Gary S. Bernstein, P.A.

Call Toll-Free: 866-435-2795

Locally at: 410-415-9219

Posts Tagged ‘The Best Lawyers in America’

Bail in 2017

The criteria for bail has been changed because Attorney General Frosh found that the system of cash bail is unfair to minorities and the poor.  Our Attorney General has been a champion for those in the State who are without power and who areb unfairly targeted, wither by the courts or big pharma, or big business.  His work to revise this system is to be commended, and as a result the Chief Judge of the District Court set forth a set of rules to be used to set bail.  The Court of Appeals followed that up with a Rule where cash is no longer king, and is a last resort.  By cash I mean having to pay a bondsman up to 10% of the bail amount.

Interestingly, there was a comfort for judges to set a high bail for serious crimes.  Telephone number size bails seemed to assuage the bench and the public.  Unless you were charged with murder or rape, you were likely to have a bail set.  If your family was fortunate to own real estate in Maryland, part or all of the bail could be posted by pledging the property.

Now that is not the case.  The way the new Rule is practiced by the bench, it is an all or nothing proposition for release.  Since if you are "entitled" to bail the least onerous conditions are to be set, Pre-Trial Release is the preferred method.  It requires monitoring by the Pre-Trial Release Division and they or the prosecutor can apply to have the release revoked for good cause.  However, if you are deemed a danger to public safety you are denied bail.  No longer is a $250,000.00 or $500,000.00 bail set to try to keep you in jail while still honoring the 8th Amendment prohibition on excessive bail.  No bail is as excessive as you can get as you cannot get out of jail.

No bail is now the rule rather than the exception.  The other day at District Court Bail Review, if the accused's crime presented a "danger" the accused was denied bail.  No matter how intrinsically shallow the evidence was in the Statement of Probable Cause, if there was a "threat to Public safety", then there was no bail.  One judge has remarked to me that either you get released on your own recognizance or you are denied bail.  There does not seem to be a middle ground.  

The change that was first advocated by the Attorney General and adopted by the Court of Appeals was and is the right thing to do.  Unfortunately it has resulted in cases of injustice because it is easier to justify keeping someone in jail as opposed to setting terms of release.

Justice Department to Aggressively Pursue Marihuana and Mandatory Penalties

It is no secret that Attorney General Sessions is opposed to the use of marijuana for any purpose, including medicinally. He has appointed a former United State's Attorney from Tennessee to help implement the change.  There has been a growing movement by CONSERVATIVES in this country to reduce federal mandatory penalties. Senator Mitch McConnell and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan supported such legislation.  As a Senator, Sessions prevented the bill from being voted on even when there were over 70 Senators in favor because he politicized it as a vote to go soft on crime.  

Now as Attorney General, Mr. Sessions has ordered that every tool be used in the prosecution of any drug offense.  Discretion regarding pleas to lesser quantities in order to insure fairness may be limited.  Quantity alone should not determine the sentence.  Prosecutors and judges in State court where mandatory sentences are not required understand this and view the defendant as a whole. Federal prosecutors and federal judges have been doing this since the Sentencing Guidelines were ruled no longer mandatory.  However if the only charges pursued are the ones carrying mandatory penalties then discretion will be lost.  The next 4 years will see a change in federal prosecution tactics.  Those states that have liberalized marijuana use may find some of their participants charged under federal law with manufacturing marihuana. The federal prison beds of the drug offenders pardoned by President Obama are going to be filled.  

My Criminal Defense Practice

Most of my website focuses on my DUI practice.  If you are contacting me for a DUI through the website you have probably just returned home from the police station and are looking for a lawyer.  I have decided to add some information on the Home Page about my non DUI cases. My criminal practice includes the defense of all drug cases in State and Federal Court.  These cases have a terrible impact on your future, and you have to fight to keep this type of charge from destroying your future.  If you have a substance abuse problem, I deal with it immediately.   I handle all felony and misdemeanor cases from petty theft to murder.  Everyone is entitled to aggressive representation no matter how heinous the offense is viewed.  

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Contact Information

  • Gary S. Bernstein, P.A.
  • 29 W. Susquehanna Avenue, Suite 700
  • Towson, Maryland 21204
  • Toll Free: 866-435-2795
  • Locally: 410-415-9219
  • Fax: 410-823-0610

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