This article contains editorial content by a staff writer for Law Enforcement Today
CHICAGO, IL – America’s scourge of hard-left politicians continues to do its work of destroying law and order, always under the banner of “criminal justice reform.”
Illinois Democrats recently pushed through a law governing electronic monitoring that can only be described as pro-criminal. It’s almost as though the criminals have a lobbying group that heads to Springfield each legislative session to purchase the items on their wish list.
This giant gift to the criminal element in Illinois goes by the name of The Pretrial Fairness Act, portions of which went into effect at the beginning of the year. The act was passed in January 2021 by the Illinois legislature as part HB 3653, a “criminal-justice reform” bill.
The Pretrial Fairness Act was written by criminal defendant advocates with the Coalition to End Money Bond and the Illinois Network for Pretrial Justice and sponsored by state Sens. Elgie Sims, Robert Peters and Justin Slaughter.
One portion of the law allows defendants on electronic home monitoring to leave their homes twice a week.
Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart Says There Are Serious Flaws In System With Murder Suspects Being Out On Electronic Monitoring https://t.co/FM6j2I80Fu pic.twitter.com/Cg2HQeyhEU
— CBS Chicago (@cbschicago) January 11, 2022
The law guarantees periods of movement “to perform essential tasks” two days a week for people ordered to stay home on electronic monitoring, according to Law Enforcement Today. That leaves an awful lot of room for criminals whose “essential tasks” might include murder, drug dealing, theft, or any number of other activities that actual incarceration slows down if not prevents.
Law Enforcement Today notes:
“While to some, electronic monitoring sounds good, even with the new laws listed above, opponents point to several different examples of when alleged criminals on electronic monitoring have gone on to commit new crimes. One example occurred recently when Chicago Police were patrolling on January 12th when they saw a vehicle run a stop sign.”
As officers moved to stop the vehicle, its driver, later identified as Xavier Davison, got out and tried to walk away. As officers moved in and looked inside the vehicle, they saw a firearm in plain view.
Police discovered that Davison had been released on electronic monitoring while awaiting trial for attempted murder — a charge that dated back to December 2018. In addition, Davison was a convicted felon, so he wasn’t allowed to be in possession of a firearm for any reason.
Davison appeared before Cook County Judge Susana Ortiz for the new charges, which included violating the terms of his release. She ordered that he be remanded in custody without bail for violating the terms of release over the attempted murder charge, but she set bail at $200,000 for the new gun charge. There should be some sense that goes into such rulings.
A month after being ordered to stay in the house on electronic monitoring for a felony gun case, cops allegedly found him in his car with a gun, $3,700, and a Tupperware of cocaine. But he didn't break Illinois' new electronic monitoring rules.https://t.co/g3dU9rVUTX
— CWBChicago (@CWBChicago) January 8, 2022
Another portion of the law gives defendants a two-day head start if they intend to abscond. Defendants on electronic monitoring cannot be charged with escaping until they have been in the wind for at least 48 hours.
A third section of this law requires a mandatory review of a defendant’s electronic monitoring orders every 60 days to determine if the monitoring should continue.
As if those “reforms” weren’t frightening enough, the Pretrial Fairness Act will also abolish cash bond for defendants, something that has been a raving success in New York City, if you are a criminal. Not so great if you are a victim of a criminal or just a law-abiding stooge.
When you have leftist politicians creating laws that criminals love, there is no need for them to take a chance gaming the system on their own. Fortunately, that portion of the law will not go into effect until January 2023, so there may be time for a red wave to sweep in and pound some sense into Illinois lawmakers’ heads.
But of course, Sen. Sims was proud of the work done, which Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed into law in February 2021. Sims said:
“These reforms should merely be the first steps we take to transform criminal justice in Illinois.”
“We must reimagine accountability. We must reimagine transparency. We must reimagine incarceration. These reforms are a beginning.
“This historic moment is the result of a monumental effort on the part of countless people, from those who testified during the 30 hours of public hearings on these issues to those who have pushed for some of these reforms for years, and especially to the Illinoisans who signaled their support.”
CWB Chicago, a community-funded news service that focuses on public safety issues affecting Chicago’s North Side, publishes a daily roundup of examples of how none of this benefits society. Here’s one incident CWB Chicago reported earlier this month:
“Just four weeks after a judge ordered Jorge Aguilar to stay in his house on electronic monitoring to await trial on charges of being a felon in possession of a firearm, Chicago police allegedly found him reclining in his car with a handgun on the floor and a Tupperware containing 50 grams of cocaine on his passenger seat. There was also $3,700 cash in his glove box.
“But Aguilar, 27, won’t be charged with escaping from electronic monitoring because he wasn’t out of his house for more than two days.”
Aguilar’s new alleged activities should have been enough to convince someone to keep him locked up pending trial but it didn’t. A Cook County judge again ordered him released on GPS monitoring and told him to stay in his residence while awaiting his court dates. What are the chances he will obey these orders? Slim to none, especially now that he has two days to go anywhere and do anything before checking back in to prove he’s obeying the orders.
Nearly two years ago, in August 2020, Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown acknowledged that GPS monitoring is a failure when granted to violent felons. After a bloody Independence Day weekend during which two children, ages 7 and 14, were killed, Brown pleaded:
Chicago Mayor and Police Superintendent call out violent criminals being released on electronic monitoring
January 6, 2022
CHICAGO, IL – Democrat Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and the Police Superintendent have publicly spoken out about releasing violent offenders on electronic monitoring.
They believe that some of those offenders go on to commit other violent crimes while on the device.
A Chicago-area judge rejected a request from Mayor Lori Lightfoot to halt electronic monitoring for accused violent offenders, allowing those charged with dangerous crimes to return to the streets. https://t.co/8pzExzTh4U
— FOX 32 News (@fox32news) January 5, 2022
Lightfoot and Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown attacked Cook County officials for continuing with the practice of releasing alleged violent offenders back onto the street with a GPS monitor.
Lightfoot noted that 2,300 “violent, dangerous people” had been released after initial court appearances without having to pay bail and placed on electronic monitoring.
Lightfoot noted that these alleged violent offenders are a threat to the community if nothing else because of the crimes they allegedly committed.
Lightfoot said that these people have all been accused of various violent crimes, such as attempted murder, murder, kidnapping, carjacking, and sexual assault.
Lightfoot then noted the number of people who were on electronic monitoring that went on to allegedly reoffend while waiting for their cases to play out in court.
She noted that 133 people, most of whom were wearing GPS anklets, allegedly committed other violent crime.
Because of this, Lightfoot claims the alleged criminals do not believe there are any consequences for their actions which emboldens them to continue criminal activity. She said:
“We are sending a message to them [criminals] they are free to go about their business…and [commit violent crimes] again and again and again.”
Lightfoot then noted an even more alarming fact, that 90 people are currently out on the streets, in the community wearing GPS monitoring that have been accused of murder.
How anyone who is accused of murder be out on the streets free to commit another murder pending their court appearance is baffling.
Lightfoot said, despite her stance on this issue, typically endorses criminal justice reform, especially in the jail system. She said that jails should not be full of people who simply cannot afford bail while awaiting trial, but she does not believe that should apply to those accused of violent crimes.
“It is mind-blowing when you think about what has happened under the moniker of criminal justice reform. That is not criminal justice reform. What that is, is making our streets more dangerous.”
This mindset supports the fear that citizens and tourists seemingly have when they are in the city. Lightfoot says the fear has made the people in the city believe that their leadership has lost control. She said:
“We cannot live in a world where residents of neighborhoods feel like the gangs and the violent, dangerous people have control; where they fear – those residents fear the gangs, and that they think we have lost control. And unfortunately, that is sadly true in too many neighborhoods.”
”This idea that people on electronic monitoring are responsible for the violence in the city is just untrue, The vast majority of people on electronic monitoring in Cook County are successful," @SharoneMitchJr https://t.co/HKBof4AdWp
— The Law Office of the Cook County Public Defender (@CookCoDefender) January 5, 2022
In addition to demanding that Cook County judges end the practice of releasing violent offenders with electronic monitoring, Lightfoot and Brown are pushing to disrupt the gang cycle in the city. She said:
“In too many neighborhoods, gangs are targeting young boys – young boys with promise, young boys with a whole history an opportunity in front of them. But they’re targeting them with false promises of wealth, an easy life, and a sense of purpose and belonging.”
Lightfoot is pushing for the City Council to work on and pass a proposal named the Victims’ Justice Ordinance to help in their fight of disrupting the gang cycle. The ordinance would provide more opportunities for police to seize cash and other assets from gang members.
In addition to the above ordinance, Lightfoot has pledged to increase the number of officers who are designated to attack the gangs in the city.
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