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A Criminal-Justice Fantasy Meets the Reality


Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s explanation of how the SAFE-T Act (“Illinois’s No-Bail Criminal Experiment,” Review & Outlook, Dec. 13) solves the “problem” of the single mother shoplifting diapers and then languishing in jail for months because she can’t afford a few hundred dollars bail is a bit rich. As a criminal-defense attorney who has practiced for almost 25 years in and around Cook County courts, I can assure the governor that this person he is trying to save doesn’t exist.

For starters, his fictional character would have to steal more diapers than she could carry to even reach the statutory felony level of $300. Many state attorneys also exercise judicious discretion when evaluating whether to bring felony charges. Over the course of my career, it hasn’t been uncommon to see a person charged with misdemeanor theft even when the value of the allegedly stolen items well exceeded $1,000. It has, however, been uncommon for me to have a client in custody while facing misdemeanor charges. The exceptions occur when the client is charged with crimes involving domestic violence, doesn’t show up to court or is arrested for new charges after release. Read More…

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Compassionate criminal defense attorneys at The MacNeil Firm Ltd. Illinois provide personalized services to their clients.

Compassionate criminal defense attorneys at The MacNeil Firm Ltd. Illinois provide personalized services to their clients.

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