Appellate Court Vacates Order of Pretrial Release
In the case of the People v. Gurlly, the defendant was charged with 10 counts of first-degree murder and one count of obstructing justice. His bond was set at $1 million prior to the passage of the SAFE-T Act. On September 12, 2023, 6 days before the SAFE-T Act went into effect, the State moved to continue to detain the defendant and deny him pretrial release. At the conclusion of the hearing, the court granted the State’s motion to continue to detain the defendant prior to his trial. The defendant filed a notice of appeal on October 2, 2023.
On appeal, the defendant argued that the circuit court erred in granting the State’s petition to detain him because the State lacked the authority to file a petition to deny pretrial release due to the timing requirements of the SAFE-T Act. The defendant did not object to the State filing this motion. Because of this, the defendant needed to file a motion to revisit the matter under the plain error doctrine. The second prong of the plain-error review allows a reviewing court to consider a forfeited error when the error is so serious that it deprives the defendant of a substantial right. The defendant further argued that his attorney’s failure to object to the State’s motion to detain him was an instance of ineffective assistance of counsel.
Timing requirements and the State’s motion to detain
The defendant’s first argument addressed that the State did not timely file their petition to hold the defendant during his trial. The court determined that the plain language of the SAFE-T Act set forth a deadline for the State to file a petition to detain a defendant. The State may file a petition to detain at the time of the defendant’s first appearance before a judge. The State is not required to notify a defendant at that time. Alternatively, the State may also file a petition to detain a defendant within 21 calendar days after the arrest and release of a defendant. However, in that case, the State is required to give the defendant reasonable notice.
Provisions of the SAFE-T Act require the state to petition the court to detain a defendant during their first appearance or within 21 days after the arrest. The appeals court determined that the State had not filed the petition to detain the defendant in a timely manner and as such, the circuit court did not have the authority to detain the suspect any further. As a result, the order to detain the suspect was vacated.
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