According to TikTok, “The Purge” Is Coming to Illinois. While I think that might be stretching it, there are reasons for concern.
Beginning January 1st, Illinois is going to what some call a “No Cash Bail” system. The official name for HB 3653 is the SAFE-T (Safety, Accountability, Fairness, and Equity- Today) ACT. The 764-page bill was snuck through the Illinois legislature in less than a week back in January 2020. In January 2020, everyone was rushing for police accountability, and that’s how this bill was gift-wrapped at the time.
Besides the no cash bail people are talking about, there is what I like to call the “Party Weekend” law and “Your Place is My Place” law, which I will go into detail about below.
I try not to get sucked into the post on social media because everybody knows everything, and people don’t want to take the time to learn the facts. I live right outside Chicago, and one of my friends posted a meme that has been floating around about HB3653. The bill has finally hit national media outlets, and now the “fact checkers” have come out calling the meme “fake news.” I saw where one person tried to prove it was fake news by posting a meme from a left-leaning group claiming that what a right-leaning group had posted was false. Does anyone besides me see the irony of that? Don’t believe them because they are right-winged; I can prove it because this left-wing group told me so. Folks, this is not a right vs. left issue. This is a crime and violence issue.
Many major news outlets claim people are making a big deal out of nothing, and most refer to data from groups like Injustice Watch and The Center For American Progress.
The Center For American Progress has a long list of reasons guns need to be banned, and bail needs to be tossed out the window. The problem with their information is that it is based on reports that use misleading data. For example, they say:
“For decades, tough-on-crime policies and rhetoric have produced systems of mass criminalization and incarceration that have not made communities safer.”
That statement is based upon a report written in 2017 that relies on data as far back as the 1990s. If you do not believe me, read the publication for yourself and skip to the bottom to look at all the “facts” they refer to.
Let’s look at what the County Sheriffs, District Attorneys, other law enforcement, and a long list of groups have to say.
“However, on the whole, the Legislature lumped a bunch of bad unrelated ingredients into a 600-plus page bill at 3 a.m. when everyone was asleep, and delivered a [expletive] sandwich, making it exponentially more difficult to provide for public safety,” says Kankakee County States Attorney Jim Rowe (D).
(c) Detention only shall be imposed when it is determined that the defendant poses a specific, real and present threat to a person, or has a high likelihood of willful flight.
(e) Eligibility: All defendants shall be presumed eligible for pretrial release, and the State shall bear the burden of proving by clear and convincing evidence that
(2) the defendant poses a real and present threat to the physical safety of a SPECIFIC, identifiable any person or persons, by conduct which may include, but is not limited to, a forcible felony, the obstruction of justice, intimidation, injury,
In simple terms: They will need to prove you are going to commit a crime AGAIN, and you are going to do it to someone SPECIFIC, not the public at large. If not, then you walk until your court date with no bail.
The fact checkers are attempting to do a smoke and mirrors routine and point out that a judge “may” require bail. That’s true, but first, you have to get the criminal before the judge, and then you still have to PROVE the requirements to request bail, and that’s a tough nut to crack.
“Under the new Safe-T-Act, entire categories of crime, such as aggravated batteries, robberies, burglaries, hate crimes, aggravated DUIs, drug-induced homicides, all drug offenses, including delivery of fentanyl and trafficking cases, are not eligible for detention regardless of the severity of the crime or a person’s risk to a specific person or the community, unless prosecutors prove by clear and convincing evidence the person has a ‘high likelihood of willful flight to avoid prosecution,'” says DuPage County State’s Attorney Bob Berlin.
If you look back at the meme that started this story, you will see where some of the validity comes from. Numerous States Attorneys have said something similar, so it’s not like this is the only county that is of the opinion they will not be able to hold people.
The Republic Times published a great flow chart.
This one is what I am calling the “Your Place is My Place.” because the police will have an almost impossible time physically removing you from a property for trespassing.
(a-1) Law enforcement shall issue a citation in lieu of custodial arrest, upon proper identification, for those accused of traffic and Class B and C criminal misdemeanor offenses, or of petty and business offenses, who pose no obvious threat to the community or any person, or who have no obvious medical or mental health issues that pose a risk to their own safety. Those released on citation shall be scheduled into court within 21 days.
Illinois Statutes Chapter 720. Criminal Offenses §-3.Criminal trespass to real property: In most instances, trespassing is a Class B Misdemeanor.
This translates to Trespassing = Class B Misdemeanor = Paper Ticket
Orland Park Mayor Keith Pekau, “Someone could decide to live in your shed, and all we could do is give them a ticket.”
The SAFE-T Act:
❌ Abolishes cash bail for almost every offense.
❌ Individuals on electronic monitoring must be in violation for 48 hours before law enforcement can act.
❌ Prohibits officers from removing trespassers from your residence or business. pic.twitter.com/ZX8tlQdelR
— Keith Pekau (@KeithPekau) September 7, 2022
Injustice Watch, whom I mentioned above as a source people are getting their information from, published an article claiming to debunk that trespassers will be given a ticket.
CLAIM: The SAFE-T Act prohibits police officers from arresting someone for trespassing.
FACT: The SAFE-T Act does require police officers to ticket people accused of low-level offenses, including criminal trespass to property, unless they pose an obvious threat to themselves or the community. That means police officers still have the discretion to arrest someone if they determine that they threaten public safety.
They didn’t debunk anything but instead said that the person needs to be threatening public safety; otherwise, they get to stay wherever they are and shall be issued a ticket.
(730 ILCS 5/5-8A-4.1)
Sec. 5-8A-4.1. Escape; failure to comply with a condition of the electronic monitoring or home detention program.
“Who knowingly violates a condition of the electronic monitoring or home detention program and remains in violation for at least 48 hours is guilty of a Class 3 felony” or a “Class B misdemeanor” depending on what they are on release for.
Section Sec. 5-8A-4.1. does not say anything about hours one through forty-seven, so what are police supposed to charge you with during that time frame? Prosecutors seem to interpret it as meaning that if you are on electronic monitoring, you can disappear for 48 hours, but if you return before hour 49, no one will come looking for you because there is not much they can do. I have not even been able to find a definitive answer on how this works. In theory, could you return home for a day and then disappear again for two more because it doesn’t appear to have clear guidelines? That’s why I nicknamed this one the “Party Weekend” law.
From the Chicago Tribune, “For instance, violent offenders who are released on electronic monitoring and choose to violate the terms of their release have to be in violation for 48 hours before law enforcement can do anything about it.”
Here is an excerpt from a joint statement from Brown County State’s Attorney Mike Hill, Sheriff Justin Oliver, and Mount Sterling Police Chief Brandon Norris say, “full of contradictions, ambiguities, and is very poorly drafted.” “The act is so badly written that no two people read it the same way,”
Therein lies the problem because of the contradictions and lack of clarification on a lot of the content.
I have only listed a fraction of comments from law enforcement and state attorneys that have spoken out against this. As a matter of fact, the only States Attorney that has really come out in support of it is Kim Fox, and she’s the one already in charge of the revolving door of Cook County.
The following state attorneys have filed lawsuits in the past few days saying HB3653 violates Illinois State Constitution, and there will most likely be more that follow.
McHenry County State’s Attorney Patrick Kenneally filed a lawsuit Monday and said, “it is a threat to public safety.”
Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow also filed a lawsuit last week and said, “It is my sworn duty as Will County’s State’s Attorney to protect the people of Will County and the State of Illinois. To put it in plain and simple terms, this is not about politics; it is about public safety.” The full lawsuit can be found here.
“Well, let’s just set the record straight with everybody. The SAFE-T act is designed to keep murderers, domestic abusers, violent criminals in jail,” Gov. Pritzker said. Thank you for the clarification, but you forgot to mention the fact that lesser offenses mean you can roam free.
The crimes he is trying to point out are essentially “forcible felonies,” and anyone who has taken a firearms class that covers the law should remember that term because it is one of the requirements for using deadly force for self-protection in states like Illinois.
(720 ILCS 5/2-8) (from Ch. 38, par. 2-8)
Sec. 2-8. “Forcible felony”. “Forcible felony” means treason, first degree murder, second degree murder, predatory criminal sexual assault of a child, aggravated criminal sexual assault, criminal sexual assault, robbery, burglary, residential burglary, aggravated arson, arson, aggravated kidnaping, kidnaping, aggravated battery resulting in great bodily harm or permanent disability or disfigurement and any other felony which involves the use or threat of physical force or violence against any individual.
(Source: P.A. 88-277; 89-428, eff. 12-13-95; 89-462, eff. 5-29-96.)
Once again, this enforces the fact that unless they can prove the person is going to commit another VIOLENT act against someone SPECIFIC, they can walk without bail.
Here is what I know. The calls I have received for concealed carry classes and training on how to use OC spray have spiked in the past few weeks, and other instructors have said the same thing. In a way, this bill has been a good thing for the right to carry because I have had more people than ever contact me for concealed carry classes that used to be anti-gun than I never imagined. Many of these people are from downtown Chicago which is traditionally not gun friendly.
“One hundred of Illinois’ 102 county prosecutors opposed the bill, and police were never consulted before it passed,” former Riverside Police Chief Tom Wietzel told The U.S. Sun. There have been multiple cities and municipalities, including Naperville, Boone County Board, East Peoria, Orland Park, Bureau County, and more. I think you get the idea that there really is not any support.
You can interpret the SAFE-T Act however you want, but what really matters is how the people that enforce the law interpret it. A long list of prosecuting attorneys and members of law enforcement say they are not going to be able to hold people for certain crimes, so if they say they will not be able to do it, then who is going to do it?
Hopefully, more of the state’s attorneys will sue and win, but unfortunately, we may be stuck with the SAFE-T Act, so buckle up and get trained.