MD High Court Adopts Compromise Bail Reform

Print More

Maryland’s highest court adopted a landmark rule aimed at ending the practice of holding criminal defendants in jail before trial when they cannot afford bail, reports the Baltimore Sun. The seven-member Court of Appeals unanimously okayed a compromise that does not abolish money bail, as some advocates have urged, but instructs judges and court commissioners to look first to other ways to ensure a defendant appears for trial.

Chief Judge Mary Ellen Barbera called the final language “the best possible proposed rule we can expect when we’re working with all stakeholders.” The rule won praise from both bail reform advocates and the bail bond industry, which felt threatened by the original proposal from the court’s rules committee. “Certainly there’s a consensus that the lack of money should not keep someone in jail before they have a trial,” said law Prof. Douglas Colbert of  the University of Maryland and a longtime advocate for criminal justice reform. Nicholas Wachinski, representing bondsmen, said the rule keeps the option of money bail. “It preserves judicial discretion and allows judges to be judges,” he said.

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

X

You have Free articles left this month.

Want access to all our reporting? Subscribe for unlimited access or login.

SUBSCRIBE LOGIN