Carroll County: Most Arrestees Waive Attorney at Bail

One month into the District Court’s Appointed Attorney Program and at least one jurisdiction is reporting larger than expected numbers of arrestees waiving their rights to an attorney at their initial appearance before a district court commissioner. As reported in The Carroll County Times:

In Carroll County, however, the vast majority of those recently-arrested defendants have said no thanks to a state-funded attorney, and proceeded to appear alone in front of a district court commissioner.

According to Warden George Hardinger, most people processed through central booking at the Carroll County Detention Center whose income qualifies them have waived their right after it is explained to them.

“It’s even higher than I anticipated,” he said. The appointed attorneys are available in Carroll County from 8 a.m. to noon seven days a week.

Even defendants charged with serious crimes and without a great deal of experience with the criminal justice system have chosen to proceed unrepresented, which Hardinger said surprised him.

Officials quoted in the article note that the large amount of waivers and coordination between the agencies involved have contributed to a relatively smooth process:

Chief Deputy State’s Attorney Allan Culver said his office, which has a designated attorney prepared to attend any initial appearance where the defendant has counsel present, had not attended as many hearings as they expected to either.

The state’s attorney in charge of covering initial appearances for the day calls the District Court commissioner in the morning and asks if any defendants are waiting for attorneys and expect to be represented, Culver said.

“We’ve all kind of worked together to make sure everyone understands what the other agencies are doing,” Culver said.

As previously reported on Conduit Street, the appointed attorney program began at 8 a.m., July 1, 2014.

For more information read the full article in The Carroll County Times.

This topic will also be covered in MACo’s 2014 Summer Conference during a session entitled, “Fixing Bail Without Breaking Jail.”

Learn more about MACo’s 2014 Summer Conference:

Contact Meetings & Events Director Virginia White with questions about Summer Conference.