Illinois awaits judge’s decision on SAFE-T Act


KANKAKEE COUNTY, Ill. — A self-imposed deadline put in place by a Kankakee County Circuit Court judge to make a ruling on the constitutionality of the SAFE-T Act arrived Wednesday, but an official ruling has yet to be made.

Thomas Cunnington of the 21st Judicial Circuit Court said he wanted to make his decision before the SAFE-T Act’s provision eliminating cash bail takes effect on New Year’s Day, saying as such last week that he wanted to make a decision by Dec. 28.

The plaintiffs — prosecutors and sheriffs from across Illinois —allege the landmark legislation violates the separation of powers and improperly amends the state constitution.

The defendants — Governor Pritzker, Attorney General Kwame Raoul, House Speaker Emanuel Chris Welch and Senate President Don Harmon — counter that lawmakers followed the constitution when they passed the sweeping overhaul in 2021.

State’s attorneys from all around Illinois combined to file 64 different lawsuits contesting the constitutionality of the SAFE-T Act, which were all later consolidated into one lawsuit that is at the center of Cunnington’s deliberations.

With cash bailed eliminated, people in jail will be able to request a pre-trial hearing where a judge will make a decision about their release. Similarly, new defendants will go before a judge who will determine whether or not they should be let go while awaiting trial.

Stay with WGN News as this article will be updated once more information becomes available.

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