The Illinois Supreme Court on Monday combined lawsuits filed by more than half of Illinois’ state’s attorneys challenging the legality of the omnibus criminal justice reform bill known as the SAFE-T Act.
The bill’s repeal of cash bail in the state is set to take effect on January 1. Other parts of the 700-plus page legislation are already in effect.
According to Kankakee County State’s Attorney Jim Rowe, the supreme court agreed to consolidate 57 lawsuits, with his county’s suit serving as the lead case. The prosecutors asked the court to combine the suits in October.
While each of the lawsuits was different, three common themes are:
- The SAFE-T Act addresses a range of issues in violation of the state Constitution, which requires legislation to “be confined to one subject.” In addition to bail reform, the SAFE-T Act requires police to wear cameras, allows for decertification of cops, revises electronic monitoring statutes, and amends the Crime Victims Compensation Act.
- The elimination of cash bail is a violation of the Illinois Constitution, which says persons “shall be bailable by sufficient sureties.”
- The SAFE-T Act should be blocked because it was passed in a matter of hours, whereas legislation is supposed to be before the General Assembly for at least three days.
Rowe, the Kankakee County State’s Attorney, said state’s attorneys from Will, Kendall, Vermilion, Sangamon, and McHenry counties were designated to assist his team with the litigation.
“Each County has put a tremendous amount of work into the process thus far and we all look forward to collectively representing the People of the State of Illinois,” Rowe said.