July 2, 2019

BRUNSWICK – The ACLU, ACLU of Georgia, James A. Yancey Jr., and Glynn County announce that they recently reached an agreement to reform the bail determination system for misdemeanor cases in Glynn County.  The parties worked together to implement changes designed to improve the system for addressing bond for individuals that have been arrested on misdemeanor charges and cannot afford to post cash bail.  These reforms include:

  • Bail hearings being held at least four times per week with none more than 48 hours apart;
  • Prompt judicial evaluations of bail amounts using an improved financial hardship/indigency affidavit and considering what amount of money the person who is arrested is “currently able to pay”;
  • Improved notice to arrestees of issues relating to bail determinations, including the ability to seek reconsideration of bail determinations and information about future court appearances, as well as contact information for the public defender; and
  • A term of independent monitoring to ensure continued implementation of the agreed changes to the bail determination system.

Former Glynn County Chief Magistrate Judge Alex Atwood, who has a long legacy of commitment to the Constitution and criminal justice reform, showed particular leadership in revising the misdemeanor bail practices in Glynn County.  Sheriff Neal Jump similarly assisted with developing and implementing these important changes. 

“Having few financial resources is never a crime,” said ACLU attorney Andrea Woods.  “These measures will help ensure that people’s long-term freedom does not rest on their ability to pay a given bail amount or hire private attorneys.  While money bail requirements have been normalized in much of Georgia and the country, even a day or two in jail causes serious harm to those unable to afford a cash bail for their freedom.”

“Glynn County has consistently been committed to a procedure and process for bail determinations that meets all requirements of state and federal law,” said Judge Atwood.  “Consistent with recent federal decisions and a rewrite of the Georgia bond statute in 2018, we began the process of improving our bail determination system in misdemeanor cases.  We look forward to continuing our practice of properly evaluating the financial circumstances of misdemeanor arrestees in setting bond.”

“We applaud Glynn County for taking a lead on cash bail reform.  The ACLU of Georgia looks forward to working with all Georgia counties to ensure that no one is jailed based on the amount of money in their pockets,” stated Sean J. Young, Legal Director for the ACLU of Georgia.

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