The Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee will hold a work session this afternoon on its bill, SB 422, to modify the recent ruling that all indigent arrestees are entitled to free representation at bail hearings. The recent ruling by the Maryland Court of Appeals has left affected state and county-funded agencies guessing at the enormous cost implications, potentially more than $100 million to county governments.
The early work session suggests the Committee’s interest in seeking a resolution to the important issue, and MACo will continue to follow the developing matter in Annapolis.
A February 17 Gazette.net article reported on the Maryland’s Court of Appeals decision to delay its final holding until March 5.
At its conference, the Court of Appeals decided to consider responses, due March 5, to motions filed by the Baltimore City District Court Commissioners and state Public Defender Paul B. DeWolfe Jr. before issuing a mandate to enforce its Jan. 4 decision.
DeWolfe, whose office would need an estimated $28 million more annually to make public defenders available at initial bail and bail review hearings, told the court in asking again for a stay of at least 180 days that his office does not have and is unlikely to quickly obtain the resources to comply.