LAKE COUNTY, Ill. — Ahead of the state’s cash bail elimination beginning next year, the Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office filed over 130 petitions to keep violent crime defendants in jail.
If granted by a judge, the office said the round of petitions would ensure that no defendants charged with murder, a sex offense, or felony domestic battery are released from jail awaiting trial.
Officials said they will continue filing additional petitions for those charged with misdemeanor domestic battery, weapons offenses, shooting offenses, armed robbery, attempted murder, home invasion and other violent felonies.
The office filed petitions against 46 murder defendants in the Lake County Jail, 35 petitions against sex crime defendants and 51 felony domestic battery defendants.
The Democratic majority in Springfield is currently looking to tweak the bill during the short veto-session.
The Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office said further petitions will be filed based on potential changes that occur during the legislative veto-session currently underway.
“We shouldn’t be flinging the doors open on Jan. 1 with the misinformation that’s been put out there as the driver of that,” Gov. Pritzker said. “Let’s fix that.”
For new arrests that occur after Jan. 1, Lake County officials expect seven to eight detention hearings a day.
“Everyone deserves to be safe in all communities across Lake County. The SAFE-T Act will keep violent offenders in custody regardless of how much money they have in their wallets. By filing our petitions now, we are giving the courts ample time to schedule hearings on the current jail inmates. We are following the recommendation of the Illinois Supreme Court Task Force and working with our other justice partners to take proactive steps in advance of January 1, 2023. These steps will make Lake County safer by keeping violent criminals in jail, where they belong.” Lake County State’s Attorney Eric Rinehart said.
Illinois will be first state in the nation to completely eliminate cash bail, though New Jersey mostly eliminated their own cash bail system under former Republican Governor Chris Christie. Changes to bail policy have been implemented in smaller doses around the country, including the county in Texas that covers Houston.