Illinois sheriffs brace for all hell to break loose with end of no cash bail: ‘An experiment on backs of victims’

Illinois sheriffs are waiting for hell to break loose thanks to a new law, the SAFE-T Act, that bans cash bail across the entire state and is set to take effect on Sept. 18th.

“Folks who live here are extremely concerned. It’s an experiment on the backs of victims of crime. I have serious concerns and so do the people that live here,” Franklin County Sheriff Kyle Bacon told Fox News this week.

It’s an “experiment” backed by the Illinois Supreme Court, which on Tuesday ruled in favor of eliminating the state’s cash bail system.

“The Illinois Supreme Court upheld a measure on Tuesday eliminating cash bail in the state, finding that Democratic legislators acted properly when they passed the law, which will transform the Illinois criminal justice system and limit judges’ ability to hold defendants in jail before trial,” The New York Times confirmed.

The court ruled in favor of eliminating bail despite lawyers for a union representing Chicago police officers arguing in court that the law “sets forth a recipe for increases in crime, recidivism, dysfunction in the criminal prosecution system, and danger to police officers and the communities they serve.”

Fox News notes that the Illinois Supreme Court took the case “after Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul appealed a ruling by a circuit judge that the pre-trial release and bail reforms in the SAFE-T Act were unconstitutional.”

The law specifically stipulates that charged suspects need not post bail to be released from jail while they await trial, with the only exception being if a judge finds that the suspect poses a threat to the public or is a flight risk.

However, it’s not clear what requirements a judge must first meet to keep a suspect behind bars on cash bail.

What is clear to many law enforcement officers across Illinois is that this new law is going to make everybody’s lives much harder — well, except for the lives of criminals.

“We did our job. We arrested them, incarcerated them, and then the state’s attorney makes the argument that they should be remanded for trial, and the judge, based on the SAFE-T Act guidelines, says, ‘Now I’m forced to let them go,’” Jefferson County Sheriff Jeff Bullard said to Fox News.

“That’s going to increase crime victim frustration … and we share that frustration with them,” he added.

Now remember Sheriff Bacon, who called the law an “experiment”?

Speaking with Fox News, he added that the full repercussions of the law won’t be known until it takes effect.

“The flaws of it are going to be revealed even more and trying to fix that issue is going to be a nonstop process. There are people here that own hundreds, some thousands, of acres of property — and that at the most basic level is a concern of theirs,” he said, referencing the fact that his county suffers from a lot of drug-related trespassing and burglaries.

“We’ve assured people that we will absolutely do everything we can to serve the victims of crime, but people here are very concerned about it. It is a rural area, and the people here are not served well by this law,” he added.

Bullard, meanwhile, predicted that the law will more negatively affect southern counties like his (and Bacon’s) due to the rural climate.

“A lot of things can be lost in the shuffle of a large metropolitan area, like Chicago. Crime and especially violent crime, in a rural county, a lot of people hear about it, a lot of people are concerned about it — it does not get lost in the shuffle,” he said.

He added that the Illinois legislators and judges responsible for the law are equally responsible for any victims that emerge thanks to it.

“Any new victim — that’s on the system. That’s on the people who allowed that to take place, not recognizing the public safety danger,” he said.

But don’t get it twisted. Fox News makes a point to note that both Bullard and Bacon intend to continue attempting to perform their job duties to the best of their abilities. What remains unknown is how the law will affect their policing.

“We have 100 people sitting in jail or requiring cash bond. What happens with that? We have literally hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of arrest warrants that are assigned a cash bond. What happens with that? All of these questions exist and, quite honestly, I sit here and have no idea what the answers are,” Bacon said.

Vivek Saxena


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