With the implementation of no-cash bail and other controversial elements of the SAFE-T Act set to take effect across Illinois in less than four months, State Senator Donald DeWitte (R-St. Charles) is calling for a full repeal of the Act so that legislators can iron out significant issues that will place Illinoisans’ safety at risk and place unaffordable burdens on the court system. He is also offering a petition that Illinois residents can sign to urge the repeal.
“I can’t walk down the street without being stopped by someone who asks how the SAFE-T Act can be stopped,” said Sen. DeWitte. “Constituents are particularly worried about criminal offenses that will, as of January 1, be considered ‘non-detainable.’ People have legitimate concerns, and we need to pump the breaks on implementation so the long list of unintended consequences tied to the Act can be addressed.”
DeWitte continued, “According to state’s attorneys across the state, the Act will make it extremely difficult for them to hold violent criminals pre-trial, including crimes as serious as murder if the accused person no longer poses a significant threat to a specific identifiable person. General risk is no longer good enough, and that heightened standard will cause some very dangerous individuals to be released within hours of their arrest.”
Those same state’s attorneys have said offenses like second-degree murder, arson, aggravated battery, kidnapping, burglary, robbery, intimidation, aggravated DUI, aggravating fleeing & eluding, drug offenses, threatening a public official, and drug-induced homicide could no longer meet the standard for pre-trial detention.
Kane County officials have said about 130 current detainees in Kane County will be released at the end of the year because the offenses for which they are currently being held will become “non-detainable. Kane County officials have also expressed concern over the cost of implementing the provisions of the SAFE-T Act and have requested several additional staff members to review body camera footage on prescribed timelines, additional prosecutors and public defenders, court reporters and bailiffs to meet mandates within the bill. The County is also building two new courtrooms because of the Act.
“In their rush to pass their bill during the waning hours of the 101st General Assembly, the SAFE-T Act includes timelines for initial court hearings that do not account for weekends or holidays,” added Sen. DeWitte. “In order to be in compliance with the Act as written, court hearings will need to be held seven days a week, 365 days a year. This is just one of many sloppy errors within the legislation that need to be cleaned up. Trailer bill after trailer bill is not the answer. We need to repeal the Act and rewrite it so we can preserve the beneficial elements, like the use of body cameras, and eliminate portions that are not in the best interests of Illinois residents and crime victims.” Sen. DeWitte’s “Repeal the SAFE-T Act” petition can be accessed at: https://il-33-senate.web.fireside21.app/forms/form/?ID=4.