SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WGEM) – The elimination of cash bail is fast approaching for Illinois following the passage of the SAFE-T act in January 2021. Some judges have even begun the transition to no cash bail, but prosecutors are saying no cash bail will make their job a lot harder.
One state’s attorney spoke out against the elimination of cash bail today. He argued in some situations, having an offender out on the street because there was no bail will harm victims and make them afraid.
“It’s not like we lock people up who are innocent, awaiting trial,” Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow said. “I do everything I can to make certain that if I can’t prove a case beyond a reasonable doubt, I dismiss it.”
There are certain criteria that would need to be proven in order for suspects to be detained under the reasoning of being dangerous.
First, the prosecution needs significant proof that the person committed the crime. The suspect must also pose a threat to a specific person. Lastly, there cannot be rules that would create a danger or hinderance to the defendant.
However, the American Civil Liberties Union argued the retention of cash bail means those held on bail are detained under the presumption of guilt instead of innocence. In the previous example, assuming someone may murder again indiscriminately can be interpreted as a presumption of guilt.
Besides the elimination of cash bail, the prosecutors also said the increased work required by their offices would be too burdensome to get ready by the new requirements in the law.
In criminal cases, prosecutors and defendants are required to share discover information. The language of the law would require this information to be presented within 48 hours, which one prosecutor said is too difficult of a requirement.
“If someone murders a person, and that’s the only person that we’re aware of that they’re a danger to, that doesn’t fulfill the burden,” Glasgow said. “I mean any normal sane person would say that’s insane, that’s absurd, that’s ridiculous it can’t be in the law but it’s in the law.”
Rep. Justin slaughter (D-Chicago), one of the lawmakers who pushed for the SAFE-T Act, today called the criticisms “dog whistles” and “fearmongering.”
“I think it’s misrepresenting the objectives of the safety act, misleading the public which is the issue and challenge that I personally have concerns with,” Slaughter said.
Advocates of the measure argue this will keep those who are too poor to make a bail payment out of jail unnecessarily.