Bail Bond Industry in Utah Tries to Sway Legislators against Pretrial Assessments
Date:  12-07-2017

"Well funded" pushback on pretrial assessment has judges worried that their ability to make informed decisions will be reduced
From Pretrial Justice Institute:

As any reasonably educated fifth-grader will tell you, our form of government relies upon a system of checks and balances between the executive, judiciary, and legislative branches. As part of that system, the judiciary is allowed to set its own rules for procedures within the court, although in some states, this domain has been challenged.

In Utah, for example, the Supreme Court, led by Chief Justice Matthew Durrant, had decided to employ a pretrial assessment tool as a means of providing judges with better information. This decision was the result of two studies from the Utah Judicial Council and the Office of the Legislative Auditor General which showed that judges lacked sufficient information to make fair or safe pretrial decisions.

Although the judiciary has signaled to and involved the legislature in its concerns about this issue since 2015, one month before the scheduled roll-out of the pretrial assessment tool lawmakers sent Durrant a letter requesting that the judiciary halt its proposed changes to get more input from the legislature. Durrant agreed to pause the process to encourage consensus among the branches of government, while noting that such changes were fully within the realm of the judiciary. He further noted in his letter of response:

Given the concerted effort of the national bail bond industry to influence this conversation, and given the misinformation that has been provided to the legislature, it is not a surprise that some legislators would like to better understand the rules, the risk assessment and the process, and we are pleased to provide that information. Continue reading >>>