A Chicago man accused of shooting a dog and throwing a backpack filled with a gun and ammunition over a fence was released from jail before his court date one week after Illinois became the first U.S. state to eliminate its cash bail system.
Cook County Circuit Court Judge Mary Marubio allowed Darrick Bender, 19, who has a lengthy rap sheet, to leave jail with a curfew and instruction not to go near the dog's owners, the Washington Examiner reported.
Illinois abolished cash bail Sept. 18 as the SAFE-T Act went into effect.
As a result, detention decisions no longer involve putting up money in exchange for release. Instead, they focus on the seriousness of the charges against the accused, and on whether they are considered a danger to the public or a risk of fleeing prosecution, CBS News reported.
The "Pretrial Fairness Act," a provision of the SAFE-T Act, allows judges to keep people accused of serious crimes locked up. However, the justices must to go through a rigorous review of the case.
The Illinois Fraternal Order of Police disagreed with the SAFE Act and said the elimination of cash bail "confirms Illinois' status as the state of lawlessness and disorder," ABC 7 reported.
Bender was identified by a 42-year-old man as the person who shot his American Staffordshire terrier in Vittum Park on Chicago's Southwest Side, the Examiner reported. It was not known if the dog died.
Bender also was caught by police throwing a backpack over a fence that contained a loaded 9 mm handgun, loose ammunition, and two 50-round drum magazines.
He was arrested and charged with aggravated cruelty to animals, aggravated unlawful use of a weapon, and reckless discharge of a firearm endangering others.
Prosecutors wanted to keep Bender locked up, but Marubio disagreed.
Last month, Bender was arrested after a 52-year-old woman told Chicago police officers that he pointed a gun at her.
Bender then was caught with a key fob for a stolen BMW in his pocket. The car was parked close by.
Bender initially was charged with possessing a stolen motor vehicle and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. The stolen vehicle charge later was dropped.
Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson said he supported the decision to do away with cash bail, claiming it "does not make communities safer, and it never has," Fox 32 reported.
"It has simply exacerbated existing inequities and disparities in the criminal legal system," Johnson said. "Pretrial detention, as a result of the inability to pay bail, further decimates communities that have long been most impacted by mass incarceration and the destabilization of households and families."
Charlie McCarthy, a writer/editor at Newsmax, has nearly 40 years of experience covering news, sports, and politics.
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