Press Release: ABC Statement on Missouri Legislators Demanding Rescind of New Supreme Court Rules on Pretrial Release

More Than 80 Missouri Legislators Demand Missouri Supreme Court Rescind New Bail Reform Rules



Lakewood, CO (January 23, 2020) – Missouri legislators yesterday offered a stunning rebuke of Chief Justice George Draper's assertion that the state's new bail reform laws were a success.

More than 80 lawmakers signed and delivered a letter to the Missouri Supreme Court, demanding that the new rules, which went into effect this past July, be rescinded.  It further called for the high court to work with the legislature to adopt a "responsible" and "narrowly-tailored” set of changes designed to improve the system.  The action came on the same day Chief Justice Draper presented his State of the Judiciary Address in which he proclaimed the new laws a triumph.

The move from legislators came after months of reports of high-profile incidents in which defendants purportedly committed numerous heinous acts after being released by criminal courts without having to post bail.

A large percentage of the arrestees were considered potentially dangerous or had a history of failing to appear for court.  However, the new rules effectively tied the hands of judges by making it nearly impossible for them to impose bail.  The result has been defendants re-offending while awaiting trial.

Javier Alatorre, the alleged gunman in October's deadly rampage at Kansas City’s Tequila KC Bar, had a criminal record including resisting arrest and fleeing from the police.  He was arrested on a variety of charges a few weeks before the massacre but was ordered to be released from jail on his own recognizance under the new rules.

"The Missouri legislature has delivered a clear message that it vehemently disagrees with Chief Justice Draper's incorrect conclusions that bail reform is a success," said Jeff Clayton, Executive Director of the American Bail Coalition.  "The overwhelming number of lawmakers who have signed a letter demanding a repeal of the state Supreme Court's new bail reform rules is a clear indicator they are actually a total and abysmal failure."

While some supporters of the new laws have claimed that the problems reported are simply minor kinks in a new system, the group of state lawmakers who banded together to sign the letter to the Missouri Supreme Court say the rules are simply not working as intended.

About the American Bail Coalition

The American Bail Coalition is dedicated protecting the Constitutional right to bail and the promotion, protection and advancement of the surety bail profession in the United States. Comprised of the nation’s largest surety insurance companies, ABC works with local communities, law enforcement, legislators and other criminal justice stakeholders to utilizes its expertise and knowledge of the surety bail industry to develop more effective and efficient criminal justice solutions.

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MediaVista Public Relations:

Elliott Chang

[email protected]

(323) 938-5879

Cara Downs

[email protected]

(323) 316-5228

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