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Illinois Supreme Court Prevents the Elimination of Cash Bail Just Hours Before It Was Scheduled to Take Effect

One day before this historical change in the criminal justice system was set to take effect, the Illinois Supreme Court on Saturday blocked the elimination of the cash bail system in the state.

The state’s controversial SAFE-T Act, which changed the bail system and was established as the Pretrial Fairness Act, was put on hold this week after a Kankakee County judge sided with the 64 counties that had filed to prevent it from going into force.

Chief Judge Thomas Cunnington stated in his decision that “legislative fiat may not be used to evaluate the appropriateness of bail, which remains with the authority of the court.”

On Friday, Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul requested the Illinois Supreme Court to overturn Cunnington’s ruling.

As the state appeared to be entering the new year with much more than half of the state continuing to use the outdated cash bail system and the rest 38 counties, including Cook, attempting to bring in the new cashless bail era, state’s attorneys in DuPage and Kane counties asked the top court to issue an order providing clarity.

The Pretrial Fairness Act will not take effect until further notice, according to a state Supreme Court order issued on Saturday, “to maintain uniform pretrial proceedings throughout Illinois.”

The Supreme Court has not scheduled a time to hear arguments on Raoul’s appeal, and it was unclear when the justices would take up the case, thus it is unclear how long the temporary stay will last.