Safe-T-Act Lawsuit: Glasgow Wants To Stop Controversial Measure

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JOLIET, IL —Will County’s longtime State’s Attorney James Glasgow on Friday filed a lawsuit at the Will County Courthouse hoping to overturn the controversial SAFE-T-Act from being implemented in January based on numerous constitutional violations.

Glasgow’s lawsuit seeking a declaratory judgment and injunction is brought against Governor J.B. Pritzker, Attorney General Kwame Raoul, House Speaker Emanual Christopher Welch and Senate President Don Harmon in their official capacities.

“It is my sworn duty as Will County’s State’s Attorney to protect the people of Will County and the State of Illinois. To put it in plain and simple terms, this is not about politics; it is about public safety,” Glasgow, who is also a Democrat, said in Friday’s press release. “Sadly, I have received veiled threats over my opposition to this legislation, but I must put the safety of my constituents first. On this issue, I’ll grab a line from Tom Petty — “You can stand me up at the gates of Hell, and I won’t back down.’”

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Governor J.B. Pritzker is now being sued by a powerful fellow Illinois Democrat, long-time Will County State’s Attorney Jim Glasgow. File/John Ferak/Patch

According to Glasgow’s office, his 168-paragraph complaint explains that the legislation enacted through House Bill 3653 violates Article 4, Section 8 of the Illinois Constitution which requires that bills “shall be confined to one subject.”

“The legislation violates Article 1, Section 9 of the Illinois Constitution which provides that ‘all persons shall be bailable by sufficient sureties ….” and Article 1, Section 8.1 which provides ‘the right to have the safety of the victim and the victim’s family considered in denying or fixing the amount of bail,” the State’s Attorney’s lawsuit declared.

Find out what’s happening in Jolietwith free, real-time updates from Patch.

Furthermore, Glasgow noted:

The legislation violates Article II, Section 1 of the Illinois Constitution, the separation of powers clause, which prohibits one branch of government from exercising “powers properly belonging to another.”

The legislation violates Article IV, Section 8(d) of the Illinois Constitution which provides that “[a] bill shall be read by title on three different days in each house .…”

The passage of this enormous piece of legislation – a bill that grew from 7 pages to 764 pages in a couple days, and was presented in the wee hours of the morning without an opportunity for lawmakers or stakeholders to read let alone comprehend the full text – violated fundamental constitutional provisions designed to ensure our system of governance functions transparently and serves the people it was established to protect.

“Our state officials knew the right way to amend our Constitution is to place a referendum before the voters; they did it with the graduated tax referendum, and they are doing it now with the worker rights referendum that will be on the ballot in November,” Glasgow remarked in Friday’s announcement. “They also know that a bill must receive three readings and be limited to a single subject to ensure transparency and full debate. Unfortunately for the people of Illinois, none of this occurred.

“I fully support reforming our bail system and enacting criminal justice legislation that passes constitutional muster. New Jersey’s criminal justice reform legislation and how it came about offers an example of the right way to do it, through a constitutional referendum and legislation that has been thoroughly vetted and appropriately tailored. They passed a referendum in 2014 and then worked in a bipartisan fashion on the enabling legislation. Over the last five years, New Jersey has reduced its jail population by 44 percent with virtually no increase in crime. The New Jersey law respects the role played by law enforcement, the prosecutors, and the judiciary in protecting their communities from violent offenders. I stand ready to work with lawmakers to accomplish this in the State of Illinois.”

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