Winnebago, Boone county state’s attorneys file ‘SAFE-T Act’ lawsuit

Published: Oct. 6, 2022 at 4:29 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

(WIFR) - Both the Winnebago and Boone county state’s attorneys announced lawsuits Thursday, joining a number of Illinois counties concerned with the constitutionality of the “SAFE-T Act” bill, set to enact on Jan. 1.

“Many of the provisions of the bill accomplish shared goals of fairness, equity and transparency,” said Boone County State’s Attorney Tricia L. Smith. “However, some aspects of the bill, including taking away the court’s discretion to detain individuals on any criminal charge based on facts of the charged case, the defendant’s criminal history, prior failure to come to court, and/or the danger they pose to individuals or the community at large, are very troubling for the safety of our community.”

Jo Daviess and Ogle counties state’s attorneys announced their lawsuits on Tuesday.

“Filing suit here in Winnebago County seeks to ensure that any decision a judge makes in another county will apply here,” said Hanley, who shared a statement Sept. 9 listing his concerns about the bill.

“From a resource setting we’re not even close to ready, putting aside some of the problems with some of the language of the law,” said Hanley.

By becoming part of the growing number of state’s attorney’s across Illinois filing suit against the Illinois governor and attorney general, if just one judge in the state holds the bill from becoming effective on Jan. 1, 2023, the same hold will apply to all counties who’ve filed a lawsuit.

“I cannot ignore the fact, that as currently drafted, this law is unconstitutional,” said Winnebago County State’s Attorney J. Hanley during a news conference Thursday. “It will create unjust results, and it does not protect the public,” Hanley said.

Hanley expects more than 50 states attorneys across Illinois to file suit. Other counties in the region already on board with a lawsuit include Stephenson, Ogle, and Jo Daviess.

23 News reached out to the Illinois Attorney General’s office for response to these lawsuits, but it declined to comment.