Summer Savings! Get unlimited digital access for 13 weeks for $13.
Readers Respond
News Opinion Readers Respond

Judges and holiday compassion [Letter]

While Maryland officials remain at odds about implementing poor people's constitutional guarantee to counsel at first appearances ("Maryland has an opportunity to lead the way in bail reform," Nov. 29), the judiciary can help break the logjam and demonstrate the benefits of taking a humanitarian approach toward the people expected to spend Christmas and New Year's in jail while awaiting trial on non-violent charges.

Maryland law requires every administrative judge to conduct a weekly review of the pretrial jail population. It is done to assess delay before trial and whether continued incarceration is necessary.

What if the judges required defenders, prosecutors, pretrial investigators and corrections to do the same? The search would likely find some pretrial detainees who are deserving of spending this Christmas and New Year's with family rather than remaining in jail because they cannot afford bail. Isn't this an example of the law being carried out in a compassionate and just manner?

Such collaboration bodes well, too, for the future enforcement of the high court's guarantee of counsel ruling and persuading political leaders to see the benefits of working together to enforce constitutional rights.

Doug Colbert, Baltimore

The writer is a professor at the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law.

-
To respond to this letter, send an email to talkback@baltimoresun.com. Please include your name and contact information.

Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
Related Content
  • Maryland has an opportunity to lead the way in bail reform [Editorial]

    Our view: The state should give serious thought to a proposal to move away from a financially secured bail system to one rooted solely in risk assessment.

  • Baltimore needs BRT

    Baltimore needs BRT

    Recently, Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford announced that Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) should be considered as an alternative instead of the now-shelved Red Line light rail system ("Who knew Hogan, Rutherford were such transit geeks," July 15). Why? Costs. Light rail is extremely expensive — to the tune of...

  • Iran deal — war now or war later

    Iran deal — war now or war later

    In its recent editorial, The Sun adopts President Barack Obama's primary argument in favor of the Iran deal — that the only choice is the deal or war ("A 'good enough' agreement," July 24). No one wants war. But the choice here is not war or no war. It is war now or war later.

  • The evil of Iran

    The evil of Iran

    We sat 5,000-plus strong in the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in the District of Columbia for three intense days of Christians United For Israel (CUFI) 10th summit on July 12-14. We came from all across the nation (including 95 members from other countries and 500 college students). We...

  • Orioles: No gnomes, please

    Orioles: No gnomes, please

    In light of the Orioles recent near-death spiral, many fans have pinned the blame on the Buck Showalter Garden Gnome giveaway ("Buck Showalter garden gnome briefly causes long lines at Camden Yards," June 28). True, their record since the promotion has been dismal and Buck Showalter was warned...

  • Baltimore remains a fiber desert

    Baltimore remains a fiber desert

    Like Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake's Smarter Baltimore draft report, the commentary, "Broadband for Baltimore" (July 27), has solid recommendations for building high speed Internet in Baltimore. But like that report, it ignores the principal reason that Baltimore City doesn't have broadband. Verizon's...

Comments
Loading
82°