Feds say Georgia city’s bail-or-jail policy unfair to poor
ATLANTA (AP) – Federal officials are objecting to a Georgia city’s policy that jailed a man for six days on a misdemeanor charge because he couldn’t afford $160 bail.
The Justice Department wants a federal appeals court to find Calhoun’s policy unconstitutional.
Maurice Walker is suing the city following his September arrest on a charge of walking while intoxicated. Walker says he was too poor to pay the city’s preset bail of $160 to avoid jail. His federal lawsuit says the policy violated his equal protection rights.
A U.S. District Court judge suspended the city’s bail policy until the case is decided, and city attorneys have appealed.
In a legal brief Thursday, Justice Department attorneys said policies setting fixed bail amounts without considering a defendant’s ability to pay “unlawfully discriminate” against the indigent.
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