The Missouri Supreme Court has struck down a law that denies bail to criminal defendants who cannot prove they’re legally in the United States.
Thursday’s unanimous announcement concerns a case in which a man was charged with felony possession of a forged Social Security card.
He was denied bail by a judge who cited a Missouri law which prohibits bail for defendants believed to be in the U.S. without legal permission.
The state’s high court said the law violates the state Constitution, which says people have a right to be released on bail pending a trial unless they face capital charges or pose a danger to others.
The high bench also said bail could have been withheld in this case had the state had proven the defendant, Faustino Lopez-Matias, was such a danger.
The court ordered the judge to consider “reasonable conditions” for Lopez-Matias release, but allowed for the defendant to remain in jail if he’s determined to pose a risk to the public. Lopez-Matias was originally jailed in September.