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Illinois Personal Injury & Criminal Defense / Blog / Criminal Defense / Appeals Court Grants State’s Petition to Hold Defendant in Jail Before Trial

Appeals Court Grants State’s Petition to Hold Defendant in Jail Before Trial


In a recent case that went before the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, the circuit court granted defendant Demontez L. Spruill’s pretrial release under the SAFE-T Act. The SAFE-T Act is the new Illinois rule that did away with cash bail. Today, the court makes a decision based on several factors as to whether or not a defendant will be released before their trial. The defendant does not have to pay anything to be released from jail while they are awaiting trial. In this case, the circuit court granted the defense’s motion to allow the defendant to be released with conditions while he was awaiting trial. The prosecution appealed the court’s decision, and the appeals court overturned the circuit court’s ruling granting the prosecution’s motion to hold the defendant in jail. In this article, we’ll take a look at the court’s reasons for overturning the circuit court’s decisions and the factors that played a role in coming to that decision.

The charges 

In this case, the defendant faced three weapons charges. He was charged with being an armed habitual criminal (a class-X felony), unlawful possession of a weapon by a felon (a class-3 felony), and aggravated unlawful use of a weapon (a class-4 felony).

On November 16, 2023, police responded to a report of a reckless driver. They found the defendant inside the vehicle with a loaded handgun in a cross-body bag. The defendant had two prior convictions for weapons offenses. In one case, the defendant was charged with aggravated discharge of a firearm at an occupied vehicle after the defendant had recently finished his parole.

Arguments posed by the defense and state 

The state argued that the defendant’s pretrial release posed a clear and present threat to the safety of any person or persons in the community. They argued that because he had two prior convictions related to weapons offenses, the defendant posed a risk to the community. One of those offenses involved the discharge of a handgun at an occupied vehicle.

The defense argued that the defendant did not pose a risk to the community. They argued that he cooperated during his arrest and allowed himself to be disarmed peacefully without resisting. The defense further argued that even though the defendant was not allowed to possess a firearm, he was among a category of individuals who absolutely felt the need to carry a weapon because of the world he lived in. His attorney explained that the defendant had once been caught in a crossfire that left him injured.

While the circuit court found the defense’s arguments convincing, the appeals court determined that the defendant did pose a present risk to the community and ordered him held while awaiting trial. Weapons charges, especially multiple weapons charges, can be used as a means of denying pretrial release.

Talk to a Champaign, IL Criminal Defense Attorney Today 

Patel Law, PC represents the interests of Illinois defendants facing weapons charges. Call our Champaign criminal defense lawyers today to schedule an appointment, and we can begin advocating on your behalf right away.



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