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By BETH ZUMWALT
The controversial SAFE-T act will not be taking affect in Scott County, thanks mainly due to a law suit filed by the Scott County State’s Attorney Rick Crews and dozens of other Illinois State’s Attorneys.
The act was scheduled to go into affect Jan.1 and would eliminate cash bail for all defendants except those accused a major offenses and those determined to be flight risks.
Other portions of the bill, that went into effect Jan. 1 were: limiting when defendants can be deemed flight risks, allowing defendants under electronic monitoring to leave home for 48 hours before they can be charged with escape, and preventing police from arresting non-violent trespassers, body camera requirements and protocols and they way grievances by defendants against officers are handled.
A hearing on the suit was held Dec. 28 in the 21st Judicial District, which encompasses Iroquois and Kankakee Counties. A judge ruled the act was unconstitutional and placed a stay on the bill. The stay only applied to counties that had participated in the suit.
“It really didn’t make that much of a difference to Scott County,” Crews said. “But we felt is was unconstitutional and you never know what might happen. We don’t detain as hard as some counties because we don’t have a jail, but there are times when detention is warranted.”
After the Dec. 28 ruling in circuit court, the governor and attorney general appealed to the Illinois Supreme Court. The higher court upheld the circuit courts’s decision, making their decision Saturday, Dec. 31. The Supreme Court ruling applies to all counties in Illinois, not just those who joined the lawsuit. The Illinois Supreme Court said their ruling was to “maintain consistent pre-trial procedures throughout Illinois.
“We knew there would be appeals,” Crews said. “They are trying to fix an antiquated justice system.”