What is Rule 26 and How Could it Affect You?

javier-villaraco-235574-copy-300x225Rule 26 went into effect on January 1st, but some counties are implementing a 30-day “trial period” to comply with the state’s new rule. Other counties have already implemented the new rule, and have seen benefits. The rule, which passed in the last legislative session, will impact how bail and pretrial release works in the State of Illinois. It is the result of two separate initiatives on the best practices for criminal justice

The pilot program began as early as 2016 with 11 counties volunteering to adopt the measures. The initiative, which had its fair share of detractors, changes the way the bail system works and does away with money bail. Instead, the judge conducts a pretrial risk assessment when deciding if or when a suspect will be released and what kind of supervision they require. The ultimate goal of Rule 26 is to decrease jail populations.

In other words, instead of paying your way out of a jail cell, judges, in concert with other law enforcement officials, will be able to conduct risk assessments on suspects to determine whether or not they should be released on their own recognizance. However, ultimately, it is the judge’s decision alone that will impact if a suspect is released and the conditions of that release. 

The Rule is Now in Effect

While the part of the legislation that gets a lot of critical ink spilled over it is the part that determines how pretrial release works, the bulk of the legislation actually deals with pretrial discovery. Discovery is the disclosure of documents, evidence, expert witnesses, and any other information pertinent to the case against a defendant. These rules place a timetable on the release of discovery documents. Prosecutors now have 14 days to present evidence to defense attorneys prior to trial. While there are conditions that could waive this requirement, prosecutors will need to make their case to the court.

Allen County was among the first in Illinois to implement the new measures in 2016. During the period of its implementation, a number of low-risk individuals were released based on low-risk assessments. These same individuals could have ended up in jail for days, weeks, or even months had they not enough money to make bond. 

Allen County officials said that the implementation of Rule 26 was not without its difficulties. Having done something one way for an entire lifetime, criminal justice workers, judges, prosecutors, and others, now have to change the way they do things. To combat this, changes were made slowly over time. At first, only those charged with non-violent crimes qualified for risk assessment. Today, there are only two crimes left that do not qualify for risk assessment. Those are murder and treason.

Talk to a Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney Today

If you have been charged with a crime in the Chicago area, David Freidberg, Attorney at Law, can help you fight the charges against you and protect your right to a fair trial. Call us today at (312) 560-7100 or talk to us online for more information. 

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