bail

creative commons

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Maryland's highest court has approved changes to the state's pretrial system so people are not held in jail simply because they can't afford bail.

The court's seven judges unanimously approved the changes on Tuesday. They will be effective July 1.

The change comes after the court heard hours of testimony last month on rule changes proposed by the Standing Committee on Rules and Practice and Procedure.

WrightJermaine, mug shot

WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) - A judge is mulling whether to hold a bail hearing for a man who was released from prison after more than two decades on Delaware's death row and is now to be retried in a 1991 slaying.

Jermaine Wright was taken back into custody earlier this year after the Delaware Supreme Court said a judge erred in declaring that Wright's 1991 confession was inadmissible, and that the confession could be used at his retrial.

The decision cleared the way for prosecutors to refile charges against Wright, who was convicted of killing a liquor store clerk.

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The final forum yesterday for the Access to Justice Commission Committee heard calls for smarter reforms of the criminal justice system.

Much of the testimony surrounded issues ranging from ending bail and reducing mandatory sentencing to ending the three strikes law and the death penalty.

The Wilmington News Journal reports Carri Seward with the Delaware Coalition to Dismantle the New Jim Crow told the panel that the harm that has been done to the African American community needs to be repaired.

creative commons

There is an effort in Delaware to deal with the racial disparity in the criminal justice where a majority of prison inmates are African Americans but who only represent just over 20 percent of the state population.

Currently, a task force created by the state's Supreme Court Justice is looking into how this disparity can be ameliorated.

Delmarva Public Radio's Don Rush spoke with Charlotte King, co-chair of the Southern Delaware Alliance for Racial Justice about the criminal justice reform efforts in the First State.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - The state Senate is to vote on a proposed constitutional amendment allowing bail to be denied for defendants charged with non-capital crimes.

Tuesday's vote follows initial passage of the proposal last year, as constitutional amendments must be approved by two consecutive legislatures.

The amendment is aimed at stopping the release of violent offenders who wind up being charged with more violent crimes after being released on bail.

Currently, bail can be denied only for first-degree murder.

delaware.state.courts.gov

DOVER, Del. (AP) - The Delaware House has resurrected and approved a proposed constitutional amendment allowing bail to be denied for defendants charged with non-capital crimes.

The bill fell three votes short of the required two-thirds majority in a Wednesday vote. That vote was rescinded Thursday, and the bill received one vote more than needed.

delaware.state.courts.gov

DOVER, Del. (AP) - A proposed constitutional amendment allowing bail to be denied for defendants charged with non-capital crimes has failed to clear the state House.

The bill fell three votes short of the required two-thirds majority in a House vote Wednesday, but there's a possibility it could be resurrected before the legislative session ends next week.

The amendment, supported by Attorney General Beau Biden, was defeated twice in the state Senate last June before being resurrected and passed in a little-noticed midnight vote on the final day of legislative session.

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Gov. Martin O'Malley has ordered that a panel study pretrial reform in Maryland.

O'Malley issued an executive order on Tuesday to create the Governor's Commission to Reform Maryland's Pretrial System. It will be charged with issuing recommendations to the governor by Dec. 1.

The panel has been created in response to a ruling last year by Maryland's highest court that defendants have a right to legal counsel at every bail hearing. Lawmakers failed to agree on a solution in the last legislation session.

delaware.state.courts.gov

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Maryland's district courts are hoping to find attorneys willing to represent poor defendants at bail review hearings.

The court system announced Thursday that a new program will pay $50 an hour to attorneys who offer their time and legal expertise to represent defendants who can't afford them. They'll also be reimbursed for mileage and tolls. It's expected to launch on July 1.

The program is the first of its kind in the nation and is meant to comply with a Court of Appeals ruling that Marylanders have a right to legal counsel at all bail hearings.

delaware state courts website

DOVER, Del. (AP) - State House members are set to vote on a proposed amendment to Delaware's constitution allowing bail to be denied for defendants charged with non-capital crimes.

The proposed amendment, backed by Attorney General Beau Biden, is aimed at stopping violent offenders from getting released on bail, only to be charged with committing more violent crimes after being put back on the street.

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