Bipartisan bills would change state’s cash bail laws

Mar 14, 2019

Michigan’s cash bail system needs an overhaul. That’s the message of bipartisan legislation introduced in the state House and Senate.

Representative Tommy Brann (R-Wyoming) wants to get rid of the requirement that parents who owe back child support pay bail to get out jail before they see a judge. 

“Being in jail they cannot pay the child support,” Brann said. “So it’s just a vicious circle for them so I just want to give them a chance to get out fast, get back to work so they can still pay their child support, try to get caught up on this.”

Other bills would require judges to issue personal recognizance bonds instead of cash bail in most cases. That’s unless the defendant is considered a danger or a flight risk. If the judge does find that the person is a danger or flight risk, then the judge would have to take multiple factors – including financial status – into account when deciding the cash bail amount. 

“We should not have people who are spending the night in jail just simply because they’re too poor to pay a bond when they don’t pose any threat to the community,” said bill sponsor Senator Jeff Irwin (D-Ann Arbor).

The bills are now waiting for committee hearings.