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Pre-trial Detention Reform

Concerning measures to assist defendants in securing release from jail through the bonding process, and, in connection therewith, making an appropriation.
2021 Regular Session
Courts & Judicial
Crimes, Corrections, & Enforcement
Bill Summary

The act requires a court to hold a bond setting hearing within 48 hours after an arrestee's arrival at a jail or holding center beginning on April 1, 2022.

Under current law, a person is allowed to post bond within 2 hours after the sheriff receives the bond information. The act repeals that requirement. The act states a bond may be paid at a minimum by cash, money order, or cashier's check, and a judge, judicial officer, or bond hearing officer shall not require a monetary bond be paid in the defendant's name. Unless extraordinary circumstances exist, the custodian of a jail shall release a defendant who is granted a personal recognizance bond no later than 6 hours after the defendant is back in jail, and in cases when cash bond is set, the defendant shall be released no later than 6 hours after bond is set, after the defendant is physically present in the jail, and after the defendant or surety notifies the jail that the defendant or surety is prepared to post bond. If the custodian fails to release the defendant within 6 hours after the bond has been set, the custodian shall inform the defendant and any person posting bond on behalf of the defendant the reason for the delay and shall document the reason for delay in the defendant's file. The act requires that after a bond has been paid, the defendant and surety, if any, receive a copy of the bond paperwork, a notice of rights related to bonding, and information regarding the defendant's next court date. The act requires each jurisdiction to establish a way to pay bond online by January 1, 2022. The act states that a bond is posted when the surety or defendant pays the bond as evidenced by the time stamp on the bond or bond receipt.

Each sheriff shall post a notice of rights related to bonding on the sheriff's website, including information about how to file a complaint for violations. The sheriff shall include the notice in the inmate handbook and must provide the notice free of charge to anyone requesting a copy. The sheriff shall post a notice that contains the bonding information in the common area of the jail in a location clearly visible to the inmates and clearly visible in the public portion of the jail where a person posts bond.

By October 1, 2021, each sheriff shall:

  • Create written policies to comply with statutory bonding requirements;
  • Review and update the sheriff's website, signage, paperwork, and forms related to bonding to reflect current law; and
  • File a certificate of compliance with the statutory bonding provisions with the division of criminal justice in the department of public safety.

The act provides that each defendant has a right to be represented by an attorney at a bond hearing and the prosecution has the right to be present at a bond hearing.

The act creates the position of a bond hearing officer, who is a magistrate, to conduct bond hearings on weekends and holidays throughout the state using audiovisual technology. The bond hearing officer conducts bond hearings throughout the state in the counties that request the service of the bond hearing officer. The public will be able to view the hearings. For each case heard by the bond hearing officer, the arresting jurisdiction shall electronically transmit the arrest report, pretrial services information, and all other relevant information to the bond hearing officer prior to the hearing. The act creates the district attorney assistance for bond hearing grant program to assist smaller district attorneys' offices in covering the costs associated with the bond hearing officer hearings. The act appropriates $150,000 for the grant program.

For the 2021-22 state fiscal year, the act appropriates $412,816 from the general fund and the judicial department information technology cash fund to the judicial department to implement the act. The act appropriates $67,136 from the general fund to the state public defender to implement the act. The act appropriates $19,500 from the general fund to the division of criminal justice in the department of public safety to implement the act.

(Note: This summary applies to this bill as enacted.)


Became Law


Bill Text

The effective date for bills enacted without a safety clause is August 7, 2024, if the General Assembly adjourns sine die on May 8, 2024, unless otherwise specified. Details