The McHenry County state’s attorney said he is “disheartened and shocked” by the state’s supreme court ruling allowing the SAFE-T Act’s end of cash bail provision to go into effect.
The Illinois Supreme Court, in a 5-2 ruling, announced its opinion Tuesday morning in the case of Rowe v. Raoul where state attorneys from across the state brought legal action against the Safety, Accountability, Fairness, Equity-Today (SAFE-T) Act.
The state’s supreme court reversed a ruling from Kankakee County that held certain provisions of the SAFE-T Act violated the bail clause, the crime victims’ rights clause and the separation of powers clause of the Illinois Constitution.
The court had issued a stay of the no-cash bail provision in December.
The stay will be lifted on September 18, ending cash bail in Illinois.
The change means that judges will decide whether an offender should be released or held in jail while awaiting trial. Defendants will no longer be able to post cash to get out of jail.
McHenry County State’s Attorney Patrick Kenneally said in a statement that he was “disheartened and shocked” by the decision reversing the lower court ruling.
“We believe that this entire process of sustaining this entirely irresponsible piece of legislation, from its enactment at 4.a.m. during an irregular legislative session after zero meaningful debate, through the 2022 election, and ending with this decision, is merely a sad reflection of state of ideological capture in our three branches of government,” Kenneally said.
The state’s attorney said the SAFE-T Act will make the job of prosecutors, judges and police more difficult.
“That said, we have no choice other than to accept the decision and move on. We at the State’s Attorney’s Office will continue to do everything within our power to ensure that dangerous offenders remain behind bars pre-trial or that other measures, such as electronic monitoring, are in put in place to minimize risk,” Kenneally said.
“As the flaws of this haphazardly enacted and poorly conceived law become immediately apparent in the form of compromised safety of communities across the State, we will also seek to work with our legislators on common sense reforms,” he added.
McHenry County Sheriff Robb Tadelman said his office was reviewing the ruling and is working with the state’s attorney’s office, court administration and county administration to make sure law enforcement is prepared for the implementation.
“The McHenry County Sheriff’s Office remains committed to working on behalf of our communities to keep citizens safe,” Tadelman said.