The Illinois Supreme Court has halted the elimination of cash bail that was set to take effect January 1.
The high court says it ordered the stay to maintain consistent pretrial procedures throughout Illinois while the justices prepare to take up the matter.
The decision follows days of confusion after Kankakee County Judge Thomas Cunnington ruled cashless bail unconstitutional. Prosecutors in 64 Illinois counties sued to stop the no-cash bail policy under the landmark SAFE-T Act law.
In his decision issued late Wednesday, Judge Cunnington stated that when the legislature tweaked the judiciary’s ability to set bail it violated the separation of powers clause in the Illinois Constitution.
After Cunnington’s ruling, Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul appealed the decision to the Supreme Court and, in a statement, he said cashless bail would still going into effect on New Year’s Day in jurisdictions not covered under the lawsuit.
But that will no longer happen now that the Supreme Court has halted implementation of bail reform.
In a joint statement, The DuPage and Kane County States Attorneys applauded the high court’s move. “We are very pleased with the Illinois Supreme Court’s decision. The equal administration of justice is paramount to the successful and fair administration of our criminal justice system, “ said Robert Berlin of DuPage and Jamie Mosser of Kane.
The Cook County Public Defender’s Office released a statement saying: “We are confident that the Supreme Court will swiftly reverse the lower court finding and confirm the constitutionality of the Pretrial Fairness Act.”
The Supreme Court has not announced when it will hear arguments in the appeal.