(Information for this story provided by The Associated Press and press releases sent to the WQRL/WISH/WMCL Newsroom.)
SPRINGFIELD (AP) – The Illinois Supreme Court has halted provisions of a new law that would eliminate cash bail for criminal defendants, issuing a stay hours before the new policies were set to take effect Sunday.
The high court said in Saturday’s order that the stay was needed to “maintain consistent pretrial procedures throughout Illinois” as the court prepares to hear arguments on the matter. The order said the court would coordinate an “expedited process” for the appeal
Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul filed Friday with the court an appeal of a local judge’s ruling, which found that eliminating cash bail for criminal defendants is unconstitutional.
After the ruling was announced, State Rep. Dave Severin of Benton, State Representative Patrick Windhorst of Metropolis and State Representative Paul Jacobs of Pomona said in a statement they are “encouraged by the State Supreme Court’s order that stays the end of cash bail and that chaos was likely to ensue across the state due to the confusing patchwork of counties that would have had cash bail or not.”
They continued in the statement noting that they have been “steadfast” in their argument that the Illinois Constitution envisions a cash bail system, and that ending cash bail was an “unconstitutional and dangerous policy decision.” They applauded the ruling and will await the Supreme Court’s review of the case on appeal.
Kankakee County Circuit Judge Thomas Cunnington ruled Wednesday that the General Assembly had violated the constitution’s separation of powers clause by eliminating cash bail in the so-called SAFE-T Act criminal justice overhaul. He said the issue of bail should be left to the judiciary.