SAFE-T Act Lawsuit Before Circuit Court on Dec. 20

The controversial SAFE-T Act, which will abolish cash bail requirements for persons charged with most criminal offenses (including violent criminal offenses), will face a constitutional challenge in Illinois district court on Tuesday, December 20.  Sixty-two Illinois state’s attorneys, representing more than half of the counties in Illinois, have filed lawsuits against the controversial law.  The lawsuits have been consolidated into one case that will be heard in Kankakee County circuit court.  

Constitutional reasons to strike down the SAFE-T Act include the constitutional standing of cash bail, which the new Act purports to abolish; the priority explicitly granted by the Constitution to crime victims’ rights, which is infringed and ignored by various elements of the new law; the privacy rights of police officers, which are infringed or violated by provisions of the Act that allow anonymous complaints to be made against them; and other issues. 

The date to hear this case, originally December 7, was moved back by thirteen days as a result of amendments to the SAFE-T Act passed by General Assembly Democrats in the post-Thanksgiving “veto session.”  The amendments were included in House Bill 1095, passed in the House on Thursday, December 1 with no House Republican votes.  Governor Pritzker signed the SAFE-T Act trailer bill into law on December 6.  Both sides have the right to amend their briefs to reflect the provisions of the amended law.  A ruling is expected on Wednesday, December 28.  The new law is scheduled to go into effect on January 1, 2023.