State’s high­est court will con­sider cash bail re­form

Baltimore Sun - - MARYLAND WORLD -

A rule change that would en­sure de­fen­dants in Mary­land are not kept in jail only be­cause they can’t af­ford bail will be con­sid­ered by the state’s high­est court. The change — backed by At­tor­ney Gen­eral Brian Frosh but op­posed by key Gen­eral Assem­bly law­mak­ers with over­sight of the ju­di­ciary — was sent to the Court of Ap­peals Fri­day by a lit­tle-known ju­di­cial rules com­mit­tee by an 18-5 vote, a court spokes­woman said. The Mary­land ju­di­ciary’s Stand­ing Com­mit­tee on Rules of Prac­tice and Pro­ce­dure met to con­sider the change af­ter Frosh opined that the state’s long-stand­ing money bail sys­tem is un­con­sti­tu­tional. Frosh shared that opin­ion last month in a let­ter of ad­vice to five state del­e­gates who had asked for his ad­vice on the prac­tice. With the com­mit­tee’s vote on Fri­day, the amended rule gov­ern­ing cash bail will be open for pub­lic com­ment for 30 days, ac­cord­ing to Terri Charles, the court spokes­woman. The court will ac­cept writ­ten com­ments on the rule change. Charles said the Court of Ap­peals will then sched­ule a pub­lic hear­ing, where com­ments will also be heard. Those wish­ing to com­ment at the hear­ing must con­tact the Court of Ap­peals clerk’s of­fice.

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