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Lawmakers want to overhaul cash bail in Michigan

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Michigan’s cash bail system needs an overhaul. That’s the message of bipartisan legislation introduced in the state House and Senate.

Representative Tommy Brann (R-Wyoming) wants to get rid of the requirement that parents who owe back child support pay bail to get out jail before they see a judge.

 

“Being in jail they cannot pay the child support,” Brann said. “So it’s just a vicious circle for them so I just want to give them a chance to get out fast, get back to work so they can still pay their child support, try to get caught up on this.”

Other bills would require judges to issue personal recognizance bonds instead of cash bail in most cases. That’s unless the defendant is considered a danger or a flight risk. If the judge does find that the person is a danger or flight risk, then the judge would have to take multiple factors – including financial status – into account when deciding the cash bail amount.

“We should not have people who are spending the night in jail just simply because they’re too poor to pay a bond when they don’t pose any threat to the community,” said bill sponsor Senator Jeff Irwin (D-Ann Arbor).

The bills are now waiting for committee hearings.

Before becoming the newest Capitol reporter for the Michigan Public Radio Network, Cheyna Roth was an attorney. She spent her days fighting it out in court as an assistant prosecuting attorney for Ionia County. Eventually, Cheyna took her investigative and interview skills and moved on to journalism. She got her masters at Michigan State University and was a documentary filmmaker, podcaster, and freelance writer before finding her home with NPR. Very soon after joining MPRN, Cheyna started covering the 2016 presidential election, chasing after Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, and all their surrogates as they duked it out for Michigan. Cheyna also focuses on the Legislature and criminal justice issues for MPRN. Cheyna is obsessively curious, a passionate storyteller, and an occasional backpacker. Follow her on Twitter at @Cheyna_R
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