Illinois law allows defendants on home confinement to be unmonitored 2 days a week, leading to more crimes

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CHICAGO, IL – One provision of the SAFE-T Act, a criminal justice reform law in Illinois, permits defendants on home confinement to be unmonitored two days a week.  As one would expect, defendants have gone on to commit crimes during those times.

The SAFE-T Act, which stands for “Safety, Accountability, Fairness and Equity Today,” was signed into law by Democratic Governor J.B. Pritzker in February of 2021. 

The law is an extensive, 764-page document which, according to Illinois Criminal Justice Information, “implements sweeping reform impacting many aspects of the criminal justice system, including pre-arrest diversion, policing, pretrial, sentencing, and corrections.”

According to a report from the Chicago Sun-Times, one “essential movement” provision in this act:

“requires that criminal defendants who are on home confinement while awaiting trial must be given a minimum of two days a week to move freely, without being actively monitored.”

What are they supposed to be doing during this unmonitored time?

The Sun-Times notes:

“During that time, they’re supposed to be working or looking for a job, undergoing treatment for mental illness or drug addiction, attending school or buying groceries, according to the law.”

Not surprisingly, “dozens” of these defendants have not limited their activities to those items, and have decided to commit crimes instead.

The Sun-Times notes, for example, that one defendant was “accused of committing an armed robbery,” an unspecified number were “charged with illegal gun possession and drug dealing,” and three were charged with shoplifting of merchandise valued from $350 to $4000.

Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart has called for scrapping of the essential movement provision of the SAFE-T Act, noting that judges at their discretion were already allowing defendants on home confinement to attend school or work.

He told the Sun-Times:

“At a bare minimum, they should say, ‘If you’re charged with a violent offense, and you’re given home monitoring, you don’t get to wander around free for two days a week.’”

Cook County public defender Sharone Mitchell argued to the Sun-Times that the “vast majority” of defendants are compliant with the terms of their electronic monitoring and do not commit additional crimes.

However, although only 1% of those on the essential movement program have been caught committing crimes, Dart also said that that 1% might be an underestimate, as “most shootings and other violent crimes in Chicago don’t result in arrests.”

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Dart gave an example of the problems inherent in the essential movement provision with the story of 19-year-old defendant Charles Monroe.

Last year, the Sun-Times reports, Monroe was seen throwing a gun from a stolen vehicle.  He was arrested on gun possession and placed on home confinement.

On March 3, 2022, one of the days when he was not being monitored, Monroe was spotted exiting a car and pointing a Draco gun toward the Cook County Jail.  No shots were fired, but investigators did later confirm via GPS that Monroe was near the jail that day.

Investigators searched Monroe’s home on March 7 and found five guns, including a Draco weapon. Monroe is now being held at the jail with no bail on weapons charges, awaiting trial.

Another concerning example Dart described was that of 23-year-old Rickie Adams, who was arrested in 2020 on charges of gun possession and placed on home detention with electronic monitoring.

On February 7, 2022, while he was on essential movement, Adams visited a gun shop in Gary, Indiana, violating not only the essential movement terms but also his directive not to leave the county.

An investigation of Adams’ home on February 18 led to the discovery of three guns, including a stolen Glock pistol.  

Adams has been charged with illegal gun possession, in addition to his previous charges.  

On March 3, he pleaded guilty to his original gun charge.  He was sentenced to three years in prison, but despite his illegal actions and additional gun possession in 2022, he was paroled and credited with time served while on home detention.

He is now free on $500 bail, awaiting trial for his new charges.

According to WBMD News, some lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, as well as representatives of law enforcement, have been calling for dismantling and replacing of the SAFE-T Act.

State Rep. Jehan Gordon-Booth (D-Peoria) told WBMD that the essential movement provision is one of the provisions in the SAFE-T Act that lawmakers are considering changing.

She added:

“We have some refinements that we are going to make to the SAFE-T Act, and frankly, we’ve been working specifically with law enforcement to ensure that we are doing what we need to do to keep Illinoisans safer….

It’s [the essential movement provision] not an issue anywhere outside of Cook County, frankly, but it is an issue in Cook County. 

“So it looks like we are going to make a refinement to that to give judges discretion in that regard….

“We’re going to put the onus and we’re going to put the decision back in the hands of judges in regard to that specific issue.”

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Gun-controlled Chicagoland: Judges keep sending felony suspects home and they keep trying to kill people

Originally published March 31, 2022

CHICAGO, IL – Judge Charles Beach handed down a little wisdom to 20-year-old Keyon Hayes at the end of his November bail hearing on felony gun charges. Consider it unheeded.

Judge Beach said to Hayes:

“Mr. Hayes, you seem like a reasonable young man, and it seems like you care about your future. If that’s the case, start making decisions commensurate with that type of concern … The fastest way to go down in a spiral is to be in possession of a weapon. It’s as simple as that. Good luck to you, sir.”

 

The spiral commenced March 26 when, while free on a recognizance bond, Hayes allegedly opened fire on his ex-girlfriend’s house in the Austin neighborhood. One of the bullets struck a man in the head, leaving him brain dead, Assistant State’s Attorney Loukas Kalliantasis said.

The bond had been set by a subsequent judge and Hayes had been ordered to wear an ankle monitor that was supposed to enforce a 24-hour curfew.

Hayes is the 12th person charged with killing or shooting someone, or attempting to, in Chicago this year while awaiting trial on at least one felony charge. The alleged crimes have involved at least 21 victims, five of whom have died, authorities said.

The saga began in early November, when Chicago police allegedly saw Hayes carrying a black satchel with an extended magazine sticking out of it and arrested him. So far, so good.

But then bond court Judge Beach ruled Hayes could go home on a 7 p.m.-to-7 a.m. curfew by posting a deposit of $300 on a $3,000 bail, which Hayes could not raise. Two months later, Judge Peggy Chiampas released Hayes on his own recognizance with a 24-hour curfew, according to court records.

The curfew would be enforced by an ankle monitor administered by the office of Chief Judge Timothy Evans.

In 2019, Judge Evans publicly stated, “we haven’t had any horrible incidents occur” under the court’s bond reform initiative. Last year, the chief judge’s office told CWB Chicago that curfew participants do not wear GPS-equipped bracelets. Instead, it said the court’s home monitoring system:

“. . .only detects whether a body-worn device is in range of the base station during scheduled curfew hours.”

Kalliantasis said on March 29 that his office was in the process of collecting data from Hayes’ ankle monitor as evidence of involvement in the shooting.

With those building blocks in place, a freed Hayes on March 25 allegedly texted his former girlfriend, saying:

“So you going to ignore me? Don’t say nothing when you die.”

The next evening, Hayes left his house and went to a spot where he knew she and two friends would be hanging out, Kalliantasis said.

Hayes sent the former girlfriend another text that threatened to “nail” the two friends she was with, according to Kalliantasis, prompting the group to leave the location.

As they did, Hayes approached the woman’s car and fired several rounds at her and one of the friends, Kalliantasis said. No one was injured.

 

Hayes knocked on the woman’s front door about 30 minutes later, at 8:42 p.m. He was admitted into the house, where he started arguing with his ex about their relationship. He was asked to leave, and he complied, only to return a few minutes later and fire shots into the home from the street, Kalliantasis alleged.

One of the friends, a 32-year-old man standing on the front porch, was struck in the head and knee. The other man escaped injury. Hayes’ former girlfriend was not injured.

ShotSpotter technology and 911 calls sent police to the scene, where officers arrested Hayes nearby after a short foot chase. Police report the officers found a handgun that Hayes had dropped while running. Preliminary tests show it expended the five shell casings found at the scene, Kalliantasis said.

Hayes allegedly admitted to shooting at the victims both times — in the car and at the home.

In addition to the felony gun case, Hayes has a pending felony manufacture-delivery case, Kalliantasis said.

Assistant Public Defender Suzin Farber said Hayes is the father of a small child and is in the 12th grade.

In November, a different public defender said Hayes was a ward of the state, according to CWB Chicago. Hayes personally told Judge Beach that he was trying to get into the Job Corps. He pleaded with Beach to release him from custody so he could pursue that opportunity. After hearing Hayes speak, Beach lowered the amount he’d need to pay to get out of jail from $500 to $300 and delivered the speech that was supposed to stop that spiral into a life of criminality.

Finally, with enough evidence that Hayes just might be a threat to the community, Judge Maryam Ahmad on Tuesday ordered him held without bail on three counts of attempted first-degree murder and one count of aggravated battery by discharging a firearm. She also ordered him held without bail for violating the bond terms in his two pending cases.

It remains to be seen if Hayes will at last take the judge’s words to heart.

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