Reducing The Prevalence Of Cash Bail For Poor Defendants

The merits of cash bail have been under close scrutiny for decades because according to critics, a poor defendant has to stay in jail prior to a trial because they can make bail. Thos who have the money go scot free. Lawyers and advocates have been pushing for reforms pointing out the shrinking space in jails, costs and the reversal of racially-biased sentencing practices.

In Maryland, some judges have decided to significantly cut back on setting bail for defendants. According to Richard Jones, one of the state’s leading bail bondsmen, business has dropped by about 75% since the District Court Chief Judge John P. Morrissey has advised judges and commissioners last month to impose a lesser onerous condition on the defendants who cannot be released according to their own recognizance. Morrissey was reacting to the state’s Attorney General Brian E. Frosh recent opinion that cash bail could be considered as discriminatory and unconstitutional.

Richard Jones has been active in thwarting past efforts of the legislative department towards the reduction on the prevalence of cash bail. Normally, Jones would have about 70 bonds during a 3-day period but after Morrissey’s advice, the bondsman only had eight bonds.

According to prosecutors and defense lawyers, the change was not actually drastic although they concur that judges are releasing more poor defendants including some which the prosecutors consider as flight risk. On the other hand, Paul DeWolfe, the head of the state’s Office of the Public Defender, supports the major overhaul in the bail system. He commented that reduced use of bail is a step towards the right direction. Thousands of non-violent and non-felony defendants are languishing in jails not because they were found out to be guilty of a crime or pose a flight risk; they do not have money to pay for bail.

However, there are defendants that are too dangerous to be released without bail. There is concern over public safety and failure to appear on court. Securing the release of a friend of member of the family can be daunting but bail bonds Fresno will relieve the stress and confusion by guiding you through the stressful process.

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