State’s highest court will consider cash bail reform
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.