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.