ABA Files Amicus Brief Challenging Cash Bail System

The American Bar Association filed an amicus brief this week calling the bail system of a Texas county unconstitutional, just before the ABA’s House of Delegates will consider a resolution opposing the use of money bail entirely, the ABA Journal reports. The brief was filed yesterday in O’Donnell v. Harris County, Texas, a case pending in the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The plaintiffs argue that the county’s bail schedule is unconstitutional because it effectively conditions freedom on the defendant’s ability to pay. In the brief, the ABA asks the 5th Circuit to affirm the ruling of a federal judge in Texas, which sided with the plaintiffs and found that the county had been using high bail amounts as “preventative detention.”
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