State Senator To Introduce Legislation To Address “Major Flaws” In Unsecured Bail

Republican Senator Colin Bonini, tomorrow is set to announce the introduction of legislation to repeal the bipartisan House Bill 204, which effected fundamental changes in bail law in 2018.

In a statement released on Tuesday Bonini said  Major flaws became apparent shortly after the Delaware Supreme Court implemented new rules based on the bill.

House Bill 204 was intended to decrease the use of monetary bail while releasing more defendants from jail pending trial. In addition, judges were compelled to use a pretrial risk assessment tool, which, as a matter of course, recommended the release of all defendants pending trial unless a prosecutor or judge made a “special showing” that they should be required to post bail prior to release, said Bonini.

By January 2019, there were numerous reports of individuals being freed pending trial who would probably never have been released without putting up bail. Democrat Senator Bryan Townsend of Newark, one of the co-sponsors of HB 204, acknowledged that unforeseen problems had developed as a result of the legislation, including a number of “acts of criminality” stemming from assailants being released on unsecured bail, said Bonini. Townsend also indicated that there were numerous questions about the new law coming from both law enforcement, as well as members of the community.

Because of these negative developments, Senator Townsend introduced a resolution calling on the Delaware Supreme Court to alter the rules governing the release of defendants. While that resolution passed the Delaware legislature overwhelmingly in February, the state Supreme Court has not done anything since that time to assuage these concerns and has not changed the problematic rules implementing bail reform, according to Bonini.

We will have more on this developing story tomorrow.



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