Illinois to become the first state to abolish cash bail after court ruling as Dem governor celebrates

The state of Illinois will become the first in the nation to abolish cash bail after the state Supreme Court ruled that a controversial new law was constitutional in a big win for criminal-coddling leftists who have contended that the existing system is racist.

On Tuesday, the state’s highest court ruled 5-2, siding with legislators and Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker on the key piece of leftist-backed criminal justice reform that was fiercely opposed by prosecutors and sheriffs in numerous counties. The court overturned a previous ruling by a judge in Kankakee County that the provision in the 2021 SAFE-T Act that ended cash bail was unconstitutional.

“The Illinois Constitution of 1970 does not mandate that monetary bail is the only means to ensure criminal defendants appear for trials or the only means to protect the public,” wrote Illinois Supreme Court Justice Mary Jane Theis. “Our constitution creates a balance between the individual rights of defendants and the individual rights of crime victims. The Act’s pretrial release provisions set forth procedures commensurate with that balance.”

“I am pleased that the Illinois Supreme Court has upheld the constitutionality of the SAFE-T Act and the elimination of cash bail,” Governor Pritzker said in a statement. “We can now move forward with historic reform to ensure pre-trial detainment is determined by the danger an individual poses to the community instead of by their ability to pay their way out of jail.”

The bill, which passed the state’s General Assembly in January 2021 and was signed into law by Pritzker the next month, was introduced by the Illinois Black Caucus in the aftermath of the death of career criminal and drug addict George Floyd whose unfortunate demise at the hands of Minneapolis police in May 2020 set off violent race riots across the country and served as the catalyst for left-wing politicians and their activist allies to push through a series of measures nationally to defund police and tilt the playing field in favor of criminals who stand to benefit the most from the abolition of the cash bail system.

(Video: YouTube/ABC 7 Chicago)

“Under Governor JB Pritzker, Illinois has become less safe and violent crime is on the rise. Instead of giving law enforcement the tools they need to go after criminals, Pritzker’s soft-on-crime policies, like ending cash bail, hinder cops from keeping communities safe,” Republican State Rep. Darin LaHood wrote on Twitter. “The Illinois Supreme Court’s ruling is misguided, it will harm Illinois law enforcement, and make our state less safe.”

“While this ruling is disappointing and the Act terribly detrimental to public safety, we must abide by the decision,” said Kankakee County State’s Attorney Jim Rowe.

“Despite the defeat, I could not be more proud of all who fought the good fight. The people of Illinois deserve better than bail reform that is passed under cover of darkness at 4am when all the state was sleeping; they deserve to have a voice in any constitutional amendments thru the power of their vote; and they deserve to be governed by a government of, for and by the people – not by legislative or gubernatorial fiat. That was the essence of our lawsuit and we stand for those principles still today,” Rowe wrote in a statement.

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Chris Donaldson


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