The state Supreme Court rolled out rules last year saying Missouri judges can only charge bail fees to help ensure that defendants will show up to court or if they pose a danger to others. Critics of the rules have said violent criminals have been released from jail. State Representative David Evans, R-West Plains, is proposing to clarify when judges can require bail.
“These bills assure that local judges have the discretion to make common sense decisions when it comes to release on bond from local jails,” says Evans, a former judge.
During a Missouri House Judiciary Committee hearing, Darrell Moore with the Missouri Association of Prosecuting Attorneys says he backs the plan.
“Any new rule change needs education,” he says. “Some of the judges, I think, out there are confused and some of them actually believe that the new bond rules were designed to let people out, which was not the intent. This bill just simply clarifies that.”
No one spoke in opposition to House Bill 1519. The committee has voted in favor of the bill. Another committee is reviewing the legislation.
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