***FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE***
Statement from Commissioner Sean Morrison
Cook County Commissioner Sean Morrison: Cook County must protect judicial integrity by delaying implementation of the SAFE-T Act
Orland Park, IL – In the interest of fairness and the equal treatment under the law, Cook County government must delay implementation of the SAFE-T Act in light of the recent ruling from 21st Judicial Circuit Chief Judge Thomas Cunningham striking down certain aspects of the law, according to Cook County Commissioner Sean Morrison.
Judge Cunningham’s ruling strikes down the cash bail and pre-trial release provisions of the SAFE-T Act. The ruling only applies to the 65 counties involved in the lawsuit, but Morrison says if the law is eventually deemed to be unconstitutional – the ruling will apply statewide.
Morrison is issuing the following statement opposing the joint statement from the Cook County Office of the President; Law Office of the Cook County Public Defender; Cook County Justice Advisory Council; Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office; and the Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County indicating the SAFE-T Act would be enforced despite Judge Cunningham’s ruling.
“There is a strong chance the SAFE-T Act’s pre-trial release and cash bail provisions will ultimately be found to be unconstitutional. While the initial ruling does not apply directly to Cook County, the higher courts could ultimately agree with the trial court and apply the ruling statewide. Changing the County’s policies only to potentially have to change them back will create a crisis in our criminal justice system. We will have what amounts to a two-tiered criminal justice system and a potential legal crisis as our judicial system sorts out how to handle cases adjudicated under a set of rules no longer applicable. We could avoid this chaos and confusion by simply delaying the implementation of the SAFE-T Act until we have a clear direction on how to proceed from the courts. It would be prudent for Cook County to prioritize fairness and the rule of law before proceeding down this path.”