House Bill 139 is a horrible Republican repeal of the James J. Johnson Bail Reform Act of 2018.
That law gave judges the option to release defendants without requiring cash bail, and it requires courts to consider risk by using empirically-based tools to determine whether a defendant is likely to stay out of trouble and come to court, and use that information to make individualized “assignments” of conditions of release. Judges could require an ankle monitor, demand that the defendant hold down a steady job or institute regular mandatory check-ins with court officers, for example. Judges could still have the option to impose cash bail. This bill further requires the court to conduct a review of conditions of pretrial release for a defendant who remains detained after 72 hours from the defendant’s initial presentment because of inability to meet any condition of release (including a financial condition). Such a review must happen within ten days of detention.
The horrible Republicans say, without evidence, that the James J. Johnson Bail Reform Act has resulted in the release of violent offenders into our communities, leading to more Delawareans being victimized. Therefore, their bill, House 139 repeals the Act in its entirety, restoring strict cash bail and ending all discretion of the judge.
This bill must be opposed by all.
|House Bill 139 Sponsors||Yes Votes||No Votes|
|Smyk Collins D.Short, Yearick|
|Bonini Lawson Pettyjohn Wilson|
|Current Status — House Judiciary 3/30/21|