A Lake County judge said he was forced to release a man under the SAFE-T Act after he was charged with pulling a loaded gun on a woman and racking the gun’s slide.
Shannon T. Harper, 32, of Zion, was charged with one count of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and one count of reckless conduct endangering safety.
Lake County Assistant State’s Attorney Dino Katris said Harper and his wife are going through a divorce and have separated.
Harper went to the woman’s home unannounced and reportedly refused to leave.
The two began arguing outside and Harper eventually pulled out a gun and racked the gun’s slide, Katris said.
The Lake County Sheriff’s Office was notified and responded. They located Harper’s vehicle and stopped him after he left the scene.
Deputies recovered a Taurus 9mm handgun. Katris said Harper has a Firearm Owner’s Identification card (FOID and concealed carry license.
Katris said the gun was loaded with a round in the chamber.
Prosecutors did not file a petition to detain Harper pending trial because the offense does not qualify as detainable under Illinois’ SAFE-T Act, which ended cash bail in September.
Lake County Judge Ari Fisz informed Harper during a First Appearance Court hearing that he could not detain him in jail.
“I am a little surprised the law does not permit judges to detain defendants charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon,” Fisz said, adding that his “hands were tied” because that is what the legislature decided.
The judge asked prosecutors which pre-trial conditions they were requesting and Katris asked the court to order Harper to not possess weapons and surrender his FOID card, concealed carry license and any weapons to the sheriff’s office.
Katris also asked for Harper to not have any contact with the victim.
A public defender representing Harper said she was objecting to the pre-trial release conditions, which angered the judge.
Fisz granted the request for all of the conditions that prosecutors requested.
“If I could detain you under the law I certainly would but I can’t so I won’t,” Fisz told Harper.
“Don’t you dare do anything when you’re on pre-trial release that is going to hurt this lady or anyone else,” the judge added.
Harper was released from the jail following the court hearing. He is scheduled to appear for a pre-trial hearing on January 17.