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New Rules Give People a Second Chance At Making Bail

Defendants unable to make bail will now get another chance to be sprung from jail under new rules that were announced last week.

In a bid to overhaul a system that has differentiated the haves and the have-nots, New York Chief Judge Jonathon Lippman introduced an "automatic judicial review" of bail amounts by a designated judge in each borough.

"This means the judge will take a fresh look and make an independent determination whether the bail amount should be adjusted or whether bail should be permitted in a less onerous form," Lippman said.

Judges often don't have time at arraignments to assess a defendant's financial means, he said, noting that 40 percent of the city's jails population is composed of pretrial detainees who are unable to post bail.

About 50,000 defendants in the city of kept in jail every year because they cant make bail. "Being incarcerated for even a week can mean loss of income, loss of employment and loss of public assistance," he said.

Lippman also announced a pilot program in Manhattan Criminal Court in which judges will be able to release misdemeanor suspects on electronic supervision, with the exception of those charged with domestic violence, assault and sex offenses.

Source: New York Post

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