Title

More Work to Be Done on Md. Bail Reform

Document Type

Letter to the Editor

Journal Title

The Baltimore Sun

Publication Date

2-9-2017

Abstract

On Tuesday, Maryland's highest court took a significant step to improve our state's criminal justice system. Prompted by a legal opinion in which Attorney General Brian Frosh questioned the constitutionality of current bail procedures, the Court of Appeals unanimously confirmed that defendants should not be held in jail before trial just because they are too poor to post a bond.

The court's action caused me to recall my first legal job, as an assistant district attorney in Manhattan. One of my duties was to represent the government at arraignment hearings for people arrested on charges ranging from murder to shoplifting. This was where a judge typically set bail — the price of pretrial release. The ability of defendants to pay this price determined whether they would return home to prepare for trial or be locked up in the city's hellish jail on Rikers Island.