In response to concerns that requiring accused criminals to post cash bail to secure pretrial release meant affluent defendants went home while the poor sat in jail with a disproportionate number of them persons of color, nearly two dozen states enacted some sort of "bail reform."
An Illinois law ditching cash bail was supposed to go into effect New Year's Day but is on hold while the Illinois Supreme Court hears challenges. An amendment to the Ohio state constitution permitting judges to consider dangerousness, the severity of the crime and a defendant's prior record when setting cash bail was passed in November with 77.5% of the vote. In Wisconsin, a similar measure is on the ballot in April after a repeat offender charged with serious domestic violence crimes was released on $1,000 bail and five days later plowed his car into a Christmas parade, killing six people. And New York City Mayor Eric Adams blames bail reform for a spike in crime.
Gavel Talks host Richard Ginkowski looks at claims that bail reform may have gone too far and now itself needs reform. And, as Gavel Talks is a podcast is a podcast by, for and about judges, he'd like to hearfrom you on this trending topic. Your input may be included in a future episode. You can reach Judge Ginkowski at [email protected].