Illinois Supreme Court halts implementation of cashless bail newstrendslive

Just hours before the elimination of cash bail and other pretrial provisions were supposed to go into effect across Illinois, the state Supreme Court on Saturday halted the statewide implementation following days of confusion after a Kankakee judge ruled the provisions unconstitutional.

In an order issued late in the afternoon, the high court said the stay was needed to “maintain consistent pretrial procedures throughout Illinois” while the court prepares to hear arguments on the matter.

The measures were part of sweeping criminal justice reforms that passed by slim margins through the Democrat-controlled Illinois General Assembly in January 2021 and signed into law a month later by Gov. J.B. Pritzker.

The reforms, collectively known as the SAFE-T Act, were meant to promote police accountability and ensure a more equitable court system. Aside from the no-cash bail policy, the 764-page law also requires all police departments in Illinois to be equipped with body cameras by 2025, allows the public to more regularly file anonymous complaints against cops, and modifies the state’s police certification process, among other reforms.

The Supreme Court ruling came after Kankakee County Judge Thomas Cunnington ruled Dec. 28 that the no-cash bail policy and other pretrial provisions of the SAFE-T Act were unconstitutional. Cunnington gave several reasons, including that the state legislature violated the separation of powers clause in the Illinois Constitution when it eliminated cash bail and interfered with the judiciary’s ability to set bail.

This is a developing story. Check back for more details.

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