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  • Writer's pictureLucas Nava

Windhorst: "I have been a leading voice in opposing the end of cash bail"

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Illinois State Rep. Patrick Windhorst (R-Metropolis) released a statement regarding amendments made to the SAFE-T Act in a Facebook post on Dec. 1.

"I have been a leading voice in opposing the end of cash bail, as I believe it will lead to an increase in crime in our state," Windhorst said in his Facebook post. "I have also been a staunch opponent of the SAFE-T Act's provision that potentially forces victims of violent crime to appear at pretrial detention hearings within 48 hours of the crime that was committed against them, putting them back in the same room with their perpetrator. I believe allowing anonymous complaints against police officers and using those anonymous complaints as a way to fire police officers denies our law enforcement officials due process."

Windhorst included a YouTube video of him addressing his fellow lawmakers on the House floor and urging them to vote no on House Bill 1095, a bill containing the proposed SAFE-T Act amendments.

"Throughout this process, the proponents have claimed that the elimination of cash bail and the SAFE-T Act is an effort to give judges discretion to detain those who judges considered to be dangerous or likely to flee the jurisdiction, but that's not what the SAFE-T Act does and that's not what this bill does," Windhorst said.

"What we are doing is adding to a laundry list of potentially detainable offenses. We've created a detention net. That detention net still has holes. If we want judges to have discretion, give them discretion. Allow judges to hold individuals that they believe are dangerous or likely to flee the jurisdiction. Instead, we've chosen a different route, and what that means is we'll see those holes in the detention net, and we'll be back in a year to try to patch the hole. And then we'll find another hole, and we'll be back in a year and try to patch that hole," he continued.

During an interview with WTTW News, Windhorst stated that he saw many of the changes made to the original SAFE-T Act as "vindication" of his and his fellow Republicans' concerns.

“For the last several months, we have been accused of misleading people, being disingenuous, being fearmongers," Windhorst told WTTW News. "And then I read this amendment and most of the issues that we raised are included. Detainable versus non-detainable offense, we were told ‘there’s no such thing.’ And then you read specific offenses we mentioned as listed in the bill. We were correct in what we were saying in raising those flaws.”

While Windhorst ultimately voted against House Bill 1095, it still advanced in both the House and the Senate, and it is currently awaiting Gov. J.B. Pritzker's (D-IL) signature.

Windhorst is a Metropolis resident who has served in the Illinois House since 2018. His legislative experience includes serving on both the Restorative Justice and the Judiciary-Criminal Committees.

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