Update: High Court Delays Bail Ruling Enforcement

In an order issued Tuesday, the Maryland Court of Appeals has delayed enforcement of its ruling requiring the right to an attorney at bail review in order to allow the General Assembly time to enact legislation to address the issue. As reported in the Baltimore Sun “Crime Beat” blog:

The General Assembly is considering ways around the court ruling, including eliminating the hearings before bail commissioners, or allowing jail officials to set bail — a technicality that might allow the state to skirt constitutional requirements for counsel.

But the office of the attorney general says those solutions could take more than a year to implement.

Aides to Gov. Martin O’Malley say he wants the legislature to find a long-term solution, which could include overhauling the pretrial system.

The District Court is being sued by plaintiffs, including Quinton Richmond, a Baltimore man who demanded a lawyer at a bail hearing in 2006 but was denied one.

The Court of Appeals ordered oral arguments for May on how the state can implement the order, and whether it should be revised to help the state comply.

For more information, read the full Sun coverage and previous coverage on Conduit Street.