Noll Provides Reaction to Supreme Court Ruling on No Cash Bail Ruling

By Benjamin Cox on July 19, 2023 at 11:44am

Morgan County State’s Attorney and current president of the Illinois State’s Attorneys Association Gray Noll says the Supreme Court’s ruling on the Pretrial Fairness portion of the Safe-T Act is going to change the face of the state’s court system.

In the 5-2 decision, the Supreme Court voted to eliminate the cash bail system. Proponents of the measure say the new system will ensure pretrial detainment will be determined by the danger an individual poses on the community.

Noll says state’s attorneys across the state will now have much more work to do: “It will drastically change how we do business in the criminal justice system both here in Morgan County and all across the state. It certainly will involve more hearings, more time constraints on those hearings, and definitely more use of the criminal justice system’s resources. It is the law of the land and every state’s attorney will certainly abide by it. We have taken an oath to uphold the law, and we all will work within the constraints of the SAFE-T Act to do the job that we were ultimately elected to do, which is to keep our communities safe.”

Noll says the wider spread effects of no cash bail will hit smaller, downstate counties the hardest because it eliminates a direct revenue stream to run the court system and the local county jails: “Right now, in Morgan County if somebody is arrested, their bond is set. A criminal defendant can then post that bond. Once the criminal defendant is found guilty or pleads guilty, that bond money is often taken to pay fines, fees, and court costs. That revenue stream is going away. Right now, we have bond money up on cases that we are prosecuting, but in three to four years, all of those cases will be concluded and Morgan County will certainly lose a significant revenue stream with the ending of cash bail.”

Noll says that another strain local courts may face is possibly that defendants will continuously fail to appear: “Now, they are supposed to be brought in front of the judge and the same kind of processes happen where the judge will determine if they should be held in pretrial detention or not. But yes, I think we will absolutely see an uptick in people failing to appear in court. Not every case will be brought in front of the judge because they won’t have the ability to issue a warrant for failing to appear; but according to the law, they do have some ability to issue a warrant in some cases for failure to appear.”

Morgan County’s court will now have to spend the next 60 days getting ready to put in place the mechanisms of having no cash bail for arrests moving forward. The stay on the Pretrial Fairness Act will officially be lifted by the Illinois Supreme Court on September 18th.