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Pretrial release- Fairfax lawyer on cash bond reform

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Feb 17, 2019 Pretrial release- Fairfax lawyer on cash bond reform

Pretrial release- Fairfax lawyer on cash bond reform

Pretrial release- Fairfax lawyer on cash bond reform

Pretrial release- Fairfax criminal lawyer on reducing frequency of cash bond requirement

Pretrial release for criminal defendants involves the defendant’s promise to appear timely for all court dates, pretrial release conditions and/or cash bonds/ bail.

As a Fairfax criminal lawyer speaking for my clients’ interests, I want my asset-limited clients to not have to struggle to pay a cash bond, but want my asset-significant clients to have the option to pay a cash bond (directly to the court or by a percentage to a bail bond company) to avoid a no-bond situation or an alternative of time-consuming pretrial supervision that can interfere with work and personal obligations.

As a civil libertarian and former public defender lawyer, I recognize the inequity of financial resources enabling the wealthy able to pay bond pretrial, but the poor often stuck pretrial in jail pending their trials and any sentencing, even with comparatively low bonds. Of course, I also recognize that financial assets also provide criminal defendants more options in selecting their lawyers, and in investing funds for litigation costs and trial expert witnesses .

Pretrial release undergoes a Virginia metamorphosis in Richmond and with a Fairfax judge

Last year, Richmond’s commonwealth’s attorney/ chief prosecutor announced that his office no longer will seek cash bonds, rather than advocating either for pretrial release conditions or no bond. Also, in 2018 newer Circuit Court Judge David Bernhard stopped setting cash bonds.

On the other hand, the Fairfax County and Prince William County, Virginia chief prosecutors are not about to change their offices’ approaches to seeking cash bonds or not at the pretrial stage. Arlington County’s elected prosecutor asserts that her office does not seek cash bonds for most misdemeanors.

Virginia’s attorney general also is concerned about cash bonds’ harm to low-asset defendants

In October 2018, Virginia’s attorney general Mark R. Herring called for progress in reducing the harm of cash bonds on low-income criminal defendants at the pretrial stage. That is a big deal coming from Virginia’s top elected lawyer in a state whose laws are so relatively tough on criminal defendants.

Among organizations calling for pretrial cash bond reform in Virginia are the American Civil Liberties Union, Legal Aid Justice Center, and Virginia Pilot newspaper.

Fairfax criminal lawyer underlines the need also to overhaul Virginia law’s presumption of no bond for too many alleged crimes

All criminal defendants are presumed innocent, but the appellate courts repeatedly have okayed statutory schemes that presume no bond for a slew of alleged criminal offenses, or for people with certain prior criminal convictions or pre-existing pending criminal charges. This no bond state of affairs also needs overhauling.

Fairfax criminal lawyer Jonathan L. Katz pursues your best defense against felony, misdemeanor, DWI/DUI and drug prosecutions. To discuss your case with Jon Katz, please call his staff at 703-383-1100 to schedule a confidential consultation. 

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