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We now have four months of decisions after the SAFE-T act began. The cases have given us guidance on how the Act is to be applied during detention hearings.

When a court determines if a defendant in custody should be detained or released the factors they look to are stated in the statute.  There are enumerated offenses such as murder that will always require a person to remain in custody until the case is resolved.  There are other situations such as Agg. DUI that do not require detention but detention may be ordered with the correct set of facts.  Many other cases will hardly ever amount to a detainable offense (Unlawful Possesion of a Controlled substance).  The cases that have been issued have relied upon the wording of the statute that requires a defendant be released unless they are proven to be a real and present danger to persons in the community.  There have been many cases where persons are detained for offenses that prior to the SAFE-T act being enacted they would have been released on cash bail.  This appears to have not been the intended consequence of the Act but it is now reality.  Unfortunately, if a defendant is ordered detained it may be nearly impossible to secure release on the charge prior to trial.  

Most of the appellate decisions issued from all districts are now addressing pretrial detention issues created by the SAFE-T act.  They are interesting to read.  I would suggest reviewing them at the fifth district's site: https://ilcourtsaudio.blob.core.windows.net/antilles-resources/resources/2ae64ae7-0bf3-4b1e-8bd0-4d73a650cb18/People%20v.%20Forthenberry,%202024%20IL%20App%20(5th)%20231002.pdf

Brian L. Polinske
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