February 28, 2013

The Bail Review Problem in Maryland Criminal Justice
-- Often times defendants without legal representation end up getting held for criminal offenses when they shouldn't be. --

    BALTIMORE, MD, February 28, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Bail review is your chance to go home after you've been arrested. If you don't go home, it's more of the same: sitting behind bars until trial. The fact is that having an attorney in your corner, who can stand up for you when you need it, can mean the difference going home and staying in jail when it comes to bail review in Maryland.

Lawyer-up for Bail Review?

The fact is that having a lawyer at bail review - even law students acting as student lawyers - can significantly decrease the number of people who get stuck behind bars after an arrest. According to opinion pieces in the Baltimore Sun, defendants without legal representation end up getting held for criminal offenses when they shouldn't be. Or their bail is just too high under the circumstances.

But as former Baltimore City prosecutor Page Croyder writes, it's not just the lack of legal representation at bail review that's the problem, but the bail review system itself is "seriously flawed."

Discrimination and Extortion

Croyder doesn't give specifics other than to say that Maryland needs a "whole new mindset" regarding who gets stuck behind bars before trial and why. Croyder refers to a lawsuit against the Maryland bail system for discriminating against the poor (who cannot afford to post bail) and extorting bail fees (from those who just want to get out of jail after they've been arrested).

She argues for free lawyers, not at the commissioner hearings (which state lawmakers had recently made a requirement), and which take place immediately after arrest, but at bail review. At bail review, a defendant who cannot afford to post bail is taken before a judge to plead his or her case.

It's at this stage - bail review before a judge - where people stand to benefit most from legal representation, whether that representation is provided free of charge by public defenders or paid for through a private criminal defense attorney.

Croyder refers to it as a "more just solution," one that wouldn't have more people than necessary, including the poor, held for minor offenses or because they can't afford to post bail.

Bail review is a critical step in a criminal case. Even if you can afford to post bail, whatever the amount, that doesn't make it fair.

Baltimore criminal defense lawyer, James Crawford and his legal team defend clients against all types of crimes, from misdemeanors like shoplifting, to felonies like drug distribution and sex offenses. The law firm also represents clients in divorce and personal injury cases. People in Maryland have relied on the Law Offices of James E. Crawford, Jr. & Associates, LLC since 1992. To contact James Crawford, Esq. or a member of his legal team, call 866-635-0623, or visit http://www.crawforddefenseattorney.com/ for more information about his criminal law practice.

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