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cash bail reform

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People who are accused of a serious crime often have two options: sit in jail or pay up. Advocates for criminal justice reform have been pushing to move away from that system, which they say has serious consequences for poor and working-class people. Eli Savit, who was recently elected prosecutor for Washtenaw County, is one of those people. His office is ending the practice of cash bail in the county because, he says, it creates an “inherently inequitable system.”

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Today on Stateside, many Michiganders have received a second round of COVID-relief stimulus checks over the past couple of weeks — but for some, it’s not enough. We take a look at how far a one-time $600 check goes when you’re living on the edge of poverty. Also, a reporter talks us through the latest developments with Enbridge’s controversial Line 5 pipeline in the Great Lakes. Plus, the future of cash bail programs, which have come under scrutiny in Michigan.

Savit campaign website

Washtenaw County’s prosecutor’s office is about to undergo a major shakeup. Friday is the first day on the job for new county prosecutor Eli Savit.  

Savit won a three-way primary in August, before running unopposed in November’s general election.

During his campaign, Savit promised to end cash bail, eliminate zero-tolerance policies and put rehabilitation ahead of incarceration.

Savit wants Washtenaw County to serve as an example to the rest of Michigan.

Pickles in a strainer beside dill.
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Today on Stateside, does a new pretrial risk assessment tool aimed at helping judges answer complex pretrial questions help or hurt defendants? Plus, we talk to an expert about the spotted lanternfly, a destructive invasive insect that could be making its way to Michigan. 

Listen to the full show above or find individual segments below. 

cash bail
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The Michigan Supreme Court has launched a pilot project to test a program called Public Safety Assessment or PSA. It's a risk assessment tool using a predictive algorithm to help judges make pretrial decisions.

The pretrial period is the time between someone being arrested and tried. At pretrial hearings, judges quickly have to decide whether a defendant should spend that time in jail or out on bail. To make that decision, they have to determine whether that person is likely to not show up to court or commit a crime.

36thdistrictcourt.org

Detroit’s 36th District Court finds itself in an unusual position: as the defendant in a new lawsuit.

The ACLU has sued the court over its cash bail practices. The federal class action lawsuit contends the court keeps too many people behind bars simply because they’re poor.


36thdistrictcourt.org

A new lawsuit aims to end cash bail and overhaul the pre-trial justice system at Detroit’s 36th district court.

The ACLU filed the federal class action suit Sunday. It argues that the 36th district’s current process for arraigning defendants violates their constitutional rights in several ways.

frankieleon / flickr

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.”

bail bonds
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One of the core philosophies of U.S. criminal law is the presumption of innocence, that defendants charged with crimes are innocent until proven guilty.