The Illinois Attorney General's Office, on behalf of Governor J.B. Pritzker, is asking for an appellate court to stay an order from a Logan County Judge that requires the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) to immediately begin taking inmates from county jails who have prison sentences.
The motion was filed in the Fourth District Appellate Court in Springfield.
The motion argues that the order out of Logan County on Monday will require the IDOC to immediately start taking inmates without proper screening procedures for COVID-19 which could lead to outbreaks at state facilities.
It also argues that the IDOC is already taking inmates from county jails pending health procedures.
It claims that the governor does in fact have the power to suspend prison transfers because inmates fall under his duty to protect the civilian population during a disaster - such as the current pandemic.
In May, the Illinois Sheriff's Association and six county sheriffs filed a lawsuit against the governor's order to halt inmate transfers to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in prisons. In July, a total of 73 sheriffs, including the Kendall, DeKalb, Grundy, and LaSalle county sheriffs, were part of the suit. Governor Pritzker declared emergency powers to combat the virus in March. The state has seen over 184-thousand COVID-19 cases and over 7-thousand deaths.
You can read Kendall County Sheriff Dwight Baird's comments on the lawsuit on our online newspaper.