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Cashless bail system discussed in forum

Much of the discussion revolved around how the current bond system in Kentucky can be reformed.
Published: Mar. 23, 2022 at 5:13 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Prosecutors and public defenders almost always argue against each other, but during a community forum discussion Wednesday, they agreed on one thing: Kentucky’s bail system is broken.

The event was hosted by the Louisville Bar Association.

Much of the discussion revolved around how the current bond system in Kentucky can be reformed.

The panelists included the Commonwealth’s Attorney, Tom Wine; the Louisville Metro Chief Public Defender, Leo Smith; Louisville Urban League President Sadiqa Reynolds and District Court Judge Josephine Layne Buckner.

They discussed how Kentucky’s Constitution mandates a judge give a defendant a bond no matter the type of crime, except if it’s a death penalty case. Because of that law, some argued only those with the ability to pay the bond could get out. Those without the means stay in jail.

“If you have parents that are wealthy enough, or you yourself are wealthy enough or someone who loves you has got the money to bail you out,” Reynolds told WAVE News, “you’re not even up for discussion. People come downtown, they post the bond and everybody walks away.”

She added the current bond system punished the poor.

One solution which was discussed revolved around switching to a cashless bond system like in federal court. There, a judge can keep the person in jail if they’re deemed to be a danger without bond. If they are not a danger, they are released. Money would be removed from the equation.

“We are focusing on breaking a system that is already broken even more and that is breaking the backs of people who are really trying to climb out,” Reynolds said. “There are violent people in our society and they need to be dealt with, most people are not.”

You can watch the entire discussion at LBA’s Facebook page.

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WAVE — Louisville and Southern Indiana's NBC affiliate. Follow us on Twitter & Instagram @wave3news.(WAVE)

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