New Jersey Bail Bonds System Completely Destroyed By Politicians

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As courts in Cuyahoga County take steps to build a fairer bail system, dozens of courts across the country are making changes to prevent bail from discriminating against people who can’t afford it.

Read about recent bail-reform news below as part of Justice For All, a cleveland.com series that examines Cuyahoga County bail systems and how they could be made more equitable and cost-effective.

New Jersey’s chief justice lauds statewide bail reform: At the behest of voters, New Jersey began a massive overhaul of its bail system on Jan. 1, shifting from a system that bases release from jail on ability to pay to one based on a defendant’s risk of flight and criminal activity.

New Jersey Chief Justice Stuart Rabner explained the importance of the changes in a column on NJ.com.

“As recently as 2012, a study of New Jersey’s county jail population revealed that 1 in 8 inmates were in jail because they couldn’t make bail of $2,500 or less,” Rabner wrote. “They didn’t pose a risk of danger or flight but sat in jail because they didn’t have enough money to post even a modest amount of bail. Meanwhile, defendants who posed serious risks to public safety could be released if they had access to money.”

New Orleans City Council approves bail reform measure: A proposal that would abolish bail for people accused of most nonviolent, misdemeanors in New Orleans cleared City Council last week, The New Orleans Advocate reported.

The Cleveland Municipal Court implemented similar reforms last year, and now releases all pretrial defendants accused of nonviolent misdemeanors without making them pay.

In New Orleans, the rule covers all misdemeanor suspects, except people arrested for domestic violence, battery, impersonating a police officer and carrying an illegal weapon. Judges are required to set bail for people accused of those four crimes within 24 hours.

Defendants who have pending pretrial cases, repeat no-shows or people who are deemed a flight risk or an imminent danger to someone else could be subject to bail.

“I just hope that this relieves the burden and pressure placed on our jails, on the overcrowding situation, on those in our community who can’t afford to pay that bail … and who wind up in a vicious cycle of endless debt because of this,” said Councilwoman Susan Guidry, according to The Advocate.

New Hampshire jail holds 60+ people daily on bail of $1,000 or less: A 17-year-old, who missed court dates for his trespassing and resisting arrest charges, spent 60 days in the Valley Street, New Hampshire, jail because he could not afford his $500 bail, forcing him to miss the birth of his daughter, New Hampshire Public Radio reported.

The Valley Street jail holds a daily average of 62 people who are awaiting trial and cannot afford bail of $1,000 or less. About 36 of them have been accused of nonviolent crimes.

Cleveland.com found similar cases in Cuyahoga County suburbs. A man accused of drunken jaywalking in Lyndhurst spent four days in jail and lost his job because he could not afford bail of $715. A suspect in the theft of $12.95 worth of underwear in Beachwood was jailed for eight days because he could not afford bail of $750.

Justice For All: The personal stories of people who couldn’t afford bail
Justice For All: The personal stories of people who couldn’t afford bail
Sometimes being poor keeps people in jail longer than necessary.

Dallas Morning News Editorial Board says ‘bail reform needs to come quickly’: The editorial board of Texas’ largest newspaper is urging Dallas County to reform a bail system that dispenses “two-tiered injustice.”

“Deep pockets buy get-out-of-jail-now cards for residents accused of serious crimes while poverty leaves residents accused of petty theft languishing in the pokey while they await a court date,” the editorial states. “Increasingly, states and local governments across the country are looking at ways to prevent such two-tiered injustice. That’s a wise — if long-overdue — move, and Dallas County needs to similarly step up its game.”

Eric Holder calls for bail reform in Maryland: The former U.S. Attorney General was one of dozens of experts to testify before the state’s highest court this month, urging judges to limit the use of money to detain people.

Despite the public pressure, judges failed to adopt the initial revisions before the Court of Appeals. Four of seven judges voted against the new rule, which would require judges to assess a defendant’s financial means and use bail as a last resort. They will vote on it again next month




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    1. Great article!!! Thank you very much for sharing this detailed post..It was very helpful and I really enjoyed reading it.

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