State passes sweeping ‘criminal justice reform’, which will release criminals, gang members into streets

ILLINOIS- On Monday, Governor J.B. Pritzker signed a bill making Illinois the first state in the country to completely abolish cash bail payments for jail release for individuals who have been arrested and are waiting for their case to be heard.

According to reports, Gov. Pritzker signed a number of sweeping criminal justice and police reforms into law, eliminating cash bail being one of those reforms.

Under the Pretrial Fairness Act, which was spearheaded by the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus, a judge can still detain an individual if they are charged with a felony such as murder or domestic battery.

However, individuals who are not deemed a threat to the community will no longer be required to obtain cash in order to be released rom jail prior to their case being heard or prior to trial.

Reportedly, the change will not take effect until January 2023, but criminal justice reform advocates said that the bill’s passage is nothing short of historic. The Illinois Justice Project said in a statement:

“The end of case bond, one of the most important reforms, will put meaning into our criminal justice system’s ‘presumption of innocence.’”

In its report from spring 2020, the Illinois Supreme Court Commission in Pretrial Practices strongly urged bail reform, stating that defendants who cannot afford bail can see their life unravel within days, including loss of a job, loss of child custody, and health problems without access to medication.

Additionally, it tends to generate spurious plea deals, which is when someone charged with a crime, although claiming their innocence, can plead guilty to a lesser charge to get a shorter jail sentence. At a press conference, Gov. Pritzker said in a statement:

“I hope the rest of the country, if they’re looking at this, they can see a model that says that we can get rid of a tiered system of public safety so that…especially if you’re a poor person of color, you’re not saddled with a really, really horrible form of public safety.”

Illinois Sen. Robert Peters, Black Caucus Senate chair called the decision a “historic first step toward winning real safety and justice in our communities.” He added:

“It’s a bit surreal to be standing here today to see that the fight paid off and money bond will soon be abolished at a state level and it inspires me to keep up advocating for our communities. At the end of the day, this isn’t about me, but all of us working toward making everyone in this state whole.”

At the bill signing, Gov. Pritzker said in a statement:

“This legislation marks a substantial step toward dismantling the systemic racism that plagues our communities, our state, and our nation, and brings us closer to true safety, true fairness, and true justice.”

In contrast, House Republican Leader Jim Durkin, a former prosecutor, said:

“The elimination of cash bail basically says that we respect the honor system for violent criminals and gang members.”

He said that Illinois will not become safer because of the bill. He added:

“This past year, Chicago has been traumatized with epic acts of violence through murders and car-jackings with no apparent end in sight. At a crucial time when we should coalesce around the good men and women of law enforcement, Governor Pritzker has turned his back on them with his signature on House Bill 3653.”

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Chicago man out on bond for armed carjacking, firing ‘at least 14 shots’ arrested again on weapons charges

February 11th, 2021

CHICAGO, IL – An 18-year-old man who was arrested in August of 2020 under stolen vehicle charges was released on a recognizance bond following that case.

And guess what he was just busted for?

He was arrested months later for an alleged armed carjacking where he reportedly opened fire at the driver of the vehicle.

Back in August of 2020, Anthony Blackburn was arrested under a charge of possessing a stolen motor vehicle.

In that case, police allege that Blackburn was pulled over in the Forest Park area after they’d seen him operating a vehicle that was reported as being stolen.

After Blackburn was pulled over, police say that he tried to flee from officers after he was stopped.

He was eventually caught up with and arrested after he allegedly sped down the Eisenhower Expressway and eventually abandoned the vehicle on foot, making his way onto Cicero Avenue.

Anthony Blackburn mugshot
Anthony Blackburn mugshot from August 2020 arrest – Chicago Police Department

When that case was presented to Judge Charles Beach, the judge had ordered that Blackburn be released on his own recognizance and that he remain inside of his home between the hours of 7:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m.

Three months later, the suspect would be arrested again.

According to Assistant State’s Attorney Franka D’Antignac, Blackburn had allegedly been inside of a vehicle that cut a driver off within the 4700 block of West Polk at around 2:15 p.m. on November 16th.

Blackburn then allegedly exited the vehicle and held up the driver he cut off at gunpoint, reportedly demanding the victim’s vehicle.

Said driver of the vehicle instead opted to hit the gas and drive off, with Blackburn allegedly firing at the victim’s vehicle 14 times.

Thereafter, ASA D’Antignac says that Blackburn ran to another vehicle and ordered the occupants out at gunpoint – which said vehicle occupants did do.

Blackburn was alleged to have then stolen that second vehicle, with police later finding surveillance video from a Cicero-based motel that allegedly showed Blackburn exiting the stolen vehicle and entering a motel room.

Police would later respond to the motel and arrest Blackburn, with a search of the suspect’s motel room producing a loaded handgun with an extended magazine.

At the time of his November arrest, prosecutors charged Blackburn for possession of a machine gun, possessing a stolen motor vehicle, and aggravated unlawful use of a weapon. Despite his previous case from August still pending, Blackburn was able to bail out of jail after posting a bond of $4,000.

Come January 12th of 2021, Blackburn was arrested again.

Police took Blackburn into custody in January after he was witnessed allegedly engaging in hand-to-hand drug transactions within Chicago’s West Side.

Prosecutors say that he was later found to have been in possession of 56 baggies containing heroin and over $500 cash.

Anthony Blackburn mugshot
Anthony Blackburn mugshot from January 2021 arrest – Chicago Police Department

It wasn’t until that case that bail was revoked for Blackburn for violating the terms of bond for his two previous cases.

Then, on February 10th, Blackburn’s charges related to the November armed carjacking would get upgraded.

The reason being for the upgraded charges was that ballistics came back from the November carjacking case that wound up being a match with the gun recovered by police from the motel room months earlier.

The suspect is now facing additional charges of felony aggravated vehicular hijacking with a firearm, aggravated discharge of a firearm into an occupied vehicle, and attempted aggravated vehicular hijacking with a firearm.

Blackburn is reportedly due back in court on February 16th.

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We at Law Enforcement Today recently reported on some concerning statistics coming out of Chicago earlier in February with regard to shootings within the city. 

Here’s that previous report. 

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CHICAGO, IL – While people are being killed in the streets of Chicago at a staggering rate, over 500 Illinois National Guard members are being deployed to Washington DC through March. Since Democratic Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced the deployment, 288 people have been shot in Chicago and 58 of those have died.

Governor Pritzker deployed 500 National Guard members and airmen to Washington at the request of the Pentagon on January 28. At the time, the governor said it was necessary to fight “racism” and “disinformation.” In his comments, he did not explain how the National Guard would fight disinformation:

“We must root out the dark forces of racism, white supremacy, and disinformation that have created this moment, but until we do that, our extraordinary Illinois National Guard troops will deploy with honor. Thank you for defending our democracy.”

Daniel Greenfield, a Fellow at the Freedom Center, commented about the Governor’s words in an article written for Frontpage:

“Soldiers don’t root out ‘disinformation.’ Except maybe in China, Cuba, and apparently, Chicago.”

As of this writing, 288 people have been shot since the Governor ordered the deployment. 81% of the shooting victims were black. 44 shooting victims were black, 7 Hispanic, and 2 were white or other race, according to Chicago violence tracking website heyjackass.com.

In Chicago, a person is wounded in a shooting about every three hours, and a person is murdered around every 14 and a half hours. Since the start of February, Chicago has seen 34 people shot and wounded and another 4 killed.

Greenfield argued that Governor Pritzker could have used National Guard troops to quell the violence at home:

“After the billionaire governor took a break from working on his Wisconsin mansion to dispatch 200 National Guard troops to protect Joe Biden from being attacked during the inauguration, 29 murders were perpetrated in Chicago.

“There was nothing for the Illinois National Guard to do in D.C. where the biggest threat to Joe Biden’s safety remains pulling a dog’s tail in the shower but deploying those troops could have been used to save lives back home in Chicago.”

Greenfield pointed out that 18 people were shot in Chicago just last weekend:

“Instead of fighting Republican political opponents in D.C., the National Guard could actually stop real violence in Chiraq.”

On December 3, then-President-elect Joe Biden revealed that he broke his foot tripping on a rug after a shower as he chased one of his dogs and grabbed its tail. The injury was a hairline fracture, and he had to wear a boot for several weeks.

The Illinois National Guard was deployed to DC because of intelligence chatter indicating a high risk of political violence since Biden’s inauguration on January 20. DC is on edge since the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

In November, Gov. Pritzker mobilized the National Guard into Chicago to prepare for unrest associated with the 2020 general election. However, the guard members were staged at the McCormick Center and were not deployed into the city.

The Chicago Emergency Management office said at the time:

“The City has not made any calls to deploy the National Guard in Chicago. Similar to past emergency preparedness plans, the State has stationed personnel at McCormick Place to be ready to respond if needed, however, there are currently no plans for them to be deployed.”

Greenfield argues that the National Guard of all states could be better served by quelling the rising tide of violence striking metropolitan areas across the country, rather than waiting in DC for a threat that may never materialize:

“The Biden banana republic theater in D.C. of soldiers, walls, and razor wire is sending a troubling message to Americans and to the rest of the world. But it’s also costing lives in Chicago and in urban areas that could actually use some National Guard support.

“Murder rates have shot up by 50% in major American cities. Police departments are outmanned, outgunned, and are bleeding personnel at record rates as officers head for the exit.”

Greenfield pointed to Michigan as another example of where the guard could be of use. Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer deployed 1,000 guard members to DC to join 7,000 from across the nation after an intelligence alert from Homeland Security said the January 6 attack could embolden further violence.

At the time of the deployment, all six of Michigan’s Republican members of Congress sent a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi requesting to be briefed on the reasons for the National Guard activation:

“It is critical that there remains due justification to send members of Michigan’s National Guard back to Washington, D.C.”

Citing one particularly heinous crime in Flint, Michigan, Greenfield questioned the governor’s motivation for deploying guard members to DC:

“In one recent Flint shooting spree, a 57-year-old woman was killed, and four others, including an 11-month-old baby, were wounded. If only Governor Whitmer had cared as much about that baby as she does about bolstering the Democrat military occupation of Washington D.C.”

He then went on to point out crime waves in Philadelphia and New York City. Both cities sent guard members to DC. Greenfield wrote:

“The only federal legislators to be physically assaulted by political extremists have been Republicans who were attacked by Democrats: Including at the infamous baseball charity shooting spree. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, who claimed that she was nearly murdered, is perfectly safe. So is the rest of New York’s delegation of grifters, radicals, and crooks.

“The same can’t be said for New Yorkers who are under assault by the criminals set loose by Cuomo, De Blasio, and other Democrats who prioritized thugs over law-abiding citizens. The federal government is safe. New Yorkers aren’t.”

Greenfield went on to declare that the National Guard deployment to Washington DC needed to end. He said Democrats are using the guard to intimidate Americans rather than protect them:

“While their own people, men, women, and children, continue to die in Chicago, Philly, Detroit, and New York City, the only thing they care about is a military show of force in D.C. Their banana republic occupation persists in D.C. while the dying continues in their own cities.”

While the National Guard from around the nation surrounds the National Mall and United States Capitol, people living in the city have not been protected by the National Guard. Greenfield wrote:

“Sadly, even the deployment of the National Guard to D.C. hasn’t made the city any safer.

“While thousands of soldiers were deployed to protect Speaker Pelosi and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, an 85-year-old man was violently beaten on the train, a 15-year-old boy was shot and killed, and a mass shooting killed 1 man and wounded 4 others.”

Making a comment about National Guard members having to sleep in parking garages at one point, Greenfield summed up his point by saying that they could have been used to save lives throughout the country, but instead stand between the governed and the governing:

“The National Guard could have been used to actually save lives in D.C. Instead, Democrats used those soldiers to threaten Americans while making them sleep in cold parking garages.

“That’s another reason why the D.C. occupation needs to end.”

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The post State passes sweeping ‘criminal justice reform’, which will release criminals, gang members into streets appeared first on Law Enforcement Today.

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Author: Jenna Curren


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