Jussie Smollett, a convicted felon, has been released on bail pending appeal. An Illinois appeals court made the decision. It apparently accepted Smollett’s argument that his life was in peril while incarcerated. The “bail” in this case is not a payment made as normal bail. It's a threat of $150,000 in the event of missed court dates.
This is after Smollett's post-sentence performance in which he shouted that he wasn't suicidal but continued to claim his innocence. The former Empire actor has not shown any remorse throughout the entire case, despite overwhelming evidence. Maybe that strategy worked?
According to The New York Post, Smollett's lawyers had filed a motion in an “emergency” to delay his five-month sentence for five counts of felony disorderly behavior for lying to the police. In the court order, the judge ruled that Smollett was guilty of “nonviolent” offenses and would be allowed to be released from the Chicago Jail on $150,000 individual bail. But Smollett wouldn't have to reach into his pocket to escape jail time; he would only owe money if he missed his court dates.
The special prosecutor opposed the move, claiming that Smollett’s lawyers hadn’t provided enough evidence to prove that he was in any danger. Smollett was already separated from the general prison population.
This doesn’t point to anything other than the court using an existing legal standard. If they are not sentenced to a specific amount of time in jail, non-violent offenders may be granted bail. Smollett was sentenced to 150 days in this case. It's unlikely that he will appeal given his past success rates. This means that the inevitable is just being delayed.
What we are seeing is a consistent bias in our legal system. This bias is not race-based but rather class-based. You have a better chance of getting favorable treatment if you have the power and money to pressure a court with top lawyers and lots of bad press. If Smollett were just a random person arguing that jail life is too hard, would he have been freed?
We'll see how this turns out. However, an appeal could take a while to process. For the foreseeable future, Smollett appears to be a free man without any real restrictions.