COOK COUNTY, IL, Dec. 29, 2022 - Last night, a judge in Kankakee County issued an opinion that part of the SAFE-T Act is unconstitutional. The judge’s ruling impacts the Pretrial Fairness Act, the portion of the SAFE-T Act that reforms pretrial release conditions and ends money bond. All other measures of the SAFE-T Act remain intact, and we anticipate the judge’s ruling will be reviewed by the Illinois Supreme Court. Additionally, this ruling applies only to the parties in the lawsuit, which does not include Cook County. As such, Cook County is proceeding with full implementation of the SAFE-T Act on January 1, 2023 as planned.
As leaders in Cook County’s criminal court system, we remain committed to the principles of pretrial fairness and the elimination of money bond. The historic reforms in the Pretrial Fairness Act represent an important step toward improving community safety, addressing decades of harm to Black and Brown communities, and guaranteeing equal justice for all under the law—not only for those who can afford to pay.
History has shown us that the status quo is unjust, does not contribute to community safety and is not a solution to crime. This lawsuit and resultant ruling are the culmination of a concerted effort to undermine reform; those who attempt to vilify these reforms are proponents of a system that has contributed to the racial injustices of mass incarceration and the over-policing of Black and Brown communities, which has diminished safety, resiliency and trust for many residents.
The SAFE-T Act and the Pretrial Fairness Act were thoughtfully drafted to prioritize safety for victims, accused people and entire communities. We look forward to the Illinois Supreme Court’s review and clarification regarding the constitutionality of these laws. Until then, we stand firm in our commitment to the smooth and successful implementation of the SAFE-T Act in its entirety. We look forward to welcoming in this historic reform for Cook County in the new year and are confident the rest of the state will join us soon.
Cook County Office of the President: Cook County is the second largest county in the United States representing 5.2 million residents in Illinois. The President of the Cook County Board of Commissioners is the chief executive officer (CEO) of Cook County and oversees the Offices Under the President and presides as president of the Forest Preserves of Cook County.
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Law Office of the Cook County Public Defender: The Cook County Public Defender's mission is to protect the fundamental rights, liberties and dignity of each person whose case has been entrusted to us by providing the finest legal representation.
The Law Office of the Cook County Public Defender is one of the largest criminal defense firms in the United States, with more than 450 attorneys and more than 650 employees overall. Each year the office represents tens of thousands of Cook County residents charged with every type of criminal offense and child protection violation.
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Cook County Justice Advisory Council: The Cook County Justice Advisory Council (JAC) coordinates and implements Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle’s criminal and juvenile justice reform efforts and community-safety policy development. The mission of the JAC is to promote equitable, human-centered, community-driven justice system innovation and practice through rigorous stakeholder engagement, policy work, service coordination, and grantmaking that increases community safety and reduces reliance on incarceration.
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Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office: The Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office (CCSAO) is the nation’s second-largest prosecutor’s office and is led by Cook County’s first Black woman State’s Attorney Kim Foxx. Foxx brings her vision to this office to fairly administer justice in the pursuit of thriving, healthy, and safe communities for every person who steps foot in Cook County, no matter their race, income, or zip code. Foxx has been recognized as one of the most progressive prosecutors through her forward-thinking, innovative strategies to intercept the cycles of violence and crime and bringing change to a criminal justice system rooted in systemic racism. Follow @SAKimFoxx on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook and @CookCountySAO on Twitter and Facebook.
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Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County: The Office of the Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County is led by Clerk Iris Y. Martinez. The office manages records for the world’s second largest unified court system. The Clerk of the Circuit Court Iris Y Martinez was the first Latina elected to the Illinois Senate and first Latina elected as the Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County. Clerk Martinez is committed to serving the residents of Cook County and the participants in the judicial system in an efficient, effective, and ethical manner.
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