Michael Phelps to participate in Shark Week

Ted Lieu

The problem with cash bail

The problem with cash bail

A half a century ago President Lyndon B. Johnson signed into law a bail reform act that was supposed to make release of people accused of crimes the rule and not the exception. "Because of the bail system, the scales of justice have been weighted for almost two centuries not with fact, nor law, nor mercy. They have been weighted with money," Johnson said.

But today, the system still favors the rich, who can afford to buy their way out of jail pending trial. The majority of people accused of crimes in Baltimore are poor; we at the Office of the Public Defender represent the bulk of these individuals and regularly watch judges set money bail amounts that far exceed what...