No more cash bail in Illinois? Here’s what we know about the upcoming changes – NBC Chicago

While other states, including New Jersey and New York, have passed legislation broadly limiting the use of cash bail for pretrial detentions, the state of Illinois will go even further in January, as it will eliminate the cash deposit entirely.

Instead, the state will allow judges to determine whether individuals charged with a wide range of crimes pose a risk to another individual or to the community as a whole, and then decide whether to keep them in custody. provisionally or release them on their own recognizance.

Here’s what we know about the Pretrial Fairness Act.

When does it come into effect

The bill, part of the omnibus “Safe-T Act” passed by the Illinois General Assembly in 2021, will go into effect on January 1, 2023.

Can the defendants still be held in prison before their trial?

While some posts and social media posts, cited by Snopes, have argued that certain crimes would become “non-custodial offenses,” including second-degree murder and other acts of violence, the state says the Judges will still be authorized to order remand in special circumstances.

“Detention will only be imposed when it is determined that the accused poses a specific, real, and present threat to a person, or has a high likelihood of willfully absconding,” according to the text of the bill.

A hearing will be required to determine whether a defendant poses this risk, and if the court finds that to be the case, a judge will then have to submit his reasoning in writing within the parameters of the legislation.

The nature and circumstances of the charges, the weight of the evidence against the accused, the history and characteristics of the accused and the risks that would be posed by release will all be assessed, according to CivicFed.

According to the legislation, the state will bear the burden of proof in cases, required to present “clear and convincing evidence that the accused committed an offense that qualifies for the pretrial condition”, as well as presenting evidence that they would pose a “real and present threat” to the safety of others if released.

So what crimes can result in pre-trial detention?

According to the text of the bill, defendants can be denied bail if a hearing finds they meet one of the following criteria:

-The defendant is charged with a “forced crime” which carries a mandatory term of imprisonment without probation upon conviction, and that the release of this defendant would pose a threat to any person or the community as a whole .

“Forced crimes” include “first degree murder, second degree murder, felony predatory sexual assault, robbery, burglary, residential burglary, aggravated arson, arson, kidnapping, aggravated battery resulting in grievous bodily harm or permanent disability or disfigurement and any other crime that involves the use or threat of physical force or violence against any person”.

– If the defendant is accused of harassment or aggravated harassment, and his release would constitute a threat to the community or to an individual.

– If the defendant is charged with domestic assault or aggravated assault, and their release would pose a threat to the community or an individual.

-If the accused is charged with a sexual offense and his release would pose a threat to the community or an individual.

– If the defendant has a high likelihood of “deliberate flight to avoid prosecution” and is charged with a forcible crime.

How will the hearings take place?

If the state seeks to find that a defendant should be held in pre-trial detention, then it is required to hold an immediate hearing to make its case.

Judges can issue short extensions of up to 48 hours from the filing of this motion, but a decision will need to be made quickly.

According to the bill, even if a defendant is deemed eligible for remand, periodic hearings will be held to determine whether the circumstances have remained the same.

Will all defendants currently in prison be released on January 1?

Governor JB Priztker’s office says the bill does not require the immediate release of those charged with specific crimes and misdemeanors.

Courts will have the ability to release individuals if they find that the defendants do not pose an active threat to the community or to another individual.

Why is the state abolishing cash bail?

Proponents of the bill argue that the cash bail system has a disproportionate impact on minority communities and that eliminating the practice will help ensure fairer outcomes.

“For far too many people, their assessment was not based on their risk but on how much they could afford to pay, so eliminating cash bail makes it a matter of risk, not poverty. ” Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx said.

According to the Center for American Progress, three out of five people in US prisons have not been convicted of a crime, and many state departments and agencies predict that the number of inmates will drop significantly when the new policy is implemented. Implementation.

Anticipating a reduction in inmate numbers, Kane County and Kendall County are teaming up to possibly house Kendall County inmates ahead of trial.

Why are some managers against the changes?

Some Illinois law enforcement officials have expressed concern that the bill requires a heavier burden of proof to detain accused violent criminals and have criticized the scope of the legislation, saying that More specific procedures and standards should have been adopted instead.

Some Republicans, including State Sen. John Curran, argue that New Jersey’s bill, which allows cash bail in limited circumstances, could be a model for Illinois to follow rather than a large-scale breakup. scale of the bail system, according to The Pantagraph.

Other Republicans have been much more intense in their criticisms of the bill. State Rep. Patrick Windhorst argued that the bill would allow “virtually all drug offences” to be granted bail, along with burglary, arson and removal.

A social media post, featuring a recognizable siren from the movie “The Purge,” also featured a headline from a PAC-funded conservative direct mail that was stylized as a newspaper.

In that publication, cited by the Christian Broadcasting Network, an article claimed that crimes, including second-degree murder and drug-induced homicides, would be “non-custodial”.

In an Instagram post, Pritzker pushed back against the demonization of “non-custodial” offenses and said victims’ rights activists had broadly supported the measure.

“HB 3653 does not require release and is supported by victims’ rights advocates,” he said. “This ensures that the courts retain the ability to detain defendants who pose security or flight risks.”

How New Jersey Law Works and What Has Happened Since It Was Passed

In New Jersey, judges can still set cash bail, but only if there is a risk the defendant will not appear in court. Prosecutors also cannot seek cash bail unless they can first conclude that a defendant can afford it.

Unlike in Illinois, every felony charge in New Jersey is punishable by detention, giving prosecutors a wider range of charges they can push for remand.

According to Princeton Law School, the number of people in prison awaiting trial in New Jersey has dropped by more than 40%.

The bill also included a provision requiring defendants to be brought to trial within six months of being charged.

What has happened in other states where the cash bond has been reduced?

New York decreased its use of cash bail in 2019.

According to the New York City Comptroller, of the 48,000 people in March 2021 who were waiting at home for criminal cases to be resolved, 96% were not re-arrested and only 1% were re-arrested for a violent crime.

Despite this, nearly two-thirds of New Yorkers believed bail reform led to an increase in crime, according to the Connecticut Mirror.



NBC Chicago

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