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Illinois Personal Injury & Criminal Defense / Blog / Criminal Defense / State Must Argue Why Less Restrictive Conditions Do Not Mitigate Threat Posed by a Defendant Under the SAFE-T Act

State Must Argue Why Less Restrictive Conditions Do Not Mitigate Threat Posed by a Defendant Under the SAFE-T Act


Under the SAFE-T Act, which eliminates cash bail, the state has the burden of proving that the defendant is a threat to public safety in order to hold the defendant during and before a trial. There are several factors that the state must weigh when deciding whether or not a defendant can be held prior to trial. In one recent case, People v. Odehnal, an Illinois defendant appealed the circuit court’s ruling that he should be held without bail prior to his trial. In this case, because the circuit court failed to explain why less restrictive conditions would not mitigate the threat posed by the defendant, the appellate court overturned its ruling that the defendant should be held prior to his trial.


According to the state, the defendant was charged with a violation of an order of protection in Saint Clair County, Illinois. On the same day, the State filed a verified petition to deny pretrial release. The trial court held a hearing on the state’s petition. After hearing arguments from both parties, the court ruled that the defendant’s offense was detainable under the SAFE-T Act. In determining that the defendant could be held without bail, the court stated that it was taking into consideration statutory factors, including:

  • The nature and circumstances of the current offense as charged
  • The weight of evidence against the defendant
  • The history and characteristics of the defendant
  • The nature and seriousness of the real and present threat to the safety of the victim posed by the defendant’s pretrial release

The court found by clear and convincing evidence that the defendant posed a real and present danger to any person in the community and that there were no conditions or combination of conditions that could mitigate the danger the defendant posed. Further, it declared that less restrictive conditions would not ensure the safety of the community or his appearance in court.

The appeal 

On appeal, the defendant claimed that the trial court abused its discretion in finding that there were no conditions of release that would mitigate the danger he posed to the victim or the community. The defendant argued that the violation of the order of protection was based on an unintentional run-in at a public place and he did not intentionally violate the order of protection. The defendant argued that electronic monitoring would limit his movement and prevent future encounters.

The appeals court agreed with the defendant. It argued that the trial court had not provided sufficient reason to hold the defendant in jail while awaiting trial and that because the violation of the order was unintentional, it did not necessarily prove the defendant was a danger to the victim. The court overturned the ruling and remanded it for compliance with the SAFE-T Act.

Talk to a Decatur, IL Criminal Defense Attorney Today 

Patel Law, P.C. represents the interests of criminal defendants in Champaign, IL. Call our Decatur criminal defense attorneys today to schedule an appointment, and we can begin preparing your defense immediately.



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