The Safety, Accountability, Fairness, and Equality-Today Act, colloquially known as the SAFE-T Act, was set to make Illinois the first state in the country to forbid judges from forcing certain criminal defendants to pay cash bail to be released from jail while they await trial.
On December 28, Kankakee County Circuit Court Judge Thomas Cunnington delivered a ruling declaring that the Act was unconstitutional. He determined that the pretrial release section of the SAFE-T Act violated Crime Victim’s Bill of Rights and the separation of powers sections set forth in the Illinois Constitution
On December 31, 2022, the Illinois Supreme Court issued a statewide stay. DuPage County State’s Attorney Robert Berlin and Kane County State’s Attorney Jamie Mosser, who filed the emergency motion requesting the stay, issued a statement explaining that had the SAFE-T Act gone into effect on January 1, 2023, while litigation was pending, the administration of justice in Illinois would have been uneven and cause a direct harm the citizens of the Illinois.
What is Next?
The Supreme Court has not set a date to hear appeals in the case, so it is unclear when or if the measure will be enacted. Additionally, because of the Illinois Supreme Court stay, judges can still require criminal defendants to post cash bail.
If you have questions or concerns regarding the Safe-T Act and how it may affect you or your business, please contact the qualified attorneys at Rock Fusco & Connelly.