Though the bail reform acts passed in 1966 and 1984 were designed to prevent people charged with a crime from having to pay excessive bail while awaiting a trial, the opposite is often true. A new law set to go in effect in 2020 in New York aims to change this. Under the new law, no bail will be set for people accused of misdemeanors and non-violent crimes. Without bail, these individuals may have a better chance of winning their case.
Many Georgia residents are aware of the large prison population in the U.S. According to a long-running survey representing a crosscut of American society, a greater percentage of younger people have been arrested at least one time than their counterparts in previous generations.
A Georgia defendant going through a trial has a right to expect jurors to be impartial. However, this doesn't mean jurors should be expected to disregard their own individual beliefs and life experiences. This is the gist of a recent ruling made by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court. The case that led to this decision involved a black man who was convicted by a jury for a charge of possession with intent to distribute.
The FIRST STEP Act, which became a law in 2018, may affect some federal prisoners in Georgia who were convicted of nonviolent crimes, but a large portion of the prison population will not benefit from this reform. However, some jurisdictions are working to introduce alternatives to incarceration, even for people who have committed violent crimes, with some success.
Georgia residents who are charged with a misdemeanor could face jail time or a fine. However, for some defendants, it can be difficult to pay fines and other costs associated with going through the criminal justice system. A lack of financial resources can also influence how their cases play out. This is because they may not have the money needed to pay bail, which means that it could be several days spent in jail before seeing a judge.
Many people in Georgia are tracking the progress of the First Step Act, proposed federal legislation for criminal justice reform that is backed by an unusual array of supporters from across the political spectrum. The U.S. Senate voted 82-12 to advance the revised legislation that would lead to a sentence reduction for some federal prisoners if adopted. The proposed bill is supported by President Donald Trump as well as prominent Democratic senators like Cory Booker as well as the American Civil Liberties Union. While the Senate's Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell, had expressed opposition, he allowed the introductory vote to take place.
People dealing with the federal justice system in Georgia may be intrigued by reports about the First Step Act. The criminal justice reform legislation is backed by an unexpected alliance that includes President Donald Trump along with longtime reform advocates like the American Civil Liberties Union. The bill, widely understood as a compromise proposal, has been criticized for failing to take on serious reform measures as well as being soft on crime. For people who may be affected by its provisions, however, it can be important to understand the bill.