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Spitfire of ATJ

(32,723 posts)
Sat Aug 20, 2016, 01:27 AM Aug 2016

Justice Department Says Poor Can't Be Held When They Can't Afford Bail

Source: MSNBC

Holding defendants in jail because they can't afford to make bail is unconstitutional, the Justice Department said in a court filing late Thursday — the first time the government has taken such a position before a federal appeals court.

It's the latest step by the Obama administration in encouraging state courts to move away from imposing fixed cash bail amounts and jailing those who can't pay.

"Bail practices that incarcerate indigent individuals before trial solely because of their inability to pay for their release violate the Fourteenth Amendment," the Justice Department said in a friend of court brief, citing the Constitution's guarantee of equal protection.


Read more: http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/justice-department-says-poor-can-t-be-held-when-they-n634676

19 replies = new reply since forum marked as read
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Justice Department Says Poor Can't Be Held When They Can't Afford Bail (Original Post) Spitfire of ATJ Aug 2016 OP
The headline should have mentioned that the case is a misdemeanor Democat Aug 2016 #1
Some judges set bail for minor offenses just to lock people up.... Spitfire of ATJ Aug 2016 #3
Some States charge Cryptoad Aug 2016 #8
K&R awoke_in_2003 Aug 2016 #2
Happy to see this. Takes me back to a case I worked on elleng Aug 2016 #4
Did he at least pay back what he stole? Akicita Aug 2016 #10
Bernie fleabiscuit Aug 2016 #19
KnR for Justice Hekate Aug 2016 #5
wow, that is huge! awesome move forward in terms of advancing the cause of justice Vattel Aug 2016 #6
Bail has always been a tool to use against the poor. About time something is done about it.... marble falls Aug 2016 #7
This is good news PatSeg Aug 2016 #9
K&R Solly Mack Aug 2016 #11
Such a policy would have prevented Sandra Bland's death, as well as the death of many other tblue37 Aug 2016 #12
About time lsewpershad Aug 2016 #13
"Jailing the poor" has been popular since Reagan. Spitfire of ATJ Aug 2016 #15
I'm sure Reagan wanted to cryogenically preserve them in case we needed them later, tclambert Aug 2016 #17
working on ending the shit bucket. pansypoo53219 Aug 2016 #14
Wahooo!! nt SusanCalvin Aug 2016 #16
bout bloody time that the doj enforced the constituion. allan01 Aug 2016 #18

Democat

(11,617 posts)
1. The headline should have mentioned that the case is a misdemeanor
Sat Aug 20, 2016, 01:51 AM
Aug 2016

There is a reason that bail is set high for some types of serious crimes.

 

Spitfire of ATJ

(32,723 posts)
3. Some judges set bail for minor offenses just to lock people up....
Sat Aug 20, 2016, 02:15 AM
Aug 2016

They seem more guilty if they have a hearing from inside a jail.

Cryptoad

(8,254 posts)
8. Some States charge
Sat Aug 20, 2016, 10:09 AM
Aug 2016

inmates room and board, and can jail them until it is paid, More the jails are full , the more courts and judges are making!

 

awoke_in_2003

(34,582 posts)
2. K&R
Sat Aug 20, 2016, 01:54 AM
Aug 2016

We need to abolish the multi-tier justice system in this country. One level for the wealthy, one level for middle class whites, and at least one level for everyone else.

elleng

(131,732 posts)
4. Happy to see this. Takes me back to a case I worked on
Sat Aug 20, 2016, 03:50 AM
Aug 2016

(as a legal secretary, before law school.)

Syllabus

Appellant was given the maximum sentence for petty theft under Illinois law of one year' imprisonment and a $500 fine, plus $5 in court costs. The judgment, as permitted by statute, provided that, if, when the one-year sentence expired, he did not pay the monetary obligation, he had to remain in jail to work them off at the rate of $5 a day. While in jail, appellant, alleging indigency, unsuccessfully petitioned the sentencing judge to vacate that portion of the order confining him to jail after the sentence expired, because of nonpayment of the fine and cost. The Illinois Supreme Court rejected appellant's claim that the State statutory provision constituted discriminatory treatment against those unable to pay a fine and court costs, and affirmed the lower court's dismissal of appellant's petition, holding that "there is no denial of equal protection of the law when an indigent defendant is imprisoned to satisfy payment of the fine."

Held: Though a State has considerable latitude in fixing the punishment for state crime, and may impose alternative sanction, it may not, under the Equal Protection Clause, subject a certain class of convicted defendants to a period of Imprisonment beyond the statutory maximum solely by reason of their indigency. Pp. 399 U. S. 239-245.

41 Ill.2d 511, 244 N.E.2d 197, vacated and remanded.

https://supreme.justia.com/cases/federal/us/399/235/

marble falls

(58,040 posts)
7. Bail has always been a tool to use against the poor. About time something is done about it....
Sat Aug 20, 2016, 07:56 AM
Aug 2016

this isn't 1916 when a someone could go and disappear over a criminal charge.

Bail always seemed to fly in the face of a presumption of innocence even if bail was meant only to be bond to guarantee a court appearance.

PatSeg

(47,909 posts)
9. This is good news
Sat Aug 20, 2016, 12:47 PM
Aug 2016

It often seems like setting bail for the accused is in essence saying, "You are guilty until proven innocent, UNLESS of course you can afford bail". It is a very flawed system. Even people who can come up with the bail, often have to mortgage their homes and borrow from friends and relatives. I remember a woman who's whole life and her family's life was ruined because of this system, though in the end she was found innocent.

tblue37

(65,656 posts)
12. Such a policy would have prevented Sandra Bland's death, as well as the death of many other
Sat Aug 20, 2016, 02:20 PM
Aug 2016

people, mostly POC, who were locked up because of low-level traffic offenses or because of warrants resulting from nonpayment of outrageously multiplying fines from low-level traffic or ordinance violations.

Also, even those who don't end up dead often end up beaten, and many end up losing their jobs and their homes because they re trapped in jail and can't get to work.

This is something that should have been dealt with a long, long time ago. I hope the current bail policy ends up being jettisoned altogether.

tclambert

(11,089 posts)
17. I'm sure Reagan wanted to cryogenically preserve them in case we needed them later,
Sat Aug 20, 2016, 08:30 PM
Aug 2016

but jail seemed cheaper. Besides, he didn't really think we'd need them later. The other suggestion, by one of his advisers named John Swift, was to turn them into Soylent Green and eat them. I think the Spam lobby objected on the grounds it would depress prices for their product. Or they wanted the processing contract all to themselves.

Reagan knew, though, he had to make the poor disappear somehow. It made his rich friends feel bad if they had to see them.

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