A New System For Deciding Bail is Being Used in Michigan Courts (Pt 1)

Bond, also known as bail, can be very costly, and often seems arbitrarily assigned. But how Judges decide bail in Michigan may be changing…

Posting bail is an important issue that has to be considered if you ever get arrested. Is bail available to you? Can you afford it? Should you spend the money? Here in Michigan, for many years, the system of deciding bail was very complex, but the Michigan Supreme Court has recently launched a pretrial pilot program that hopes to protect defendant’s rights, protect the public, and even save the state some money.

How will this pilot program work?

The pilot will be providing Judges with a pretrial risk assessment tool that aims to help them make informed bond decisions that take into account all relevant data. So what data is relevant to deciding whether or not a person should get bail? According to a media release from the Michigan Courts, the five Judges involved in the pilot will be making bail decisions based on “statistically validated predictors of pretrial risk.”

What courts and counties are involved in the pilot program?

The new program has been launched in five counties around the state, namely:

  • The 31st District Court in Hamtramck, Wayne County, presided over by Chief Judge Alexis Krot
  • The 41B District Court in Clinton Township, Macomb County, presided over by Chief Judge Carrie Fuca
  • The Isabella County Trial Court in Mt. Pleasant, presided over by Chief Judge Eric Janes
  • The 67th District Court in Flint in Genesee County, presided over by Chief Judge Richard Yuille
  • The 94th District Court in Escanaba, Delta County, presided over by Chief Judge Steven Parks

What issues is the pilot program meant to address?

As we mentioned earlier, the point behind this program is to keep the public safe, save the state some cash, and ensure that defendants rights aren’t violated. Not sure exactly what that means? Here’s a breakdown of the problems they hope to solve:

  1. According to the Michigan Courts, the average cost to detain a pretrial defendant is almost $75 a day. This costs taxpayers all over the US about $14 billion a year. By allowing more defendants to post bail, it will ultimately cost the state less than if we kept them behind bars.
  2. According to current data, more than half of Michigan’s 15,000 jail inmates are pretrial defendants, and statistically speaking, three-quarters of all pretrial defendants in jail are charged with nonviolent offenses. So it doesn’t make sense to crowd the jails with people who aren’t a risk to the general public.
  3. The more nonviolent offenders we have behind bars, the less space we have available for violent or high risk offenders. It’s simple math to allow low-threat defendants to go, while keeping high-threat defendants behind bars.

Bail is a very important subject when you’ve been arrested!

Join us next time, for a look at more issues the courts hope to solve, and the factors Judges will be required to consider when deciding bail. Being arrested is a very scary prospect, and knowing you’ve got someone you can call, day or night, who will step up and fight for your rights can make all the difference. So if you’re ever arrested in Michigan’s lower peninsula, and you need help sorting out the legalities, call The Kronzek Firm at 866 766 5245 (866 7No Jail) and talk to one of our experienced criminal defense team. We’re here 24/7 to help you out.

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