AG Candidate Tom Devore in Markham to Condemn the SAFE-T Act (Markham, IL) — Illinois Attorney General candidate Tom Devore stood in front of the Markham Courthouse today to speak out against the controversial SAFE-T Act. Joining him were David Sheppard, candidate for Illinois State Representative for the 36th district and Paul McKinley, a community activist who faced off against current US Representative Robin Kelly in the 2013 elections.
Devore condemned the Safety, Accountability, Fairness and Equity-Today (SAFE-T) Act, saying that the amendment that eliminates cash bail was added to a previously-read bill and was snuck in during a late-night legislative session. “The public didn’t know about that bill…that process is an absolute abuse of our due process rights,” said Devore. “This bill was crammed through at the last minute by special interest groups without our legislature, both democrat and republican, having ample opportunity to review it and for the public to see it.”
He went on to say that Governor Pritzker is playing games with words when he says that the law doesn’t actually allow for “non-detainable” offenses. “It’s true,” explained Devore, “that ‘non-detainable’ does not exist in the statute. What the statute does is that it enumerates types of crimes that detention is possible for. It lists them in the statute….by deduction…anything that is not enumerated, you cannot detain. That is non-detainable.” He went on to list some of the offenses that one cannot be detained for, including robbery, kidnapping and second degree murder.
David Sheppard, chief of police for a local municipality and candidate for 36th district state representative, spoke on the act as well. “I don’t understand how the parties got together and decided that this was a good idea. That’s an unsafe act.” He said that there are currently 36 people who were out on bond for murder who re-offended with a violent crime.”How is this safe?” he finished. Both he and Devore maintain that this will happen more often once the SAFE-T Act goes into effect.
Devore also explained some of the nuances of the SAFE-T Act. According to him, in the event that a suspect is arrested and charged with a crime that is determined to be a “non-detainable” offense, he or she is released and a hearing is then set to determine if the suspect should be remanded without bail. When asked if flight risk is a determining factor, Devore said that it is, however using a suspect’s past record of court appearance attendance cannot be used to make that determination. Furthermore, Devore said that the process to charge and detain a suspect is cumbersome. If a suspect fails to appear in court, a warrant cannot be issued immediately, and instead, the suspect must be served, much like the civil court process, with a Rule to Show Cause.
When asked about the possibility of a different piece of legislation that would address the affordability of bond, Devore said, “I think that there’s a lot of merit to the initial conversation, of not having bail to where financial limitations are the sole reason why people can’t get out, especially for nonviolent offenders.” Devore further explained that, “When someone posts a bond, one of the reasons that is, is that it encourages them to come back to court and to finish the legal process. That is a financial incentive.”
Ex-offender activist Paul McKinley said that the law would be devastating to the black community. “There is be a lot of revenge shootings,” he said. McKinley went on to explain how if someone gets arrested for second degree murder or kidnapping, he will be released right back into the community to retaliate or be retaliated on. Called the “purge” law by some, the Safety, Accountability, Fairness and Equity-Today (SAFE-T) Act goes into effect January 1st, 2023 and gets rid of cash bail entirely. It also limits who can be arrested and detained based on the crime they are accused to have committed.
AG Candidate Tom Devore in Markham to Condemn the SAFE-T Act