580 Taylor Avenue
Annapolis, Maryland 21401
This past July, Maryland’s highest court adopted a rule for judges and commissioners regarding the release of arrested individuals before trial. The new rule was designed to promote the release of defendants who are not dangerous and who are likely to appear in court with the least amount of restrictions. The Maryland General Assembly requested a report from the Judiciary on the impact of this rule and letters of advice that proceeded the rule. Of particular interest, is whether more individuals are being released, whether less individuals are being held on cash bail, and which individuals fail to appear for court.
The report compares the four months before the letters of advice were issued to 11 months after. The highlights of the report show:
- The percentage of individuals Released on Recognizance at their Initial Appearance before a Commissioner increased from 35.4% to 41.5%.
- The percentage of individuals Released on Recognizance or a promise to pay a certain amount if they fail to appear increased from 44.6% to 52.4%.
- The percentage of individuals held on cash bail at their Initial Appearance before a Commissioner dropped from 40.2% to 20.8%.
- The overall Failure to Appear (FTA) rate decreased from 10.1% to 9.2%. The comparison also indicated that the FTA rate decreased for those individuals that were held on cash bail and remained constant for those who were Released on Recognizance.
The statewide totals in the report for the entire 15 months that were examined indicates that:
- The percentage of those individuals that were Held without Bail by a Commissioner drops from 16.2% to 10.7% after a Bail Review hearing by a judge.
- The overall FTA rate in criminal cases over the 15 month period was 9.4%.
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