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People v. Gil

Court of Appeals of Illinois, First District, Sixth Division

December 13, 2019

JASON GIL, Defendant-Appellant.

          Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County. No. 19 CR 03429 Honorable Aleksandra Gillespie, Judge Presiding.

          PRESIDING JUSTICE MIKVA delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Justices Cunningham and Connors concurred in the judgment and opinion.



         ¶ 1 This case is before the court on defendant Jason Gil's motion, filed in accordance with Illinois Supreme Court Rule 604(c) (eff. July 1, 2017), for review of the circuit court order denying him release on bail. The State has filed a response to that motion. We recently discussed the abbreviated procedures on a Rule 604(c) appeal in People v. Simmons, 2019 IL App (1st) 191252, and those procedures appear to have been properly followed here.

         ¶ 2 For the following reasons, we reverse the order of the circuit court denying Mr. Gil release on bail and remand to the circuit court for the purpose of setting the amount of bail and other conditions of his release.

         ¶ 3 I. BACKGROUND

         ¶ 4 Mr. Gil was a math teacher at a Chicago Public School. In February 2019, he was arrested and charged with having had a sexual relationship with one of his students since 2016. The victim was alleged to have been 13 and 14 years old during the time that she had ongoing sexual contact and was trading nude photographs with Mr. Gil.

         ¶ 5 On February 12, 2019, a judge in the circuit court found that probable cause existed to detain Mr. Gil for multiple felony offenses. On that date, the court was provided with pretrial services' public safety assessment for Mr. Gil. It showed that Mr. Gil had no criminal record. The assessment placed him at a "1," the lowest possible number, in terms of "new criminal activity." It also placed him at a "1" on the possible failure to appear. It recommended "maximum conditions" if released. The court ordered that Mr. Gil be held without bail. The court focused on the disturbing nature of the alleged crimes and concluded:

"The aggravation in this case tremendously outweighs the mitigation. The Court finds that this defendant who stands before me poses a real and present threat to this victim as well as this community. The Court further finds that the proof is evident, the presumption great that this defendant indeed committed those offenses as charged."

         ¶ 6 On February 14, another judge in the circuit court denied Mr. Gil's motion to set bail. The court again focused on the "factors in aggravation and mitigation" and, on the basis of the "findings" of the original circuit court judge, continued the order of no bail. ¶ 7 Mr. Gil was indicted by the grand jury, and the parties then appeared before a third judge on March 26, 2019, for arraignment. Counsel for Mr. Gil argued that he was eligible for bail. The State acknowledged that Mr. Gil was statutorily eligible for bail and that the State had not filed any motion to deny bail. The court again denied the motion for bail and ruled that the earlier order of no-bail would stand.

         ¶ 8 On April 10, 2019, Mr. Gil's counsel filed a motion to reconsider the denial of bail. On July 26, 2019, the parties appeared before the current circuit court judge and she again, after a hearing, concluded: "After hearing the facts of this case, reviewing the Pretrial Services Public Safety Assessment, I agree with my peers that [Mr. Gil] shall be held no bail."

         ¶ 9 On August 28, 2019, Mr. Gil filed a motion in the circuit court, pursuant to Illinois Supreme Court Rule 604(c), seeking further reconsideration of the denial of bail. On October 23, 2019, the parties again appeared before the court, who again denied the motion to reconsider the denial of bail. This last motion was the necessary predicate to filing this appeal under Rule 604(c).

         ¶ 10 II. ANALYSIS

         ¶ 11 The parties' dispute before this court focuses on which section of the bail statute applies in this case. Mr. Gil relies on section 110-6.1 of the bail statute (725 ILCS 5/110-6.1 (West 2016)), which requires the State to file a verified petition before bail can be denied to a defendant who, like Mr. Gil, has been charged with a non-probationable felony offense and requires three specific factual findings before bail can be denied. The State relies on section 110-4(a) of the statute (id. ยง 110-4(a)), which it contends gives the circuit court authority to hold a defendant without bail on a non-probationable felony offense without any petition by the State, so long as the court "after a hearing determines that the release of the defendant would pose a real and present threat to the physical safety of any person or persons." The parties both acknowledge that the ...

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