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No-cash bail, gun ban challenges remain under advisement with the Illinois Supreme Court

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(The Center Square) – The Illinois Supreme Court has released some opinions in recent weeks but high-profile cases are still pending.

Thursday, the state’s high court released four cases, People v. Urzua, People v. Sneed, People v. English and PML Development LLC v. Village of Hawthorn Woods. Earlier this month, they released People v. Pinkett.

One case still pending was brought by state’s attorneys and sheriffs last year challenging Illinois’ no-cash bail law. The law was supposed to go into effect Jan. 1, but was put on hold after a Kankakee County judge issued a temporary restraining order. The state’s high court heard arguments in March where Kankakee County State’s Attorney Jim Rowe said the law violates the separation of powers.

“And the simple way for the legislature to accomplish all of these reforms: take the question, put it on a ballot, propose it to the people, let them vote on it at an election,” Rowe said.

Deputy Solicitor General of Illinois Alex Hemmer argued that the statute does not violate the Illinois Constitution.

“The elimination of monetary bail is thus consistent with the bail clause because it safeguards defendants’ rights to seek pretrial release,” Hemmer said.

Justices Elizabeth Rochford and Mary O’Brien both took part in the hearing, despite questions of conflict of interest around their campaign funds last year each receiving $1 million from Gov. J.B. Pritkzer, a lead defendant in the case.

In May, Rochford and O’Brien also took part in state Rep. Dan Caulkins’ challenge of Illinois’ gun ban where Pritzker is a lead defendant. The justices and the court denied a request from Caulkins’ attorney for the justices to recuse themselves.

“There’s some speculation that the Illinois Supreme Court will hold off issuing their opinion, waiting to see what the federal court system, the Seventh Circuit [U.S. Court of Appeals] and then the U.S. Supreme Court have to say about this law,” Caulkins, R-Decatur, told The Center Square. “That would alleviate some of their problems if there’s a decision made on the federal side.”

The federal gun ban case will be heard by the federal appeals court June 29. Caulkins said they shouldn’t have to wait for the Illinois Supreme Court.

“They owe us a decision and I think it’s unfortunate if they’re going to sit on their hands until they see what some other courts going to do,” Caulkins said.

Recent rulings can be found at the Illinois Supreme Court’s website IllinoisCourts.gov.

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