- ABA Groups
- Resources for Lawyers
- About Us
The American Bar Association House of Delegates, which determines association-wide policy, will take up several proposed resolutions related to criminal justice reform at the upcoming ABA Annual Meeting, including one that seeks to lessen the link between pretrial detention and a defendant’s ability to pay.
The House — made up of 601 delegates from state, local and other bar associations and legal groups from across the country — meets Aug. 14-15 at the New York Hilton Midtown. Also on tap are wide-ranging resolutions that would urge state licensing agencies for lawyers not to deny bar admissions solely based on immigration status; foster civic and quality education of students; and request governments to keep guns away from some previously convicted violent offenders.
In Resolution 12C, the House would urge governments to adopt pretrial detention policies and procedures that favor release on personal recognizance or unsecured bonds and to permit cash bonds or secured bonds only upon a court finding that such financial conditions will ensure appearance. The ABA has recently filed several amicus briefs in immigration and misdemeanor cases, asserting that pretrial detention should not occur due solely to an inability to pay. The new resolution complements other ABA policies and criminal justice standards that seek to de-link a defendant’s financial status and bail.
Similarly, Resolution 112D asks governments to cease the use of bails and bonds in the juvenile justice system, and to utilize objective criteria that has no discriminatory or disparate impact. Resolution 112E calls for policies prohibiting the use of solitary confinement of children and youth under the age of 18.
Two gun resolutions are proposed. Resolution 118A asks that Congress expand some gun restrictions in the Gun Control Act of 1968 to include persons who have been previously convicted of a misdemeanor crime of violence that was motivated by hate or bias because of the actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or diversity or disability of any person. And Resolution 118B urges governments to enact statutes, rules and regulations authorizing courts to issue gun violence restraining orders when appropriate.
Other resolutions cover:
All resolutions currently filed can be found here. No proposal constitutes association policy unless and until the House of Delegates adopts it. Some offerings may be withdrawn while other measures may be submitted. Any measure can be amended until it is taken to a vote.
The Annual Meeting Reporter Resources webpage provides updates on meeting programs and highlights speakers and events. The status of resolutions will be updated here on Aug. 14 and 15 as the House acts on them. Accredited reporters are welcome to cover the meeting at no charge. Reporters interested in attending the ABA House of Delegates or other meeting events can register here.
Reporters may pick up their media badges at the meeting registration area on the 2nd floor (Promenade foyer) of the New York Hilton Midtown. During the Annual Meeting, a press room for accredited journalists will be open on the 3rd floor (Americas Hall II), starting at 9 a.m. on Aug. 10. Thereafter the media room will be open daily from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and will close one hour after the House of Delegates adjourns on Aug. 15.