Illinois Supreme Court upholds cashless bail innovation in Tuesday ruling

The Illinois Supreme Court has upheld the SAFE-T Act. The new law was passed after the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Pretrial Practices strongly endorsed bail reform, noting that a defendant who can’t afford bail sees his or her life unravel within days from loss of a job, loss of child custody, or health problems without access to medication.

The commission found that cash bail tends to generate spurious plea deals as defendants plead to a lower-level offense to get out of jail sooner.

Under the SAFE-T Act, judges still maintain discretion to hold any defendant whose release poses a real and present threat to safety, as well as those who violate the terms of their release.

The new law does not allow for the automatic release of people charged with serious, violent felonies, does not prohibit police officers from arresting and removing criminal trespassers from private property if the person poses a threat to himself or others, and does not prohibit law enforcement from acting when someone  violates the terms of their release.

The Illinois Fraternal Order of Police is officially neutral on the changes to the law, as is the Chicago Fraternal Order of Police, the Illinois Sheriffs’ Association and the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police.

Links to summaries of the law from the  non-partisan Civic Federation and the Illinois State Bar Association can be found below

Civic Federation:

Illinois State Bar Association:

Link to opinion:,%202023%20IL%20129248.pdf

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