Judges will make decision that could shake up bail system - CBS46 News

Judges will make decision that could shake up bail system

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(Source: WGCL) (Source: WGCL)

Three appellate judges will make a decision that could shake up the American bail system. 

“The court for the first time is addressing the idea of whether we can hold on to somebody, keep them in jail simply because they can’t pay the bail, whether [it's] constitutional,” said attorney Page Pate.

In 2015, Maurice Walker was arrested for allegedly being a pedestrian under the influence. He was then given two options -- pay a $160 cash bond or stay in jail.

Unable to find the funds, Walker stayed in jail for several days.

He then sued the city of Calhoun.

A judge later granted an injunction saying, “Defendant [city of Calhoun] may not continue to keep arrestees in its custody for any amount of time solely because the arrestees cannot afford a secured monetary bond.”

Now, Calhoun is fighting back.

So is Beth Chapman, the wife of famous bounty hunter Duane "Dog" Chapman.

“Requiring that a person is just immediately released from jail as soon as they’re arrested is not reasonable and it's dangerous to the community,” said Chapman.

Pate called the practice unconstitutional.

“Treating poor people, indigent people different than anybody else without at least a consideration for ability to pay, and that’s not fair,” said Pate.

“They’re not being penalized because they’re poor. They have a choice to break the law or not break the law,” said Chapman.

“People who have money get treated better than folks who don’t. That’s a debate that’s been going on for a long time. No matter how this case comes out, I don’t think it’s going to be over yet,” said Pate.

Pate said the decision could take months. In the meantime, Calhoun has already taken action. The city attorney said under the new policy, people will appear before a judge within 48 hours of being taken into custody.

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