Indiana high court orders most arrestees released without bail

(WISH Photo, file)

INDIANAPOLIS (WANE) An Indiana Supreme Court-led reform of the state’s bail system has called for suspects placed under arrest in a handful of counties, Allen included, to be released without bail.

The state’s high court said Wednesday that in an effort to enhance public safety and “protect the presumption of innocence,” suspects who do not pose a public safety risk or flight risk must be released after they are charged without bail. The rule was made effective immediately in Allen, Bartholomew, Hamilton, Hendricks, Jefferson, Monroe, St. Joseph, Starke, and Tipton counties. It will be expanded to all courts January 1, 2018.

Evidence-based risk-assessment tools will be used to release suspects, the court said.

The change comes as the state Supreme Court and a coalition of partners, including defense attorneys, probation officers, lawmakers, and trial court judges, overhauled the state’s bail system.

Indiana Public Defender Council Executive Director Larry Landis said the change is a necessary one.

“The current system confines people pretrial if they cannot afford to post bail even if they are neither a flight risk nor a public safety threat,” said Landis. “The new rule will reduce unnecessary, unjust, and expensive pretrial confinement without jeopardizing public safety.”

Not every suspect will be released without bail. Those charged with murder or ones on probation, for instance, won’t be released.

“Prosecutors encourage the implementation of fair pretrial procedures that serve to protect the public and we look forward to feedback from the nine pilot counties regarding implementation of the rule to continue developing sound policy,” said Indiana Prosecuting Attorneys Council Executive Director David Powell.

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