In 2021 the state of Illinois passed the Pretrial Fairness Act. This legislation was groundbreaking in that it focused on the rights of the accused.
While the U.S. Constitution ensures all individuals accessed of crimes are innocent until the state proves them guilty, this reformation act reinforced that idea. However, it has faced some roadblocks.
End of cash bond
When a person faces criminal accusations, they typically end up under arrest. A judge then will determine if they can pay money or bond to get out of jail until their trial. Many people argue this is an unfair system as it requires some financial means, which in turn punishes those who have lower incomes. In the Pretrial Fairness Act, cash bond went away. New pretrial release procedures are in place to
Effective date stalled
The Pretrial Fairness Act was to go into effect at the beginning of 2023, but the state Supreme Court issued a stay to stop that from happening. The court wants to hear arguments against the law. One county court already ruled it unconstitutional, which prompted the state’s highest court to act.
The ruling of a Kankakee County judge stated legal procedures, such as requiring a cash bond, are under the authority of the judicial branch of the government. He explained legislators have no authority to make a law dictating the rules of bond.
There is a need to ensure the implementation of the new law is smooth and occurs across the whole state. In the meantime, cash bond remains in effect throughout the state.