July 19, 2023
In this Issue: Illinois Supreme Court Rules Cashless Bail Constitutional ● Lake County State’s Attorney Eric Rinehart Looks Forward to a New Pre-Trial Detention System That Will Protect Victims And Hold Violent Offenders ● Let’s Talk Politics Event in Highland Park ● Moms for Liberty—Who Are They? ● Lake Dems Booth Returning to Lake County Fair ● ICYMI (In Case You Missed It) ● Upcoming Events
Illinois Supreme Court Rules Cashless Bail Constitutional
Lake County State’s Attorney Eric Rinehart Looks Forward to a New Pre-Trial Detention System That Will Protect Victims And Hold Violent Offenders
On July 18, 2023, the Illinois Supreme Court upheld the SAFE-T Act, which changes Illinois’s pre-trial detention system from a “wealth-based” system to one in which judges can order dangerous offenders to be held without access to their cash. Lake County State’s Attorney Eric Rinehart, who supported ending cash bail during his 2020 campaign, made the following statement:
The Supreme Court has made our communities safer and our justice system fairer by upholding the SAFE-T Act. Instead of domestic abusers, murderers, and sex offenders using their cash to obtain release, judges can finally hold dangerous individuals prior to trial.
The victim advocates closest to these issues (such as the Illinois Coalition Against Domestic Violence and the Network) support this new law, and they have not been swayed by the months of misleading statements about its contents or its impact.
At the same time, our jail will no longer hold non-violent offenders simply because they do not have money to post bail. We will finally be addressing how a wealth-based system disproportionally jails Black and Brown defendants. We can finally begin to live up to the ideal that access to money should not lead to different justice systems for different defendants.
This safety-based system (as opposed to wealth-based system) has worked for decades in our federal courts and in Illinois’s juvenile courts. This past fall, many individuals were lying to the public by saying that the end of “cash bail” means the end of “pre-trial detention.” These lies failed to turn the public against the authors of the SAFE-T Act. Now, the Supreme Court has affirmed this important reform that has been shaped by law enforcement, prosecutors, victim-rights advocates, and community leaders since the Supreme Court Commission Report of April 2020.
Let me reiterate this: we will still jail defendants prior to trial, and the defendants we do hold will be the dangerous weapon offenders, drug traffickers, child molesters, murderers, and domestic abusers who will no longer be able to use their own cash (or their accomplice’s cash) as an escape hatch from justice. Our communities will be safer because of today’s ruling.
The Safety, Accountability, Fairness and Equity-Today (SAFE-T Act) is a criminal justice reform that includes the elimination of cash bail as a method of pre-trial release, mandates use of body-worn cameras for all police departments, and calls for the preservation of police misconduct records.
The SAFE-T Act was stayed in late December 2022, prior to its January 1, 2023 effective date, after downstate state’s attorneys representing 31% of Illinois residents filed a lawsuit in Kankakee.
In its ruling this week, the Supreme Court ruled that the legislature was allowed to change the detention system from one based on wealth to one based on individualized judicial decisions focusing on risk to the community. The court also ruled that the Act did not violate the separation of powers principles of the Illinois Constitution and that it actually enhanced constitutional protections for victims.
The Court’s ruling makes the Act effective on September 18, 2023. State’s Attorney Rinehart added, “We were ready in December of 2022, and we will be ready in September of 2023.” Rinehart conducted several trainings for prosecutors and police officers throughout 2022.
On the effective date, the Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office will file petitions to detain offenders who are arrested after September 18, 2023. Judges will decide whether someone is detained or not detained awaiting trial based on an analysis of threat to the community and flight risk. If a judge rules for detention, those individuals arrested after the effective date will no longer be able to access cash to gain release.
Click here to watch Lake County State’s Attorney Eric Rinehart as he unpacked the decision on television this morning.
Let’s Talk Politics Event in Highland Park
Join us Tuesday, July 25 at 7pm, at Highland Park Presbyterian Church, 330 Laurel Avenue, Highland Park, as Tenth Dems, Lake Dems, and Moraine Township Dems co-host another session of the Tenth Dems University (TDU) Let’s Talk Politics series. This session follows other Let’s Talk Politics events that were recently held in Gurnee and Waukegan. Admission is free. Open to Democrats.
Let’s Talk Politics is a series of moderated discussions that provides opportunities for Democrats to talk about important issues of the day with each other and guests that often include elected officials, candidates, political analysts, and authors. RSVP here, or for more information, email email@example.com.
Moms for Liberty—Who Are They?
We see a group of concerned mothers; they must be out doing good things for all of our kids, right? Au contraire, mon frère. In fact, Moms for Liberty would have the teaching of “unpleasant” parts of American history, including slavery and indigenous genocide, removed from our school curricula. This extremist group is invading local politics in an effort to take over school boards to ban books, including those that value, or even acknowledge LGBTQ+ people and members of other minority groups. And Lake County is not immune to their efforts. Lake Dems worked hard this year to prevent the hijacking of a number of our school boards and library boards. Thanks to our many dedicated volunteers, we defeated right-winger candidates at the polls.
Moms for Liberty started with three Florida moms fighting COVID-19 restrictions in 2021. They have become so influential in the Republican Party that Trump, DeSantis, and other presidential candidates spoke at the group’s recent summit. The Southern Poverty Law Center has labeled the group an “extremist” organization for their continued harassment of community members, work to advance the spread of anti-LGBTQ+ misinformation, and effort to scrub diverse and inclusive material from lesson plans.
So how do we fight back? Democrats know that an education for all children that includes marginalized and underrepresented voices allows for a full understanding that fosters an inclusive environment when they grow up. Furthermore, if we censor the difficult parts of our history as a country, how could we ever learn from our mistakes to build a better future?
We must continue our work to elect Democrats at every level of government. Let’s elect the people who represent our values and who will keep working to enact laws like the LGBTQ inclusive curriculum bill Governor Pritzker signed in 2019, and the anti-book ban legislation he signed this year.
Lake Dems Booth Returning to Lake County Fair
Lake Dems will once again have a large booth in the Expo Hall at the Lake County Fair. We’ll be there from Wednesday, July 26, to Sunday, July 30, all day every day, sharing our values with fairgoers, selling buttons, meeting candidates who drop by, and having fun!
We need help with set up on Tuesday, July 25 at 1pm, volunteers to staff the booth during vendor hours during the fair, and assistance with take down on Sunday, July 30 at 6pm. Click here to volunteer. The fairgrounds are at 1060 East Peterson Road, Grayslake.
ICYMI (In Case You Missed It)
SUNDAY, JUL. 23
Shields Township Democrats Community Connection Kickoff. 1:30pm, North Chicago. More.
WEDNESDAY JUL. 26 through SUNDAY JUL. 30
Come visit the Lake Dems Booth at the Lake County Fair. 10am daily, Lake County Fairgrounds, Grayslake.
For the complete list of Upcoming Events, go to lakedems.org/events.
Click here to submit your event for consideration.
How Do I Join Lake County Democrats?
Lake County Democrats is made up of people like you, people who are passionate about building better communities and a better world. We’re a grassroots political organization, working with Democrats in all parts of Lake County – from Antioch to Highland Park, Libertyville to Waukegan, Barrington to Zion. Become a member online now, (individual: $35/couples $60 – though more is always appreciated), or send a check payable to Lake County Democrats to P.O. Box 671, Lake Zurich, IL 60047. Questions? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.