Released on July 19, 2022.
Bail Reform has been praised as an effective way to correct a societal wrong. Its byword has been “bail does not keep the most dangerous in jail: it keeps the poorest.” Despite this argument, Bail Reform is receiving increasing pushback.
Bail Reform aims to curb or eliminate cash bail for people who are in jail awaiting trial and charged with either misdemeanors or nonviolent offenses. Bail Reform releases many of these vulnerable low-income defendants from pretrial incarceration. It allows them to return to their homes, to go back to their families, and to keep their jobs. It also saves taxes by managing jail populations. Jail is by far the most expensive way to deal with defendants. A national average put keeping a defendant in jail at $391 a day; in contrast probation on average costs $121 a day.
Here are just a few recent examples of the pushback:
• Progressive San Francisco prosecutor Chesa Boudin, who supported Bail Reform has been recalled
• Progressive Los Angeles prosecutor George Gascon is facing a recall.
• Judges in Chicago have been blamed for releasing defendants on electronic ankle monitors who then go out and commit violent crimes,
• New York City Mayor Eric Adams blamed rising crime in his city partially on judges who are not keeping dangerous criminals in jail.
Some pundits believe that voters are tired of being afraid: afraid of rising crime, afraid of the homeless, and afraid that courts, under Bail Reform, let dangerous criminals out to threaten their communities.
Some of the topics we will explore today include:
• What is the current situation on Bail Reform?
• What should be the courts’ position regarding Bail Reform?
• What should courts be doing right now?
• The Honorable Ed Spillane, Judge of the Municipal Court in College Station, Texas and
• The Honorable Paul Farr, Judge with the Herriman and Alta Municipal Courts in Salt Lake County, Utah
Click here listen to the podcast. The audio version is 23 minutes and 45 seconds long and the video is 24 minutes and 51 seconds long.
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Show Notes> Additional Resources
Judge Edward Spillane is the Presiding Municipal Judge for the City of College Station and has served in this position since May 2002. Prior to this, he served as an Assistant District Attorney for Brazos County for eight years and as an associate for the law firm Fulbright & Jaworski for two years.
Judge Spillane received his undergraduate degree from Harvard University, and his law degree from the University of Chicago.
He is past President of the Texas Municipal Courts Association (TMCA); the 1st VP on the TMCA’s Board; was a member of the State Commission on Judicial Conduct representing all Texas Municipal Courts; is a member of the Texas Judicial Council; a member of the National Task Force on Fines, Fees, and Bail Practices; and a board member of the Misdemeanor Justice Project of the John Jay School of Criminal Justice in New York.
Judge Spillane has written articles in numerous publications, including The Washington Post, Texas Town and City, and the University of Chicago magazine. His articles have focused on the plight of indigent defendants and also the benefits of mindfulness in the courtroom.
He has taught on behalf of the Texas Municipal Courts Education Center and several national organizations.
Judge Paul C. Farr graduated from the J. Reuben Clark Law School at BYU in 1999 and has been a member of the Utah State Bar for 21 years. He has been a municipal court judge for the past 11 years. He is also a member of the Utah Judicial Council and has been serving in that capacity for the past 5 years.