While bail reform efforts across the country seek alternatives to cash bail, appellants in a case that went before the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals last week claim that criminal defendants have a constitutional right to bail.
The case, Collins v. Daniels, challenges New Mexico court rules that removed cash bail in favor of a risk assessment system. The plaintiffs in the case heard last week claimed that Darlene Collins was jailed longer than necessary even though her family was able and willing to pay for her release.
The lawsuit alleges New Mexico Chief Justice Charles Daniels and the state Supreme Court denied bail to Collins and thousands of others in the state after the New Mexico Supreme Court in July 2017 implemented a no-money bail system. That system used an algorithm to screen defendants to determine the risk they won’t later appear in court and allows defendants to be released only after they have appeared.
According to the complaint, Collins was arrested and detained in 2017 just as the state’s no-money bail scheme went into effect, and even though her family was willing to pay for her release, she was held for nearly five days.