July 11, 2020

Bail reform is no debacle (letter to the editor)

Bail reform is no debacle (letter to the editor)

It is simply naïve to think bail reform is a debacle when you’re not in the criminal justice system.

No data shows murders and shootings skyrocketing on the North Shore. As a public defender, the notion that we are pro-crime and anti-police is and illusion. We support the police, but we demand accountability for officers that abuse their privilege to serve.

You’re presumed innocent until proven guilty. People should not have to sit in jail for months on mere allegations simply because they cannot make bail. A simple misdemeanor case could take up to six months before going to trial. For felonies, years.

Bail reform takes the intense pressure off defendants to plead guilty to lesser included crimes just to get out of jail.

I have seen it and I’ve done it. Defendants beg to just accept any offer because they get to go home to their love ones. I’ve seen defendants lose their jobs, apartments and relationships simply because they couldn’t make bail and have to sit in custody for months before trial just to be found not guilty.

(Public Defender Kelvin Richards is a New Brighton resident and a candidate for City Council on the North Shore.)

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