“State’s Attorney Hanley's main concern comes with the speedy trial provision potentially letting people with the highest charges walk out of jail before their trial date.”
The Pretrial Fairness Act did not change the amount of time prosecutors have to prepare a case. For decades, the court has had 90 days for trial before a person in custody awaiting trial is entitled to release. In reality, it is rare for a serious case to go to trial in that timeframe. The Pretrial Fairness Act actually increased flexibility on this deadline, and now state can receive deadline extensions based on certain situations. The defense also may request extensions.
The 90-day timeline for trial has been the law for more than two decades, for people who are denied pretrial release, it was existing law (see 725 ILCS 5/110-6.1(f)). It is common practice for the court to extend the timeline for parties to prepare for trial.
The December 2022 Pretrial Fairness Act trailer bill actually increased flexibility for the court under this 90 day standard when compared to the status quo. Now, the court will not need to count “any period of delay resulting from a continuance granted at the request of the State with good cause” under the speedy trial statute.