In Virginia, accused individuals do not have a right to counsel at their magistrate hearing or their first appearance. If the presumptions against bail are reinstated, these Virginians will be asked to rebut these presumptions alone without the assistance of counsel. The practice of jailing people pretrial is overused and comes at a great expense to the Commonwealth. Last year's repeal effort has a fiscal impact statement estimated at $3.23 million.
In addition, these initiatives are not rooted in evidence-based research or best practices. When released, defendants who faced presumptions were no more likely to be rearrested for a subsequent criminal offense during the pretrial period than those who did not.
People who are charged with even serious crimes should be able to have their individual circumstances considered. Judicial officers already have the tools and the ability to detain people if they determine that is appropriate.
Reinstating the presumptions against bail unconstitutionally shifts the burden of proof to the defendant, costs the Commonwealth a lot of money, and will not keep our communities safer.
Protect progress ending presumptions against bail and say NO to HB 1365.