Pritzker Vows To Continue Legal Fight For Cash Free Bail Throughout Illinois

Illinois Democrat Gov. J.B. Pritzker said Wednesday he's confident a measure he signed into law in 2021 to end cash bail statewide is constitutional despite a lower court ruling otherwise. 
J.B. Pritzker

At a glance

  • The Safety, Accountability, Fairness and Equity-Today, or SAFE-T Act, was approved by the General Assembly in January 2021. It makes several changes to the criminal justice system, including eliminating cash bail statewide, making it the first state to do so.
  • A join lawsuit including over 60 state’s attorneys across Illinois challenged the law before the legislature last month broadened the list of offenses a criminal defendant can be held in jail for pending trial.
  • Last week, a county judge found the no-cash bail provision violated the state constitution and separation of powers, siding with the state’s attorneys. Initially, it was thought the circuit court ruling only impacted counties where a state’s attorney brought a challenge, potentially spurring chaos in the state’s criminal justice system with some jurisdictions ending cash bail while others keep it in place.
  • On New Year’s Eve, the Illinois Supreme Court halted the Jan. 1 implementation of no-cash bail statewide pending appeal.
  • “The whole purpose here is fairness, and I think we will continue to fight for that,” Pritzker said Wednesday. “Those of us who believe in this know that there is even more to do, but I am comfortable and confident that this is constitutional.”

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