The bail and bond system is something that many people who are facing criminal charges in Maryland find troublesome. The bail amounts for charges are often preventative when a person is trying to get out of jail while their criminal charges are pending. For these inmates, efforts that are currently being made might help with the issue of getting out of jail.
The Maryland Court of Appeals was recently the location of a six-hour hearing on bail amounts in the state. Former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh were present seeking to have the justices agree to judicial guidelines that would help to set more realistic bails for people facing criminal charges.
There are around 7,000 people in jails in this state that are there only because they can’t afford to pay bail. One story that was presented in the six-hour hearing was a woman who had a bail of $100,000 after a fight with her sister. Her charge was assault. The single mother would have to come up with $10,000 to bond out, which was impossible on the wages she earned working two temporary jobs. This woman was able to get out of jail when a bondsman agreed to a series of payments totaling $10,000 instead of making her come up with one lump sum payment.
The initial vote from the justices wasn’t favorable. Only three of the seven voted in favor of the judicial rule change. A majority is necessary for it to go into place. The justices will consider the issue again in February.
For people who are facing criminal charges now, bail hearings, petitions for bail reductions and other methods might help to get them to the point where they are able to get out of jail so they can plan a defense against the charges.
Source: Vice News, “Cashing Out: Maryland is trying to approve a unique way to make bail less expensive,” Antonia Hylton, Jan. 19, 2017