Monday, February 18, 2013

Conference of Chief Justices Endorses Bail Reform

The Conference of Chief Justices, made up of the highest judicial officers in the fifty states, the District of Columbia, and the various United States territories, has officially endorsed bail reform and pretrial justice in America. Specifically, it “commends and endorses” the Conference of State Court Administrators’ policy paper on pretrial release, and it joins with that group “to urge that court leaders promote, collaborate, and accomplish the adoption of evidence-based assessment of risk in setting pretrial release conditions and advocate for the presumptive use of non-financial release conditions to the greatest degree consistent with evidence-based assessment of flight risk and threat to public safety and to victims of crimes.”

The Conference of Chief Justices is a pretty important group, and its policy is clearly at odds with that of the commercial surety industry, which advocates for presumptive release on financial conditions. This new policy was a catalyst for Judge Lippman's call for an examination and overhaul of New York’s bail laws, and it will undoubtedly nudge judicial officials in other states to do the same.

You can read the resolutions here: