Parolee charged with burglary to Hinsdale boutique released under new Safe-T-Act; Berlin says release from custody ‘illustrates a deficiency in the new law’

DuPage County State’s Attorney Robert Berlin and Hinsdale Chief of Police Brian King announced on Thursday, Sept. 21 that under the State’s new Safe-T-Act law, a Chicago man charged with breaking into a Hinsdale high-end boutique shop had been released from custody pending trial.

Terry Johnson, 30, of the 7400 block of Stewart Ave. in Chicago, appeared at first appearance court Thursday morning where Judge Joshua Dieden placed multiple conditions of release on Johnson before releasing him under the new law.

Johnson is charged with one count of armed violence (Class X felony) and one count of burglary (Class 2 felony). Conditions of his pre-trial release include that Johnson be fitted with a GPS electronic monitoring device at a cost of $10/day and that he remain at least 1,000 feet away from the Kelsey Resale Boutique. Johnson is currently on parole for armed robbery and aggravated battery out of Cook County.

On Wednesday, May 24 at approximately 1:19 a.m., the Hinsdale Police Department received notification of a possible burglary at Kelsey Resale Boutique, located at 49 S. Washington St. Upon their arrival, officers found the glass front door of the establishment was broken out. Following an investigation, it is alleged that Johnson and six accomplices arrived at the store in two vehicles and that at approximately 1:19 a.m., broke into the store using a sledgehammer to shatter the front door. It is alleged that after breaking into the store, Johnson and his accomplices stole approximately $68,000 worth of purses and other merchandise. It is further alleged that the men then exited the store and fled the scene in the two vehicles in which they arrived.

When processing the scene, authorities collected blood evidence located on the floor near the front door. On Tuesday, Aug. 15, a DNA profile from the blood evidence was found to be consistent with the DNA profile of the defendant, Terry Johnson. On Wednesday, Sept. 20, Johnson was taken into custody without incident.

Berlin weighs in on Safe-T-Act

“The fact that Mr. Johnson, who is currently on parole and now accused of a forcible felony, will be out on the streets pending his trial illustrates a deficiency in the new law,” Berlin said. “I have been saying all along that after hearing the facts and circumstances of a case, a judge, not the legislature, is in the best position to decide if pre-trial release for a defendant is appropriate.

“This morning, while Judge Dieden expressed his concern over the implementation of the law, his hands were tied as he was required by law to release Mr. Johnson pre-trial because the forcible felony of burglary is excluded from the list of detainable offenses under a dangerousness standard unless there is use of force against another person.

“With Mr. Johnson’s case as a glaring example of what I fear will be many defendants unduly released pre-trial, I urge the General Assembly to amend the law and allow judges to use their discretion in every case similar to New Jersey’s pre-trial release law.”

Johnson’s next court appearance is scheduled for Monday, Oct. 16 for arraignment in front of Judge Margaret O’Connell.

Members of the public are reminded that this complaint contains only charges and is not proof of the defendant’s guilt.