Raoul files intent to appeal judge's ruling on end of cash bail

SPRINGFIELD - Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul on Friday notified the state Supreme Court that he will appeal a Kankakee County judge's ruling that eliminating cash bail for criminal defendants is unconstitutional.

Raoul's notice requests the high court reverse Wednesday's ruling by Circuit Judge Thomas Cunnington. Cunnington decreed that the General Assembly violated the Constitution's separation of powers clause by eliminating cash bail with the SAFE-T Act. The issue of bail should be left to the judiciary, he said.

The rest of the SAFE-T Act, which updates rules and procedures for law enforcement and the courts, remains intact and takes effect Sunday.

Prosecutors and sheriffs from 64 counties - including McHenry and Will - filed the lawsuit challenging the bail provision, called the Pretrial Fairness Act. Cunnington's ruling did not include the injunction the plaintiffs requested, and it does not apply to courts in Cook, Lake, DuPage or Kane counties.

"We're monitoring developments, but here in Will County, we find Judge Cunnington's ruling applicable," said Assistant State's Attorney Kevin Meyers, adding that it will be status quo in county courts on Monday.

Cunnington agreed with the plaintiffs that the Constitution provides for bail as a means of ensuring a defendant's appearance at trial. Raoul and other defendants contend that reform is there as reassurance to the accused that they have an opportunity to remain free while awaiting trial.

Two state's attorneys in counties where cash bail would be eliminated - Robert Berlin, a Republican, in DuPage and Jamie Mosser, a Democrat, in Kane - asked the court to provide uniformity while it ponders Raoul's request to overturn the Kankakee County ruling.

What to expect after cash bail ends Jan. 1, with insight from New Jersey and New York

Kankakee judge: SAFE-T Act's ending of cash bail is unconstitutional

Effect of judge's ruling regarding end of cash bail differs across the suburbs

Article Comments
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the "flag" link in the lower-right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.