State, local officials react to SAFE-T Act court ruling

The ruling upholds the constitutionality of the Act, ending cash bail in Illinois.
Published: Jul. 18, 2023 at 12:14 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 18, 2023 at 12:15 PM CDT
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PEORIA (25News Now) - State and local officials from both sides of the aisle are reacting to the Illinois Supreme Court’s Tuesday ruling to uphold the constitutionality of the controversial SAFE-T Act, ending cash bail in Illinois.

Gov. JB Pritzker released a statement saying he was pleased with the Court’s decision, adding, ”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.”

Attorney General Kwame Raoul also released a statement saying he was pleased with the decision and that it will have a “positive impact within the state.”

Speaker of the House Emanuel “Chris” Welch reacted via Twitter, calling the decision a “win for the people of this state” and saying that the criminal justice system can now “better protect victims and will no longer allow violent offenders to buy their way out of jail.”

Rep. Jehan Gordon-Booth (D-Peoria) issued a statement, saying the decision “reflects the countless hours of careful consideration that went into every component of the SAFE-T Act. Responsibly modernizing our pretrial procedures will not only create a fairer process, it will help to make our communities safer by basing release decisions on a public safety assessment instead of a defendant’s access to cash.”

Rep. Darin LaHood (R-Peoria) reacted via Twitter, calling it “misguided” and saying it would “harm Illinois law enforcement.”

Sen. Win Stoller (R-Germantown Hills) released a statement, saying the ruling is a ”disappointment” and a “step backwards in terms of protecting victims and their rights.”

Chief Judge J. Casey Costigan reacted to the ruling, saying the Circuit Courts of the Eleventh Judicial Circuit and judicial branch partners are “reviewing the details of the opinion.” After the review, he says, “all judicial offices will be preparing to implement the ruling and the provisions of the Act.” The Eleventh Judicial Circuit consists of Ford, Livingston, Logan, McLean, and Woodford counties.

McLean County State’s Attorney Erika Reynolds says she remains steadfast in her original concerns for the community’s safety and the lack of consideration for crime victims’ rights.

“Even under those provisions, the McLean County State’s Attorney’s Office will do everything in our power to best serve the citizens of McLean County while protecting victim’s rights.”

Tazewell County State’s Attorney Kevin Johnson says he’s “disappointed but not surprised.”

“I will fulfill my sworn obligation to uphold the law,” he said in a release. “Fortunately, Tazewell County is well positioned to implement the requirements of the SAFE-T Act.”

The Illinois Sheriffs’ Association also issued a statement via Facebook, saying they are “extremely disappointed” but will continue to direct their efforts to “getting members of the law enforcement community ready for full implementation of the Act.”

The halt on the law will be lifted 60 days after Tuesday’s opinion, on September 18, 2023.