Jussie Smollett Was Just Released From Jail

Brian Cassella/Chicago Tribune via AP, Pool

Convicted felon Jussie Smollett has been released from jail on bail, pending appeal. That decision was made by an Illinois appeals court that apparently bought Smollett’s argument that his life was in danger while incarcerated.

In this case, the “bail” isn’t an actual payment being made like normal bail would be. Rather, it’s just a threat to charge him $150,000 if he misses his court dates.

This comes after Smollett’s post-sentencing performance, where he yelled about not being suicidal and continued to proclaim his supposed innocence. Throughout this entire saga, the former “Empire” actor has never shown any remorse despite the overwhelming evidence against him. Perhaps that strategy paid off?

Here are the details, per The New York Post.

The ruling came two days after Smollett’s lawyers filed an emergency motion to postpone his five-month sentence on five counts of felony disorderly conduct for lying to police.

A judge found that because Smollett had been convicted of “non-violent” offenses, the court would allow him to be released from a Chicago jail on a $150,000 individual bond during the appeal, according to the court order.

Under the terms of the I-Bond, Smollett would not have to dig into his pockets to get out of jail, and would only owe money if he skipped his court dates.

The special prosecutor in the case opposed the move, arguing that Smollett’s lawyers had not provided sufficient evidence that any danger existed. Smollett had already been separated from the general inmate population.

As to what this means, I’m not sure it points to much of anything except the court using an already existent legal standard. Non-violent offenders can be granted bail, pending appeal, if they were otherwise not sentenced to a certain amount of jail time. In this case, Smollett was only sentenced to serve 150 days. Still, in the end, it’s extremely unlikely he will win an appeal, given historical success rates, which means the inevitable is probably just being delayed here.

On a broader note, we are witnessing the most consistent bias in our legal system. It’s not race-based, but class-based. If you have the money and stature to pressure a court with the best lawyers and lots of bad press, you have a much higher chance of receiving favorable treatment. Would Smollett have been released if he were a random nobody arguing jail life is just too tough? Color me extremely skeptical.

I guess we’ll have to see where this goes, but an appeal could take a long time to get through, so for the foreseeable future, Smollett looks to be a free man with no real stipulations.