Former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder joined Maryland's top attorney and judges Thursday in urging the state's highest court to adopt new rules designed to prevent people who have been arrested from languishing in jail because they are unable to afford bail.
The Court of Appeals put off voting on a change until February, after a hearing that stretched more than six hours and included testimony from dozens of people. The proposed revisions call for judges and court commissioners to view requiring bail as a last option after considering a defendant's financial means.
An initial motion to adopt the changes failed to pass after garnering three votes from the seven judges.
Critics of the bail system say too many people are detained without being found guilty because they're given a bail that they can't pay. The purpose of bail is not to hold someone, but to ensure appearance in court. Judges can order someone held without bond if they believe they are dangerous or a flight risk