CHICAGO - The Illinois Senate's Republican leader is speaking out after a suburban woman was released from custody on the first day cash bail was officially eliminated across the state following her alleged assault of four Chicago police officers downtown.
State Sen. John Curran, of Downers Grove, says the release of Esmeralda Aguilar from custody highlights problems with "prioritizing violent offenders" over law enforcement and communities.
"Reports that on the very first day of no cash bail, a violent offender arrested for attacking four Chicago Police Officers, sending two of them to the hospital, was immediately released because the Cook County State's Attorney's Office didn't even bother to file a motion to seek detaining the accused are problematic," Curran said in a statement.
Early Sunday, 24-year-old Aguilar of Cicero allegedly battered four Chicago police officers in the Loop. She now faces felony charges.
The incident occurred in the 200 block of North Wabash Avenue. She was arrested just moments after the alleged assault.
Curran says incidents like these are the reason police recruitment is at an all-time low.
"This highlights the misplaced priorities of Illinois' criminal justice system when the prosecutor prioritizes the freedom of a violent offender over the safety of those police officers dedicated to protecting and serving our communities. Is there any wonder why police recruitment is at an all-time low in this state?"
After months of legal wrangling and political posturing, Illinois on Monday cemented its place as the first state in the country to abolish cash bail.
Critics have long argued that the SAFE-T Act will lead to more criminals committing more crimes. Republican State Senator Terri Bryant says money lost from the elimination of cash bonds will further strain resources in courtrooms statewide, ultimately hurting victims of crime.
Judges can still hold detainees they deem a threat until trial while releasing others via electronic monitoring. However, no one can be held based solely on their ability to pay.
"It should not matter what’s in your wallet. What should matter is how you’re able to go home and live your life," said State Senator Robert Peters, one of the sponsors of the SAFE-T Act.
Aguilar's next court date is set for Sept. 25 in Skokie.