File Photo – Lake County State’s Attorney Eric Rinehart | Photo: Willie Gillespie (@wgweather)

The Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office said they have filed petitions asking the court to order dozens of accused murderers, sex offenders and domestic batterers held detained once the SAFE-T Act goes into effect.

The state’s attorney’s office said Wednesday that they had filed detention petitions against 46 defendants being held in the Lake County Jail on murder charges.

The office also said they had filed petitions against 35 defendants being held on sex crime charges and 51 defendants charged in felony domestic battery cases.

Should the petitions be granted by the court, it would mean defendants charged with murder, a sex offense or a felony domestic battery would be held in jail without the possibility of being released before trial.

Hearings will be conducted by the trial judge and trial prosecutors who are already familiar with the currently detained defendants, the state’s attorney’s office said.

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“Everyone deserves to be safe in all communities across Lake County. The SAFE-T Act will keep violent offenders in custody regardless of how much money they have in their wallets. By filing our petitions now, we are giving the courts ample time to schedule hearings on the current jail inmates,” Lake County State’s Attorney Eric Rinehart said.

Rinehart said the state’s attorney’s office is following the recommendation of the Illinois Supreme Court Task Force and working with its other justice partners to take proactive steps in advance of January 1.

“These steps will make Lake County safer by keeping violent criminals in jail, where they belong,” Rinehart said.

Prosecutors will continue filing additional petitions for those charged with misdemeanor domestic battery, weapons offenses, shooting offenses, armed robbery, attempted murder, home invasion and other violent felonies.

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Further petitions will be filed based on changes that occur during the legislative veto session currently underway in the General Assembly, the state’s attorney’s office said.

Rinehart has asked his prosecutors to file the detention petitions as early as possible so that the hearings can be scheduled before January 1.

Illinois State Senator Adriane Johnson, D-Buffalo Grove, said the SAFE-T Act will “make our communities safer and address decades of race and class disparities in our justice system.”

“I was proud to support efforts to pass these public safety reforms in the Senate on behalf of the diverse communities of Lake County. […] State’s Attorney Rinehart and the many outstanding public servants in the Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office should be commended for taking the initiative to protect families of Lake County by making sure that we are ready for the new law,” Johnson said.

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The state’s attorney’s office said they expected 7-8 detention hearings a day for new arrests occurring beginning January 1.

The Lake County Board recently approved increased funding for the courts, sheriff’s office, state’s attorney’s office, circuit clerk’s office and the public defender’s office to prepare for the changes.

“County staff and the Board worked with the leaders in the local justice system to ensure we are ready on January 1, when portions of the SAFE-T Act go into effect. We are providing additional resources to our Sheriff and State’s Attorney so that Lake County families can be assured that their communities will remain safe and thriving,” Lake County Board Chair Sandy Hart said.