Illinois Supreme Court Won't Rule On SAFE Until At Least September

Jun 16, 2017

Credit CREDIT "COURTROOM ONE GAVEL" BY FLICKR USER BETH CORTEZ-NEAVEL / (CC BY 2.0)

The Illinois Supreme Court won’t decide on the legality of LaSalle County's SAFE unit until at least September.

The State's Attorney Felony Enforcement Unit was a drug-enforcement group under the purview of former LaSalle County State’s Attorney Brian Towne. Its stated purpose was to cut down on drug crimes. However, several out-of-state drivers allege they were targeted disproportionately for asset forfeiture.  Current State's Attorney Karen Donnelly also filed a lawsuit alleging SAFE improperly transferred $570,000 to the Spring Valley police and that Towne spent more than half those funds on trips and personal wi-fi. 

The Ottawa Times reports an appeals court ruled Towne’s office didn’t have the authority to form the unit, and the decision was appealed. Thursday was the last day for the Illinois Supreme Court to release opinions on cases until its fall session begins in September. Donnelly says she has no plans to bring back the unit, even if it’s eventually ruled legal.