Call for Repeal of SAFE-T Act After New Law Lets Violent Criminals Evade Justice

The Chicago Sun-Times reported last week on multiple cases of violent criminals not being charged for felony murder due to the recently enacted “SAFE-T” Act rushed through the General Assembly and signed into law by Governor Pritzker:

“For the second time this week, Cook County prosecutors cited changes to the state’s felony murder statute as the reason for not charging a man accused of being involved in a deadly shootout that led to a murder.

“On Wednesday, Assistant State’s Attorney James Murphy said 22-year-old Tayvon Powe would have faced a first-degree murder charge prior to last summer when the statute’s changes went into effect.

“‘If this was prior to July of [2021] when the change in the law that went into effect, this defendant would be facing first degree murder charges,’ Murphy told Judge Mary Marubio at Powe’s bond hearing. ‘… He is not facing those first-degree murder charges at this point.'”

House Republican Leader Jim Durkin issued the following statement in response to the latest Sun-Times report.

“For a second time this week, a violent criminal has escaped accountability for instigating a shootout that resulted in the death of a young man on the streets of Chicago. Governor Pritzker and his Democrat allies’ so-called ‘reform’ has already destroyed the families of two victims and robbed them of the justice they deserve. Illinois is truly a consequence-free state for criminals. Repeal this law and restore justice in Illinois.”

A key criminal charge, “felony murder,” no longer exists on the statute books of Illinois. This criminal charge could, until only months ago, be placed against a person if a series of events took place and in that fact pattern (a) someone was murdered, and (b) the perpetrator is allegedly guilty of a felony. However, a new law, advertised by Illinois Democrats as “criminal justice reform,” means that prosecutors can no longer charge an alleged perpetrator with felony murder. The new law took effect in July 2021.

Earlier last week, the Sun-Times reported that a man accused of starting a shootout that killed an innocent bystander wouldn’t face murder charges, after a grand jury cited the SAFE-T Act in declining to indict Travis Andrews for the murder of Melinda Crump, who was killed after someone shot back after Andrews allegedly fired in that person’s direction.

House Republicans held a press conference last week to again call for the repeal of the dangerous SAFE-T Act, citing the Andrews case and the end of felony murder charges as a key reason why the Act is allowing violent criminals to escape justice.