Md. Court Rules That Poor Defendants Are Entitled To Attorney At Bail Hearings | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

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Md. Court Rules That Poor Defendants Are Entitled To Attorney At Bail Hearings

The Maryland Court of Appeals is again ruling that poor defendants are entitled to have an attorney present at bail hearings.

Last year, lawmakers changed the law to address a previous court ruling, so lawyers would not have to be present at bail reviews. The law was changed due to the estimated cost of $28 million a year it would cost the state to comply.

The majority of judges, however, ruled that an indigent defendant is entitled to state-furnished counsel at an initial hearing before a district court commissioner, because the defendant's liberty is at stake.

Unless released on his or her own recognizance, the judges say the defendant will remain incarcerated until a bail review hearing before a judge.

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