Two of my recent clients were incarcerated before trial because they couldn’t afford bail, though neither received jail sentences at the end of their cases. The state even dropped one of the matters. These two individuals‘ experiences provide important insight to what a future Maryland justice system might look like without cash bail.
As a public defender of over 13 years in Baltimore City, I know my two clients‘ examples aren’t unique. Forget for a moment that bail preys upon indigent people; that city bail premiums are overwhelmingly paid by African-Americans; that people plead guilty because they are stuck in jail on unaffordable bails; and that a consensus of social justice organizations, defense attorneys, prosecutors and non-partisan think tanks want change. Let’s focus on what reform means.