After years of debate, Illinois has become the first state to eliminate cash bail.
As Esmeralda Aguilar, 24, of Cicero, faces four felony counts of aggravated battery to a peace officer after she allegedly Peper sprayed four Chicago Police Officers, she has been released due to Illinois’ new law eliminating cash bail.
The incident was captured on police body cameras and resulted in two officers being treated at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, according to reports.
As previously reported by the Wisconsin Law Journal, Illinois judges can still keep people accused of serious crimes behind bars pretrial, but first would have to go through a more rigorous review of each case.
Between 1970 and 2015, there was a fivefold increase in the number of people jailed before trials, according to the 2022 U.S. Commission on Civil Rights report. Data shows more than 60% of defendants were detained prior to trial because they couldn’t afford to post bail, and that nearly 74% of the 631,000 people jailed daily in the United States are awaiting trial.
Typically in state courts, a judge decides if a defendant poses too much of a threat to the community to be released, or if they can be freed with conditions, according to the nonprofit Bail Project.