Disturbing article from the Guardian (UK) on the use of excessive bail to force criminal defendants to accept plea bargains. In America. The country where “reasonable bail” is a Constitutional right. This story focuses on New York but comes as no surprise to any lawyer who has dealt with the criminal justice system. Here in Texas, for example, it is very common for prosecutors to persuade grand juries to “recommend” a higher bail for defendants who have already made bond before indictment, thus forcing them to be re-arrested and come up with additional money for a new bond. Some Texas judges also routinely deny court-appointed attorneys to defendants who make bond, even though the law forbids them from considering the ability to make bail in determining indigency.
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