Sally Yates dips into legal fight over Georgia town’s bail practices

Former U.S. Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates delivers an address at Harvard Law School Class Day 2017, Wednesday, May 24, 2017, at Harvard University, in Cambridge, Mass. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

Former acting Attorney General Sally Yates is getting involved in a legal fight over the city of Calhoun’s bail practices.

Yates, whom President Donald Trump fired in January for refusing to carry out his travel ban, joined more than two-dozen current and former prosecutors earlier this week urging an Atlanta-based federal appeals court to strike down the Northwest Georgia town’s bail system.

“A bail system that indiscriminately jails indigent individuals charged with misdemeanors based solely on their economic status while immediately releasing those who can afford to post a bond is inconsistent with our country’s promise of equal justice,” Yates said in a written statement accompanying the friend of the court brief.

A class-action suit was brought against the town for its practice of detaining defendants facing misdemeanor charges until their trials unless they could pay bail. Our colleague Bill Rankin breaks down the case this way:

The lawsuit was filed by Maurice Walker, who was arrested in 2015 for being a pedestrian under the influence of alcohol. He was detained for six days because he could not post a $160 bond. The city has used a schedule that sets bail based solely on the crime being charged, not the offender’s ability to pay.

After Walker filed suit, the city changed its practice to give detainees a bond hearing within 48 hours after their arrest. Since (U.S. District Judge Harold Murphy) issued his injunction, people charged in Calhoun with misdemeanors have been released on their own recognizance.

The Yates-signed legal brief was filed by the Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection at Georgetown Law, where the onetime Atlanta-based U.S. attorney is now a distinguished lecturer.

Signatories argued the practice of detaining poor people who cannot post bail is not only unconstitutional, but “counterproductive” to law enforcement since it damages trust in the justice system in communities where prosecutors need victims and witnesses to testify.

On the other side of the issue, groups like the Georgia Sheriffs’ Association, the American Bail Coalition and the International Municipal Lawyers Association have argued that systems similar to Calhoun’s are kosher, ensuring that the accused will come to court appointments.

Since being fired by Trump, Democrats have floated Yates’ name as a potential candidate for office. But Yates last month said she has “never been drawn to the idea of elective office.”

Read more about this closely-watched case: 

Calhoun case: Should a poor person who can’t make bail be held in jail?

Appeals court tells judge to try again in Calhoun bail case

Don’t lock up people too poor to make bail, Atlanta court is urged

Reader Comments 0

5 comments
Kathy
Kathy

And the opposite. Rich alleged violent offenders making bond instead of sitting in jail before trial where they belong.

Alanis_
Alanis_

s͙t͙a͙r͙t͙ m͙a͙k͙i͙n͙g͙ c͙a͙s͙h͙ r͙i͙g͙h͙t͙ n͙o͙w͙... g͙e͙t͙ m͙o͙r͙e͙ t͙i͙m͙e͙ w͙i͙t͙h͙ y͙o͙u͙r͙ f͙a͙m͙i͙l͙y͙ b͙y͙ d͙o͙i͙n͙g͙ j͙o͙b͙s͙ t͙h͙a͙t͙ o͙n͙l͙y͙ r͙e͙q͙u͙i͙r͙e͙ f͙o͙r͙ y͙o͙u͙ t͙o͙ h͙a͙v͙e͙ a͙ c͙o͙m͙p͙u͙t͙e͙r͙ a͙n͙d͙ a͙n͙ i͙n͙t͙e͙r͙n͙e͙t͙ a͙c͙c͙e͙s͙s͙ a͙n͙d͙ y͙o͙u͙ c͙a͙n͙ h͙a͙v͙e͙ t͙h͙a͙t͙ a͙t͙ y͙o͙u͙r͙ h͙o͙m͙e͙. s͙t͙a͙r͙t͙ b͙r͙i͙n͙g͙i͙n͙g͙ u͙p͙ t͙o͙ $8012 a͙ m͙o͙n͙t͙h͙. i͙'v͙e͙ s͙t͙a͙r͙t͙e͙d͙ t͙h͙i͙s͙ j͙o͙b͙ a͙n͙d͙ i͙'v͙e͙ n͙e͙v͙e͙r͙ b͙e͙e͙n͙ h͙a͙p͙p͙i͙e͙r͙ a͙n͙d͙ n͙o͙w͙ i͙ a͙m͙ s͙h͙a͙r͙i͙n͙g͙ i͙t͙ w͙i͙t͙h͙ y͙o͙u͙, s͙o͙ y͙o͙u͙ c͙a͙n͙ t͙r͙y͙ i͙t͙ t͙o͙o͙. y͙o͙u͙ c͙a͙n͙ c͙h͙e͙c͙k͙ i͙t͙ o͙u͙t͙ h͙e͙r͙e͙...

        ░A░M░A░Z░I░N░G░ ░J░O░B░S░

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booger hux4952
booger hux4952

Hell, why bother locking their a$$es up to start with?


After all...'They aint done nuffin''......

Caius
Caius

So the principal in the case could not pay a $160 bail and the city paid to feed him for 6 days?