Changes coming to Missouri bail system

Changes coming to MO bail system

MO (KFVS) -Missouri Supreme Court Justice Zel Fischer announced a new bail rule at his State of the Judiciary address.

Rule 33.01 changes the way judges will determine bail and in some cases bail won’t be imposed.

"We don't want to see people lose their jobs and lose their livelihood over non-violent misdemeanors, first time offenders. That's just not what we want for society. They're gonna get their punishment at some point anyway. Why make it harder,” said Gordan Glaus, Attorney with Glaus and Gohn, LC.

Under the rule, judges must consider non-monetary conditions before setting a bail amount.

"A lot of people don’t have that sitting around, so they have to wait until they get a public defender assigned to them or their family hires an attorney and try to get that bond lowered. In the mean time they’ve sat there for two, three, four weeks,” said Glaus.

The rule states if the court decides the suspect’s a danger to the public or won’t appear in court, bail and jail time are still options.

Butler County Sheriff Mark Dobbs said he doesn’t think it’s a smart change.

"I think the notion that people are losing their job because they have to come up with bail money and they can't, I think that's ridiculous,” said Sheriff Dobbs.

According to Sheriff Dobbs, he doesn’t know of any cases in Butler County where people have lost their jobs waiting to pay bail. Now, he said, law enforcement will spend extra time and taxpayers’ money finding people who don’t show up for court.

“If there’s no punishment, if there’s no money lost, if there’s nothing for them to lose whatsoever, why would they come to court,” said Sheriff Dobbs.

”I think it’s gonna really help make a distinction between people that need to be locked up because they won’t come to court or they’re at risk of offending again, and other individuals who they have no history of not showing up to court, they don’t have a violent history. There’s no reason to believe they’re not gonna come and take care of their court businesses,” said Glaus.

The new rule, effective July 1, 2019 also lists 16 conditions including a curfew, school or employment requirement, or home supervision if a judge decides to not impose bail.

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