Bail In Maryland District Courts

“The legislature needs to fix this”

Over the years the issue of newly charged defendants looking to get out on bail has gone up and down…..mostly “down” for Defendants.For a significant period of time my firm has witnessed a major turn in events where many Defendants have been given excessive bail or no bail at all. They don’t get out.

A strict bail analysis in court by a Judge consists of a determination of the Defendant’s probability of showing up for court, safety of the community, nature of the crime alleged and other impacts.

A major bail review rule that Judges must follow and inures to the State’s benefit is that the Judge must accepts the facts as alleged by the state….that puts most Defendants in a situation where the Court hears nothing but what the police or state alleges at that stage of the game. Some good Defense attorneys take the opportunity to sometimes get into the facts, but few and far between. Thats because many times the Court does not want to take unproven facts “on behalf of the Defendant” into consideration. This needs to change. A stronger new evidentiary component in “bail reviews” needs to be implemented. Limited, but enough to at least level the playing field. In the long run it will save time because many Defendants will be released.

I’ve noticed even for simple domestic violence (DV) cases and accusations where Defendants have a relatively good (no criminal history) background, Commissioners and Judges are locking the door.The legislature needs to get this bill fixed and fast. Court are guided by the legislature…they make the laws. It’s about time everyone in Annapolis makes THIS ISSUE PERFECTLY CLEAR!

James E. Crawford Jr.

(443) 720-7419

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