Schilb v. Kuebel

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United States Supreme Court

404 U.S. 357

Schilb  v.  Kuebel

 Argued: Oct. 12, 1971. --- Decided: Dec 20, 1971

See 405 U.S. 948, 92 S.Ct. 930.


Illinois law provides three ways in which an accused can secure his pretrial release: (1) personal recognizance; (2) execution of a bail bond, with a deposit of 10% of the bail, all but 10% of which (amounting to 1% of the bail) is returned on performance of the bond conditions, and (3) execution of a bail bond, secured by a full-amount deposit in cash, authorized securities, or certain real estate, all of which is returned on performance of the bond conditions. Appellant Schilb, charged with two traffic offenses, secured pretrial release after depositing 10% of the bail fixed. He was convicted of one offense and acquitted of the other. After he paid his fine, all but 1% of the bail (amounting to $7.50) was refunded. In this class action he thereafter challenged the Illinois system on due process and equal protection grounds, claiming that the 1% retention charge is imposed on only one segment of the class gaining pretrial release, and on the poor but not on the rich; and that its imposition on an accused found innocent constitutes a court cost against the nonguilty. The trial court dismissed Schilb's complaint, and the State Supreme Court affirmed. Held:

1. The Illinois bail system does not violate equal protection requirements. Pp. 484-487.

(a) The facts that the State has no safekeeping costs where release is on personal recognizance and has never imposed a charge with respect to a recognizance provide a rational basis for distinguishing that situation from the situations where deposits are made. Though the administrative costs of the deposit systems are substantially the same, other factors afford a rational basis for making no charge under the full-amount-deposit system. Rinaldi v. Yeager, 384 U.S. 305, 86 S.Ct. 149, 16 L.Ed.2d 577, distinguished. Pp. 367-369.

(b) There is no indication that the personal recognizance system is not used without regard to the economic status of the accused, or that the full-deposit system actually favors the affluent. Pp. 369-370.

2. No due process denial results from retention of the 1% charge, which is an administrative fee (and not a cost of prosecution), imposed on all-guilty and innocent alike-who seek its benefit. Giaccio v. Pennsylvania, 382 U.S. 399, 86 S.Ct. 518, 15 L.Ed.2d 447, distinguished Pp. 370-371.

46 Ill.2d 538, 264 N.E.2d 377, affirmed.

John J. O'Toole, Chicago, Ill., for appellants.

James A. Rooney, Chicago, Ill., for appellees, pro hac vice, by special leave of Court.

Mr. Justice BLACKMUN delivered the opinion of the Court.


This work is in the public domain in the United States because it is a work of the United States federal government (see 17 U.S.C. 105).