A study of bail judges in the Miami and Philadelphia metro areas reveals that both black and white judges show prejudice against black defendants. The study found that judges were 2.4 percent more likely to rule that a black defendant would be detained rather than be allowed to post bail. If they do get bail, black defendants paid an average of nearly $7,300 higher than white defendants.
Other findings from the study found that judges in Miami were more biased than their counterparts to the north. Additionally, newer judges were more like to use stereotyping than older colleagues. This is not the first study to come to these conclusions.
How bail is determined in Massachusetts
We take pride in our justice system here in Massachusetts as being fair and balanced in all legal matters including the setting of bail. The legal system we have considers the following factors:
- Is there potential for flight by the defendant?
- Does the defendant have a history of not showing up in court when they are supposed to?
- Does the defendant have a Board of Probation and/or criminal record?
- Does the defendant have other open cases or is on probation?
- Is the defendant employed?
- Does the defendant live locally or have family here?
- Is the defendant potentially harmful to the community or the victim of the alleged crime?
Attorneys can help
In order to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest, attorneys do not typically post bail for their clients. However, they do work with the defendant to aggressively represent the rights of their client to ensure that the criminal trial is free from bias. During either litigation or negotiating a plea, a knowledgeable and experienced criminal defense can work toward reducing or dismissing a sentence.