pretrial supervision | St. Louis Public Radio

pretrial supervision

ArchCity Defenders' Michael-John Voss (at left) and Wash U's Peter Joy joined Thursday's talk show.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri Chief Justice Zel Fischer in January announced coming changes to the state’s pretrial rules, which govern bail, detention and other practices directly impacting citizens accused of a crime.

The new rules, described by Fischer as “common-sense modifications” within a system that too often treats defendants according to their pocketbooks instead of the law, go into effect July 1.

On Thursday’s St. Louis on the Air, St. Louis Public Radio’s Rachel Lippmann discussed the implications with a local law professor and a representative from ArchCity Defenders.

Tyrone Henley is one of many people recently ordered to wear an electronic ankle monitor while awaiting trial in St. Louis.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Before he got another chance at freedom, Tyrone Henley spent six weeks in jail, unable to put up $25,000 cash bail.

But last week, Henley and dozens of others in St. Louis jails received new bail hearings after a federal judge ruled the city’s bail-setting practices unconstitutional.

At his hearing, a judge decided to release Henley after he signed a promise to return to court. But there was one more condition: In order to stay out of jail, the 55-year-old has to wear an electronic ankle monitor.

And although Henley is glad to be out of the city’s Medium Security Institution, commonly known as the Workhouse, he said he still feels confined.

Every month, Jocelyn Garner reports to Eastern Missouri Alternative Sentencing Services for a bond supervision check-in that costs her $30. Garner is awaiting trial on charges filed nearly a year ago.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Once a month, Jocelyn Garner steps off a bus and walks into a dimly lit waiting room in the Dutchtown neighborhood of St. Louis. Her name is called, and an office worker jots down her personal information and asks if she’s staying out of trouble.

The visits take less than five minutes and cost her $30. Her payments go to Eastern Missouri Alternative Sentencing Services, a private company based in St. Charles that tracks and monitors people awaiting trial in St. Louis.

Garner is one of many in St. Louis court-ordered to report to the for-profit company, commonly known as EMASS, after posting bail. Under the law, she’s innocent — but as she waits for her day in court, she pays monthly fees to maintain her freedom. Missing a payment could lead to a warrant for her arrest.