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No-Cash Bond Rules Need Clarification

So say judges in the 1st District Appellate Court, who ruled that procedural filings and judicial hearings still must take place when prosecutors seek to deny bail in light of changes made two years ago in Cook County to reduce bond for petty offenses. They used the case of a Chicago Public Schools teacher who in February was accused of molesting students and possessing child pornography to make their point. Jason Gil received a no-bail order that was sustained by judges in Cook County Circuit Court under the likely threat he might re-offend and appealed on procedural grounds.

The appeals panel concurred, saying rules changes aimed at lessening the burden on both the court and the community don’t supersede the Illinois Criminal Code, which mandates several steps that must be taken before a no-bail order can be issued. Among them, that a petition be submitted by the state and a hearing conducted to verify its assertions, including witness and written testimony about the risk to safety and of flight. Gil posted a $1 million cash bond must wear an electronic tag as part of the conditions of his release. The panel cited confusion over guidance for non-probational offenses, along with statistics that show a sharp rise in no-cash bail orders for Class X felonies in the wake of the 2017 move made to reduce the county jail population.