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Illinois Personal Injury & Criminal Defense / Blog / Criminal Defense / Court Denies Pretrial Release Under SAFE-T Act for Defendant Accused of Firearms Offense

Court Denies Pretrial Release Under SAFE-T Act for Defendant Accused of Firearms Offense


In People v. Forthenberry, the defendant was charged with aggravated discharge of a firearm (a class 1 felony), two counts of aggravated unlawful use of a weapon (a class 3 felony), two counts of unlawful possession of a weapon by a felon (a class 3 felony), and one count of possession of a weapon by an individual not eligible for a Firearm Owners Identification Card (a class 3 felony). On July 3, 2023, the court set the defendant’s bond at $200,000. This was during a period of time when the SAFE-T Act (which ended cash bail) was being litigated in the courts and had not gone into effect. On July 21, a grand jury indicted the defendant on all counts.

On September 29, 2023, when the SAFE-T Act had gone into effect, the defendant filed a motion for reconsideration of pretrial release pursuant to the SAFE-T Act. On October 10, the state filed a motion to deny the defendant’s petition for pretrial release alleging that the defendant was charged with a qualifying offense and that he posed a real and present threat to members of the community and no condition or combination of conditions could mitigate the real and present threat he posed to members of the community.

On October 10, the state conducted a hearing considering both the defense’s motion and the state’s effort to deny the defendant’s request for pretrial release. At the hearing, the state drew attention to the defendant’s prior criminal history which included charges of driving on a suspended license, domestic battery, and obstruction of justice.

According to the state, police responded to a call of shots fired in Danville, Illinois. As they were approaching the location, officers noted a black SUV leaving the area and conducted a traffic stop. Police noted that the defendant had a .40 caliber Smith and Wesson semiautomatic pistol in the vehicle. The defendant was driving the vehicle at the time of the traffic stop. The firearm was loaded and had one round in the chamber.

The defense argued that the defendant only fired his gun in response to being fired upon from a nearby house party. They further argued that the traffic stop violated the defendant’s 4th amendment rights and that any evidence gleaned during the traffic stop was subject to suppression. As grounds for relief, the defendant argued that the state lacked sufficient evidence to prove several of the crimes that the defendant was accused of. The defense argued that the state lacked sufficient evidence that a vehicle was involved in the reports of gunfire. Further, the defendant argued that he only returned fire after being shot at from the house party.

The circuit court denied the defendant’s motion for pretrial release and the defendant appealed. An appeals court sided with the circuit court in this matter finding that the prosecution had ample evidence to establish that the defendant was guilty of the crimes with which he was charged.

Talk to Champaign, IL Criminal Defense Lawyer Today 

The Champaign, IL criminal defense attorneys at Patel Law, P.C. represent the interests of defendants who are facing weapons violations. Call our office today to schedule an appointment, and we can begin preparing your defense immediately.



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