Two years ago, Senator Elizabeth Warren took the U.S. Senate floor and boldly proclaimed the existence of two legal systems: “one for the rich and powerful, and one for everyone else.” Statistics strongly confirm Senator Warren’s notions. Those who can’t post bail on non-felony charges will be held in pretrial detention or jail for months. Statistically, this group is much more likely to plead guilty, and some suffer jail time without ever being convicted of the crime they were accused of. Those who can afford bail, however, are more likely to never spend time in jail and be found not guilty of any charges.
Poverty & Bail in the U.S.
One report compiled by the Human Rights Watch, called “The Price of Freedom,” argues that poverty, not the crime committed, is the factor most likely to determine an individual’s legal consequences under America’s current system. Yet another study conducted by experts from Harvard, Stanford, and Princeton found that holding individuals in jail before their trial greatly increases the likelihood that the person will plead guilty.
When an individual has been thrown in jail, their power is sharply reduced. The executive director of the National Association for Criminal Defense Lawyers, Norman Reimer, explains that “bail is used as ransom to extract a guilty plea.” When unable to make bail, individuals can’t work and generate an income for their families. Additionally, their ability to fight any charges they are facing is severely damaged.
Charged with a Crime in Camden County, NJ? Call Experienced Criminal Attorney Jill Cohen Today
Research studies have continued to confirm the unsettling trend of bail being used as a weapon by prosecutors against impoverished defendants, yet little has been done to correct the issue. As a former assistant prosecutor, NJ criminal defense attorney Jill R. Cohen has all the experience, tools, and knowledge to help you avoid a conviction in your criminal case. Attorney Cohen has spent the last 30 years protecting and fighting for the rights of clients charged with various crimes, and she is prepared to be there for you every step of the way. To schedule a consultation at her Westmont office, contact the Law Office of Jill R. Cohen at 856-242-7177.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.