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Can Michigan’s Archaic Bail System be Updated? Some Say Yes!

Michigan’s bail system doesn’t take into account a person’s ability to pay, which can leave them stranded behind bars.

Yesterday we talked about the initiatives recently put in place by Governor Whitmer to reform Michigan’s criminal justice system, and if you recall – one of those issues the task force hopes to address is bail. According to Governor Whitmer, bail is often a problem here in Michigan, because of the financial burden it places on incarcerated poor people who aren’t flight risks.

For many of them, being unable to pay bail leaves them behind bars until their trials, unable to work or be with their families, and occassionally subject to harsher sentences. The task force hopes to address this problem, among others, but they aren’t the only ones working to address the issue of bail in Michigan.

The battle over bail is raging in Detroit!

The Michigan chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union recently sued the 36th District Court and the Wayne County Sheriff’s Department in Detroit over the issue of excessive bail. Specifically, the issue of how poorer people are left, trapped in jail even when their crimes are minimal, or non-violent, or there’s very little evidence against them. In Detroit, where poverty is widespread in parts, this seems to be a major problem. The 36th District Court is the busiest one in Michigan and it serves the City of Detroit where there is a lot of crime.

According to Ann Mullen, the communications director for the Michigan ACLU, “This is a statewide problem of family members being locked up in jail because they can’t afford bail.” She goes on to cite a case from Grand Rapids where “Someone hung himself in jail because he could not afford bail.” That, according to the ACLU, is not something that should ever have happened.

The ACLU says high bail for poor people is unconstitutional!

According to the ACLU, it’s unconstitutional to give a poor person a very high bail, unless the violent nature of their crime warrants it. The reasons, they claim, is because leaving someone stuck in jail when the law says they’re supposed to be presumed innocent until proven guilty, is a violation of the Equal Protection Clause. That is, it doesn’t properly take into account the person’s financial before setting bail. However, the ACLU isn’t recognizing the a defendant’s financial condition is not one of the factors that a court has to consider in setting bond.

Although the ACLU’s lawsuit is meant to address the issue exclusively in Detroit, they admit that the problem is a statewide issue. According to John Johnson, attorney and executive director of Michigan’s Legislative Black Caucus, when it comes to the issue of bail in Michigan, “The 36th District Court is largest and probably the worst offender.”

A skilled defense attorney can often help you get a more reasonable bail bond

Part of a defense attorney’s job is making sure that your rights aren’t being violated, and that your case achieves the best possible outcome. Here at The Kronzek Firm we take that aspect of our jobs very seriously, fighting for reasonable bail for our clients to ensure that they spend as little time behind bars as possible.

Being arrested is a very scary process, and we understand that you want to be out of jail and back with your family as soon as possible. So if you or a loved one have been arrested, call The Kronzek Firm immediately at 866 766 5245. We can help with every aspect of your defense, including arguing on your behalf for a reasonable bail amount, and providing you with an aggressive defense against the charges.

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