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Senator suggests overturning bail attorney mandate

Wednesday - 3/26/2014, 4:26pm  ET

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) -- Sen. Bobby Zirkin wants to amend Maryland's constitution so the state will no longer have to provide a defense attorney at every indigent defendant's bail hearing.

This requirement is set to take effect in June, based on a decision by the Court of Appeals. The House and Senate are trying to compromise on a cost-effective way to handle it.

But the session ends on April 7, and Zirkin says those negotiations may collapse. In that case, amending the constitution could be a backup measure.

Zirkin opposes Sen. Brian Frosh's proposal to automate decisions on whether each person is jailed or released after arrest. Frosh's system would use data equations, such as the person's criminal history.

However, Zirkin says Maryland should still consider using data formulas to assist judges.


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