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Trials and Arbitration
Replace court commissioners with judges
Replace court commissioners with judges

In DeWolfe v. Richmond, the Maryland Court of Appeals held that a criminal defendant's first appearance before a judicial officer after arrest triggers the constitutional right to counsel under the due process clause of the Maryland Declaration of Rights. Before Richmond, arrested defendants appeared without counsel before court commissioners, who, although not judges, reviewed the sufficiency of the charges and made pretrial release determinations, including setting bail. As a result of the decision in Richmond, the state is now required to provide attorneys for indigent defendants at this initial stage, which has come at a very high price tag. In the last fiscal year alone, the...