Crime & Courts | Northwest Herald

Kankakee County judge could rule on prosecutors’ SAFE-T Act lawsuit as soon as Dec. 15

58 county prosecutors argue the law eliminating cash bail violates multiple provisions of the Illinois Constitution

A Kankakee County judge could weigh in on the constitutionality of the state’s SAFE-T Act as soon as Dec. 15, court records show.

Judge Thomas W. Cunnington in Kankakee County is hearing the consolidated lawsuit filed by 58 county prosecutors across Illinois, which seeks to have the law set to take effect Jan. 1 declared unconstitutional or a restraining order entered preventing its enforcement.

The state’s attorneys taking the lead on the case include Jim Rowe of Kankakee County, James Glasgow of Will County, Patrick Kenneally of McHenry County, Jacqueline Lacy of Vermilion County, Eric Weis of Kendall County and Dan Wright of Sangamon County. Other counties involved in the suit include DeKalb, Carroll, Ogle and La Salle.

They filed on Wednesday a motion for summary judgement, which asks the judge to rule the matter on legal grounds without empaneling a jury, swearing in witnesses or hearing evidence in open court, according to a news release from the McHenry County State’s Attorney’s Office.

The motion argues that the SAFE-T Act is unconstitutional in part because it violates the Illinois Constitution’s requirement that legislation focus on a single subject. The prosecutors also argue that it infringes on the separation of powers between different branches of government, restricts judicial authority, violates the constitution’s bail requirements and encroaches on victims’ rights.

The law “violates this bedrock principle underlying our system of governance by depriving the courts of their inherent authority to administer and control their courtrooms,” according to the motion.

The motion also argues that the Illinois General Assembly failed to read the bill on three different days in each house as required by the state Constitution, and that the law is “unconstitutionally vague.”

The defendants in the lawsuits – Gov. JB Pritzker, Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul, Illinois House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch and Illinois Senate President Don Harmon – have until Nov. 23 to file their responses.

A hearing then will take place at 1:30 p.m. Dec. 7, and a ruling could come as soon as 9 a.m. Dec. 15, according to Kankakee County court records.

Emily Coleman

Emily K. Coleman

Originally from the northwest suburbs, Emily K. Coleman is the editor for the Northwest Herald. She spent about seven years prior to that with Shaw Media, first covering the town of Dixon for Sauk Valley Media and then various communities within McHenry County from 2012 to 2016.