Holding defendants in jail because they can’t afford to make bail is unconstitutional, the Justice Department said in a court filing late Thursday — the first time the government has taken such a position before a federal appeals court.I'm pretty sure that requiring bail is constitutional, as long as it is not excessive, But, fact of the matter is that several jurisdictions that I'm personally aware of has been turning out petty criminals for years.
There are lots of federal mandates that govern the way jails are run. Let's say, for example, that our hypothetical jail is rated to hold 150 offenders. That's a firm number that the federal courts insist that we live by. So, on an active Saturday night, the head jailer discovers that the police are bringing in folks that will put him over his 150-head limit.
Lots of jurisdictions have a prohibition against (for example) appearing in public in an intoxicated condition. For sake of simplicity, we'll call that offense Public Drunk. Now, most cops won't bother a person who is walking home after having had a few too many, but every cop will roust a fellow standing in front of a bar making a scene. If you're on the street being an asshole and someone complains, you're liable to be "cuffed and stuffed" on a Public Drunk charge. Every Saturday night/Sunday morning, jails all over the country fill up with Public Drunk defendants.
So, our hypothetical head jailer, being very cognizant of his headcount, will put the Public Drunk guys in the holding cell. (There's a reason we call it the drunk tank.) After several hours to sober up, they'll be booked and probably released on a recognizance bond. When the jailer gets his headcount down to a reasonable number (often several under the courts mandated population), he'll quit releasing people.
This is the way that jails all over the country work. But, for some reason, Ms. Lynch thinks that she needs to stick her nose into it. For civil rights or something.
“Bail practices that incarcerate indigent individuals before trial solely because of their inability to pay for their release violate the Fourteenth Amendment,” the Justice Department said in a friend of court brief, citing the Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection.To my way of thinking, that's an ignorant argument, but in this day and age, it might catch some attention. I'd argue that the whole question violates the Tenth Amendment, and that if Ms. Lynch has noting better to do with her time, perhaps her whole department should be funded at the -0- level. But, we live in a un-serious age, where un-serious people take up distracting questions and squander tax dollars with foolishness such as this.