If you are presumed innocent until proven guilty, then why should you have to post bail before your trial even begins? This is one of many concerns raised by researchers at the University of Cincinnati who are interested in the pre-trial stages of the American criminal justice system.
New research by Calaway, published in the Saint Louis University Law Journal, shows that more than half of all criminal cases arrested on end up being dismissed.
Her analysis of a sample of bail hearings revealed that criminal cases are less likely to be resolved on the merits after an arrest and bail decision than to be dismissed by the grand jury or for want of prosecution.
The paper claims that defendants who cannot afford bail have a higher conviction rate and receive harsher sentences than those who are allowed to post bail.
“The practice of connecting pretrial release from incarceration on the ability to pay money not only unfairly affects the poor, but also has a disparate impact on racial minorities,” according to the authors of the study. “Researchers have noted that pretrial detention is inconsistent with due process because it constitutes punishment before conviction.”