One of the most contentious parts of the American justice system is the cash bail system. Cash bail is money that defendants have to pay as a deposit so that they can stay out of jail until their trials. The problem with cash bail is that if people are unable to pay it, they must remain in jail. This means that many people who are awaiting trial for even minor offenses could languish in jail for months while waiting to appear before a judge.
Many organizations and groups believe unable to afford bail should not eliminate a person's ability to be free while awaiting their court date.
Organizations Have Been Working to Eliminate Cash Bail
Organizations like the ACLU have been working hard for years to eliminate the cash bail process. In Pennsylvania, the local chapter has drafted letters to the courts and raised concerns about over 2000 bail hearings where defendants received bail that they could not pay. These organizations consistently urge these judges and courts to follow the rules when setting bail.
In 2019, a coalition of prison reform advocates and the ACLU got together to file a lawsuit that demanded an end to unfair bail practices. They also released a report that alleged that in spite of very mediocre improvement, judges in Allegheny County in Pennsylvania continued to set cash bail for defendants in over 25% of the cases.
Reasonable Cash Bail and Other Options Are Available
By law, bail is supposed to be a mechanism used by the courts to allow for pretrial release. If it was applied properly, most of the people receiving cash bail would be able to post it. Unfortunately, the system sometimes works against defendants, and their bail amounts are set beyond their ability to pay.
If the bail that is set is beyond the defendant's capacity to pay, it is no longer following the rule of law. The frustrating thing for many defendants is that magistrates have other options available to them, including releasing dependents on their own recognizance, setting non-monetary bail, or even sending out court date reminders.
In studies, these non-cash bail options have been shown to be very effective and oftentimes more effective than cash bail. Simply spending a few days in jail could cause a person to lose everything, including their job, custody of their children, and their places of residence.
Even defendants who have a net worth and a high standard of living could end up facing bail amounts that are beyond their ability to pay. This often happens in cases where they have legal representatives who don't prepare arguments that can convince judges to set reasonable bail.
Work With Lawyers Who Can Protect Your Rights Regarding Bail
If you're having a cash bail issue, you could be facing an uphill battle when it comes to being able to stay out of jail and prepare for your case. Attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm have years of experience helping clients work out bail resolutions that allow them to take charge of their cases.
Reach out for help at 888-535-3686 today to schedule an evaluation of your case. Your life is worth it.