Update: Bail is denied to clinic client who appealed high bail

Nicole Easley, a Baltimore woman charged with attempted murder, was granted a new bail hearing Tuesday after a courthouse recording revealed that a Circuit Court judge in September set a $750,000 bail knowing Easley could not pay it.

Maryland law requires bail be used only to ensure that a defendant appears for trial.

On Tuesday Easley, who is now represented by UB’s Pretrial Justice Clinic, was ordered held without bail.

Read “Woman who appealed high bail is held without bail” in The Baltimore Sun (Nov. 2, 2016).

Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh last month wrote an opinion saying the practice of holding defendants in jail because they are unable to meet bail would likely be found unconstitutional.

However, The Sun noted, this argument could result in more defendants being held without bail.

Professor Colin Starger, co-director of the Pretrial Justice Clinic with clinical fellow Zina Makar, said Judge Charles Peters’s decision in the Easley case at least comports with Maryland rules.

“Having clarity is helpful, and then we can move the system in the direction so the presumption of innocence is maintained,” Starger said.

Student-attorney Adam Shareef told Peters that he could impose an “unsecured bail,” in which Easley would not need to put money down but would be liable for a stipulated amount if she did not appear in court.

Peters demurred, saying: “It’s not a matter of bail. It’s a matter of access” to the victim.

Easley is accused of stabbing her boyfriend.

The judge dismissed requests that Easley be allowed to return home under a monitoring agreement, saying, “Can’t [she] just get out?”

Read earlier blog post about the case.

Learn more about the Pretrial Justice Clinic.

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