MD Governor Looks to Overhaul Bail Hearing System

Apr 8, 2014


ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Gov. Martin O'Malley says he plans to work on overhauling Maryland's bail hearing system, after a bill that would have done so stalled in the Legislature.

O'Malley told reporters Monday that he will work with stakeholders who supported the overhaul approach backed by Sen. Brian Frosh.

That would use data on each defendant, such as criminal history, to assess the person's risk of committing more crimes if they were released from jail. Low-risk defendants would be released automatically.

O'Malley says he may issue an executive order that would invite jurisdictions to create a computerized risk-assessment tool.

The state budget allocates $10 million for paying private attorneys to staff the bail hearings. Maryland's highest court has ruled defendants have a right to legal counsel at their initial bail hearings.