Last July, the Missouri Supreme Court enacted rules requiring judges to first consider non-monetary conditions for pretrial release when setting bail conditions. Under these new rules, judges can still set bail, but only at an amount that would ensure public safety and that the defendant would appear in court.
Since then, high-profile crimes — including an October shooting at a Kansas City bar — have led to backlash against the new Missouri Supreme Court rules. More than 80 Missouri state representatives signed on to a letter asking the court to revoke the new bond rules. They say they’ve heard from law enforcement officials who have concerns about suspects re-offending before facing trial. They argue that the court overstepped its boundaries and that these new rules, meant to address a problem facing a small number of courts, place a significant burden on all courts across the state.
State Rep. Justin Hill, R-Lake St. Louis, has filed a bill to rescind the Supreme Court’s bail rules, and he joined St. Louis on the Air on Monday to discuss why he feels the court’s bond rules should be rescinded.
Robert Russell, a Johnson County prosecuting attorney and chair of the pretrial release subcommittee of the state's criminal justice task force, joined the conversation, as well as Richard Rosenfeld, a professor emeritus of criminology and criminal justice at the University of Missouri-St. Louis.
Hear the conversation:
“St. Louis on the Air” brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. The show is hosted by Sarah Fenske and produced by Alex Heuer, Emily Woodbury, Evie Hemphill, Lara Hamdan and Joshua Phelps. The engineer is Aaron Doerr, and production assistance is provided by Charlie McDonald.
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