Joseph M Getty

Maryland Court of Appeals: Defendants can't be held in jail because they can't afford bail

Maryland Court of Appeals: Defendants can't be held in jail because they can't afford bail

Maryland's highest court adopted a landmark rule Tuesday aimed at ending the practice of holding criminal defendants in jail before trial when they cannot afford bail.

The seven-member Court of Appeals unanimously agreed on a compromise that does not abolish money bail, as some advocates have urged, but instructs judges and court commissioners to look first to other ways to ensure a defendant appears for trial.

Chief Judge Mary Ellen Barbera called the final language "the best possible proposed rule we can expect when we're working with all stakeholders."

The rule won praise from both bail reform advocates and the bail bond industry, which felt threatened by...

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