of cash bail to proceed.

In Cook County, Board President Toni Preckwinkle said stakeholders at all levels are prepared to implement the “Pretrial Fairness Act” on Monday.

“As a result of nearly two years of thoughtful and collaborative preparation, Cook County is ready to implement the new procedures required by the Pretrial Fairness Act,” she said. “As our court system transitions to the new procedures, my administration will continue to provide resources and support to ensure our continued success.”

Preckwinkle, along with Illinois House Speaker Emanuel "Chris" Welch, Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx and other local leaders held a press conference at 8 a.m. Monday to provide more information.

So how exactly will the process of determining whether a defendant will be detained pretrial work?

Under provisions of the bill, the state will allow judges to determine whether individuals accused of a specific set of felonies and violent misdemeanors pose a risk to another individual, or the community at large.

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.

 In addition, those defendants currently being held prior to trial will receive hearings to determine whether their detention will continue.

 Those accused of specific low-level offenses will be required to receive a detention hearing within seven days of a request for one, according to the text of the bill.

Those detained but considered flight risks would get hearings within 60 days of making the request, and those considered to be threats to public safety would get hearings within 90 days to help ease the burden on the judicial system, according to officials.

This story will be updated.

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