Tue April 1, 2014
No Attorneys Needed for Bail Hearings Under MD Bill
ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - The Maryland Senate has approved a bill that would make courts rely on a data formula in determining whether or not to jail people after arrest.
The bill passed 37-9 Monday evening, with one senator abstaining. Several senators have predicted that the bill would face serious opposition in the House of Delegates.
The measure came in response to a Court of Appeals decision that requires Maryland to provide defense lawyers at all bail hearings for indigent defendants. It would help avoid this requirement at the earliest bail stage because a human wouldn't be deciding whether the defendant should be released, under the plan. Instead, it would depend on a risk assessment score accounting for information like criminal history.
A House committee is expected to release an alternative plan this week.