ACLU of Ohio’s Bold Reform Recommendations to Criminal Rule 46 Must Be Adopted by Supreme Court of Ohio for Meaningful Change
COLUMBUS – The ACLU of Ohio and a number of sister organizations and individuals dedicated to criminal justice reform, submitted a joint comment to the Rules Commission’s proposed amendments to Criminal Rule 46, which establishes the judicial procedure for setting bail. The proposed amendments include positive changes, but without the corresponding procedural safeguards put forth by the ACLU of Ohio, many of the Rule’s improvements are unlikely to change the unconstitutional bail-setting practices in Ohio.
“Currently in Ohio, those who can afford to buy their freedom can go home to their families and communities, and those who cannot are forced to stay behind bars. We cannot allow these unjust bail practices to continue, and the Supreme Court of Ohio’s proposed amendments to Criminal Rule 46 are simply not enough to enact the bold reform Ohioans deserve. Each of the recommendations included in our comment will strengthen the Rule, and, if adopted, will have large scale, positive implications for Ohio’s pretrial justice system,” noted Claire Chevrier, Advocacy Counsel for the ACLU of Ohio.
The ACLU of Ohio’s comment calls for bold changes to ensure that no individual is detained simply because they cannot afford their conditions of release, including: a presumption of release without financial conditions, ability-to-pay determinations, counsel to be available at all stages during which bail is set, and the elimination of cost associated with “non-financial” conditions such as a GPS electronic monitor. The recommendations also include clarity on definitions of “bail” and “public safety.”
“Bail reform is a hot-button issue and the Supreme Court of Ohio has the opportunity to change our pretrial system for the better. Criminal Rule 46 is not just words on paper; if amended properly, Criminal Rule 46 could be the impetus for widespread change for Ohioans suffering under the unjust, harmful, and predatory status quo,” added Jocelyn Rosnick, Advocacy Director for the ACLU of Ohio.
The other organizations signed on include: ACLU National, Advocates for Basic Legal Equity, All of Us Or None of Us – Hamilton County Chapter, Bail Project Cleveland, Black Mama Bailout – Franklin County Chapter, Black on Black Crime, Black Lives Matter-Cleveland, Bold New Democracy, CAIR-Ohio, Carl Stokes Brigade, Civil Rights Corps, Common Cause Ohio, Cuyahoga County Progressive Caucus, CWRU Social Justice Institute, Cleveland Democratic Socialists, Equal Justice Under Law, Faith in Public Life, Greater Cleveland Civil and Human Rights Coalition, Heartland Conference – United Church of Christ, Jewish Federation of Cleveland, Juvenile Justice Coalition, Khnemu Lighthouse, Lutheran Metropolitan Ministry, NAACP, New Voices for Reproductive Justice, Northeast Ohio Black Health Coalition, Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless, Office of the Franklin County Public Defender, Office of the Hamilton County Public Defender, Ohio Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild, Ohio Council of Churches, Ohio Fair Courts Alliance, Ohio Organizing Coalition, Ohio Student Association, Ohio Voter Rights Coalition, Pretrial Justice Institute, Orianna House, Puncture the Silence – Ending Mass Incarceration, Ohio Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, Showing Up For Racial Justice, Survivors and Victims of Tragedy, Towards Employment, Trinity Cathedral of the Episcopal Diocese of Ohio, Unitarian Universalist Justice Ohio, United Church of Christ, Vincentian Network,
The Rules Commission will deliberate the public comments through the end of the year and any revisions made to Criminal Rule 46 will be sent to the Ohio General Assembly for review on or before January 15th.
The ACLU of Ohio’s public comment is available.