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Dutchess judge rules bail decisions must consider ability to pay

Feb 09, 2018 2:05 pm
Jason Grant reports for the New York Law Journal that Dutchess County Supreme Court justice Maria Rosa ruled Feb. 7 that setting cash bail without considering the defendant's ability to make such a payment, violates the Constitution's rights of due process and equal protection. The case was brought by the New York Civil Liberties Union on behalf of a Dutchess County man held for months because he couldn’t afford his bail. “We intend to use this ruling to pursue statewide reform to end the practice of jailing thousands across the state solely because of their inability to pay for their freedom,” said Philip Desgranges, an NYCLU senior staff attorney and the lead counsel on the case. “All New Yorkers deserve a justice system where the rich and the poor are equal under the law.” Gov. Andrew Cuomo also applauded the ruling. "New York has long stood as a prominent symbol of justice for this nation and we saw this on display once again yesterday when State Supreme Court Justice Maria Rosa issued a groundbreaking ruling making clear the constitutional infirmities of our State's current monetary bail system," he was quoted saying in a press release. Cuomo has proposed largely ending the use of cash bail in low-level cases. Read the full story in the New York Law Journal.