(The Center Square) – The opposing sides will air their arguments on whether no-cash bail should be the law of the land in Illinois.
Last fall, dozens of state’s attorneys sued Illinois to stop the state from implementing the no-cash bail law approved as part of the SAFE-T Act in January 2021. A Kankakee County judge found the law violated the Illinois Constitution on several grounds. On New Year’s Eve, the Illinois Supreme Court suspended implementation and accepted an appeal from the state.
Monday, Gov. J.B. Pritzker Pritzker said opponents are playing politics.
“Well I know, you know, it’s the last refuge for those that cannot win at the ballot box to try and take it to court to try and have it overturned,” Pritzker said.
He downplayed the legal challenge.
“I don’t expect that they will overturn it, there’s no rationale that makes any sense to overturn it, so I’m looking forward to that becoming law,” Pritzker said.
State Rep. Patrick Windhorst, R-Harrisburg, previewed what he expects during oral arguments before the Illinois Supreme Court on Tuesday.
“The courts have the authority to operate and administer the court system,” Windhorst told The Center Square. “Bail has been held to be an administrative function of the court and it’s not something that the legislature can impede upon.”
Supporters of ending cash bail say it’s unfair to have a system where people with money can bail out after being arrested while those that can’t have to languish in jail pending trial.
Windhorst said they have real concerns.
“What we believe will occur with the elimination of cash bail is people will be released very soon after committing serious and violent crimes which is going to lead to an increase in the crime rate, an increase of recidivism and a lack of accountability for those committing crime,” he said.
The Illinois Supreme Court hears the case Tuesday. It’s unclear if two justices on the panel of seven will recuse themselves from oral arguments after being the recipients of $1 million campaign donations from Pritzker before last year’s election. While the judicial code of conduct doesn’t require such action, independent observers say any appearance of conflict should lead to recusals to secure the integrity of the judiciary and its decisions.
A ruling isn’t expected for weeks.
This article First appeared in the center square