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The Student News Site of Northern Illinois University

Northern Star

Illinois to become first US state to eliminate cash bail

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The Illinois Capitol Building sits in the sun. The SAFE-T Act, going into effect on Sept. 18, will eliminate cash bail in Illinois. (Getty Images)

DeKALB – July 18, 2023, the Illinois Supreme Court voted a 5-2 ruling to pass the SAFE-T Act. This bill will be going into effect on September 18, 2023, during a press conference. 

The SAFE-T Act is filled with many different changes to the Illinois legal system and police system, but a key part of it is eliminating cash bail. When the act was originally signed into effect by Gov. J.B. Pritzker, it was challenged by different courts questioning the Constitutionality of the cash bail part of the act.

Flags were raised because of the Pretrial Fairness Act, with many arguing that the proposed SAFE-T Act went against it. This is how the SAFE-T Act reached the Illinois Supreme Court. 

Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx discussed the logistics of how cash bail will work after the SAFE-T Act goes into action. 

“That initial hearing is similar to the hearings we have now, except if we want to hold somebody in custody, a judge will have to make a record, make a finding as to why that person should be held in custody and the factors that led to that,” Foxx said

The law is subjective based on what the crime is and what the potential punishments the offender is facing are. It affects offenders of certain felonies and misdemeanors that involve violence. The act’s purpose is to prevent repeat offenders of violence. 

“Judges will decide whether someone is detained or not detained awaiting trial. If a judge rules for detention, those individuals arrested after the effective date will no longer be able to access cash to gain release,” Eric Rinehart, Lake County State’s Attorney said

The press conference covering the end of money bonds in Illinois will take place at the Leighton Criminal Courthouse in Chicago. There will be multiple speakers including Sen. Elgie Sims and Public Defender Sharone Mitchell. 

The conference will be live streamed at 8 a.m. Sept. 18 at the Coalition to End Money Bond’s Facebook page and will be accessible to everyone. 

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