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Peoria Defender

Cheers to Pretrial Fairness: Why We Have Extra Reasons to Celebrate This St. Patrick's Day 🍀

Top of the morning to ya, Peorians! Happy St. Patrick's Day, ya lucky leprechauns! 🍀

As you may likely know, I'm a proud supporter of the Pretrial Fairness Act (PFA), which was passed by the Illinois legislature in January 2021 and will go into effect this year after clearing the roadblock in the state Supreme Court. After the great work by Deputy Solicitor General Alex Hemmer during the oral arguments this week to present that the PFA is a Constitutional legislation that restores the presumption of innocence making Illinois safer by ending money bond and the practice of caging people pretrial simply because they cannot afford to buy their freedom. I'm feeling very optimistic about the outcome of the Illinois Supreme Court decision on cash bail. You see, cash bail is a very unfair and unjust system that keeps poor people locked up while they wait for their trial, even if they are innocent or pose no danger to society. It also discriminates against people of color, who are more likely to be arrested and face higher bail amounts than white people. That's why I'm so glad that Illinois passed a law that would abolish cash bail starting from 2023 as part of the SAFE-T Act.

But of course, not everyone is happy about this progressive reform. Some prosecutors and sheriffs filed lawsuits to stop the law from taking effect, claiming that it violates the state constitution and endangers public safety. They also argued that the law was passed without proper debate or input from stakeholders. Well, guess what? The Illinois Supreme Court heard their arguments on Tuesday, and they didn't seem very impressed.

According to various news sources, the justices grilled the lawyers representing the opponents of cash bail, asking them tough questions about their evidence and logic. They also pointed out that other states have successfully implemented similar reforms without negative consequences. On the other hand, they seemed more sympathetic to the arguments of Attorney General Kwame Raoul and Senate President Don Harmon, who defended the law as a constitutional and necessary step to ensure equal justice for all.

So based on these reports, I think we have a good chance of winning this case and making history in Illinois. Cash bail is a relic of a bygone era that has no place in a modern and humane society. It's time to end this practice once and for all. I can't wait for when we can finally celebrate this victory for civil rights!

But wait, there's more! Some naysayers are trying to spread fear and lies about the PFA, claiming that it will let dangerous criminals run amok on the streets. Well, I'm here to tell you that's a load of blarney. The PFA is all about ensuring equal justice for all, while keeping our communities safe. It doesn't eliminate pretrial detention altogether, but it does make sure that people aren't locked up just because they can't afford to pay bail. And it provides for due process protections, victim rights, and community-based services to support pretrial defendants. What's not to love?

The truth is that money bond is an unfair and ineffective system that discriminates against low-income people and people of color, who are more likely to be detained pretrial and face worse outcomes in their cases than those who can afford to pay bail. Money bond also does not guarantee public safety or court appearance, as studies have shown that there is no correlation between bail amounts and recidivism or failure to appear rates. Moreover, money bond wastes taxpayer dollars on unnecessary incarceration costs and harms families and communities by disrupting employment, education, health care, housing, and childcare for those who are locked up pretrial.

That's why I'm asking you to join me in celebrating the PFA and thanking our legislators for passing this historic reform. By ending money bond, we are making Illinois a more fair, just, and humane state for all. Please visit to send a message of gratitude to your representatives today.

Thank you for your support and have a great St. Patrick's Day! 🍻


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