A protest was held near the office of Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow to support the no-cash bail provision of the SAFE-T Act and to oppose legislation that protestors contend would undermine that provision.
On late Thursday morning, more than 30 people gathered outside the Will County Courthouse in Joliet as part of a protest held by the Illinois Network for Pretrial Justice. The courthouse is across the street from the Will County Annex Building, where Glasgow’s office is located.
A similar protest was held earlier outside the offices of DuPage County State’s Attorney Robert Berlin.
One of the protestors, Briana Payton, a member of Illinois Network for Pretrial Justice, said Illinois is close to implementing the provision of the SAFE-T Act that eliminates cash bail for defendants but it has been subjected to “misinformation and lies and fear mongering.”
“Those lies are being used by the state’s attorneys to further the plan for a trailer bill that would literally completely gut the Pretrial Fairness Act and would completely undermine everything the legislation was meant to do,” Payton said.
Payton referred to Senate Bill 4228, which she said is being framed as something that will clarify the pretrial fairness provision of the SAFE-T Act but it’s a “disguised attempt to completely gut it.”
The Illinois Network for Pretrial Justice contends the bill would allow prosecutors to ask anyone be jailed indefinitely without bail and allows judges to use vague, broad standards on whether someone should be jailed.
Democrat State Sen. Scott Bennett said in a Sept. 26 news release that Senate Bill 4228 clarifies the language of the SAFE-T Act and improves how officials can enforce the law.
Bennett’s legislation would give judges more discretion to determine whether someone is a flight risk and make it so pretrial release provisions are not retroactive, according to an Oct. 4 report from Chicago public TV station WTTW.
Protestors also took issue with Glasgow himself, repeatedly chanting that he was a liar and a racist.
Glasgow, a Democrat, filed a lawsuit challenging the SAFE-T Act, which has become a key issue in the race between Democrat Gov. JB Pritzker and Republican State Sen. Darren Bailey, who seeks to repeal the law.
Glasgow said through a spokeswoman that his opposition to the SAFE-T Act is not about politics or party affiliation but public safety.
Joliet Township Trustee Karl Ferrell, who was at the protest, said Glasgow was spreading misinformation about the SAFE-T Act.
“He should have a nose like Pinocchio. He’s a liar,” Ferrell said.
Ferrell referred to a statement where Glasgow said, “I got 640 people in the Will County jail. All their bonds will be extinguished on January 1 and 60 are charged with murder and many others with violent class X felonies.”
Ferrell said under the SAFE-T Act, defendants still will be subject to a detention hearing. If judges feel someone is a threat to society during that hearing, they will stay in jail permanently until their trial date, he said.
Judges will still have discretion to order suspects with serious charges to be held in jail pending trial if they are deemed a threat to public safety or a flight risk but it does impose higher standards on those conditions, according to a Sept. 15 Associated Press report on the law.
Glasgow’s office did not respond to questions about the protest Thursday.