Virginia’s Attorney General Calls for Cash Bail Reform

"We can't have a criminal justice system that determines fairness and freedom based on wealth," Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring said

What to Know

  • Virginia's Attorney General Mark Herring has called for reforms to the state's cash bail system.
  • Herring said there are other ways to keep communities safe and ensure defendants show up to court.
  • The move to eliminate cash bail has gained support at the state and national level.

Virginia's attorney general has called for reforms to the state's cash bail system.

Mark Herring says the current practice of seeking cash bail leaves many nonviolent defendants unable to afford to get out of jail while they are awaiting trial.

Northern Virginia

News4's Northern Virginia Bureau Chief Julie Carey has been covering this side of the state since joining NBC4 in 1992. She's joined by reporter Drew Wilder.

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Herring said the practice raises possible constitutional concerns and puts an undue burden on low-income defendants.

"We can't have a criminal justice system that determines fairness and freedom based on wealth," Herring said.

Herring said the state has other ways of keeping communities safe and ensuring that defendants show up in court, including pretrial supervision.

Bail bondsmen and some prosecutors may oppose the move, but abolishing cash bail has gained support at the state and national level. In New Jersey, cash bail was all but eliminated in 2017.

In April, Richmond's top prosecutor said he would no longer seek cash bail for defendants who do not appear to pose a risk to the community.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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