Regarding the brief filed for Michael Walker V. City of Calhoun, Georgia.
Although, in many cases the ﬁnding of support for neither party would be erroneous in this matter, it’s a good thing for the bail profession. The class action suit ﬁled by Mr. Walker against the City of Calhoun, Georgia was the start of many questions to the validity of the cash bail system and bond schedules. The suit ﬁled started a ﬁrestorm of suits being ﬁled under the same pretense and was supported by the last administrations AG and DOJ. These suits, many being pursued through a group known as Equal Justice Under Law, were determined to eliminate the cash bail system.
The city of Calhoun, in an Order, retains a ﬁxed bond schedule and has adopted that the accused be seen within 48 hours of arrest and include an opportunity to raise an indigence argument. The United States Court of Appeals stands behind this brief and feels that the district court should apply the legal analysis set in this brief.
The bail industry, in its entirety, understands that not all defendants should be required to meet a ﬁnancial obligation to be released from custody, especially non-violent or victimless crimes and those that are indigent or have mental health issues that do not present a ﬂight risk or danger to the community. The commonsense approach to the release of defendants is all one can ask, however to release a defendant who violated the law because they cannot aﬀord to pay when they are a danger is just plain ludicrous.
If the practice stated in this brief became common that all states maintained a bond schedule and defendants that were not released would be screened and brought back before the court to address indigence and a reduced or revoked bond in 48 hours, then I feel the system would work well. It would provide the adequate time to establish the probable cause, ﬁnancial means and ﬂight risk probability or if the defendant is a danger to the community.
In my opinion to SUPPORT NEITHER supports a system that is already in place which allows for moderate changes.