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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Mohamud Noor (DFL)

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Public Safety Committee Passes Legislation Reducing Use of Cash Bail

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Rep. Mohamud Noor

PRESS RELEASE

Minnesota House of Representatives

Public Safety Committee Passes Legislation Reducing Use of Cash Bail

ST. PAUL, MN – Today, Rep. Mohamud Noor presented legislation to reduce the use of financial conditions – typically bail – in misdemeanor offenses. Under the bill, defendants charged with certain misdemeanors would be released without financial conditions unless the court determined there was a substantial likelihood that the defendant would flee or endanger public safety. This bill passed the Public Safety Committee and will now go to the Judiciary Committee.

“People who are charged with minor offenses and not a risk to public safety should be able to continue contributing to their community by working, pursuing education, and being with their families,” said Rep. Mohamud Noor. “Cash bail essentially serves as a get out of jail free card that applies only to people who can afford it, while people in poverty are forced to pay unreasonable rates in bail bonds or remain in jail before they’ve been convicted of a crime.”

Bail for misdemeanors in Minnesota can vary from $78 - $12,000. Defendants who cannot pay often use bail bonds or remain in jail before trial. Minnesota allows bail bonds to charge up to 10 percent of the bail amount.

The financial condition exemption would not apply if the defendant had certain impaired driving convictions or had a history of committing violent crimes, such as domestic abuse, domestic violence, or stalking.

In 2018, California became the first state to eliminate cash bail.

Sen. Bobby Joe Champion authored companion legislation in the Senate.

 

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