Professor Witmer-Rich is Principal Drafter of Report and Recommendations of Cuyahoga County Bail Task Force

Professor Jonathan Witmer-Rich is the principal drafter of the Report and Recommendations of the Cuyahoga County Bail Task Force. The report, released on March 16, 2018, calls for significant reforms to the way courts across Cuyahoga County set bail and conditions of pretrial release. According to the report, the courts “should transition from a bail system based on bond schedules, which vary widely from one court to the next, to a centralized, consistent, and comprehensive system of pretrial services initiated immediately after arrest.” The report notes that setting bail through bond schedules often results in the unnecessary detention of defendants simply because they are too poor to afford bond. Instead of bond schedules, the report recommends that courts “assess each defendant’s risk of non-appearance and danger to the community using a uniform risk assessment tool. If money bail is considered, courts should evaluate each defendant’s risk of non-appearance and ability to pay, and then tailor money bail accordingly.” The report also calls on Cuyahoga County to invest in centralized pretrial services, which will enable the courts to conduct individual assessments of each defendant, also also provide monitoring and oversight of defendants who are released pretrial. The Bail Task Force has been studying Cuyahoga County’s bail systems for over a year. The Report and Recommendations reflect current best practices in bail and pretrial release, and are consistent with bail reforms that have been enacted around the country in recent years.

The Report has received significant media coverage: for the Plain Dealer story regarding the Report, click here; for the Ideastream report, click here; for the WKSU story about the Report, click here.

1 thought on “Professor Witmer-Rich is Principal Drafter of Report and Recommendations of Cuyahoga County Bail Task Force

  1. This is nothing short of fantastic, Jonathan! Well done!

    This issue is one of the primary human-rights issue of our time. Your contribution to amend the currently-broken system cannot be denied. Thank you, on behalf of thousands of anonymous would-be prisoners, who would owe you their freedom, no less.



    Doron M. Kalir Clinical Professor of Law Director, International LL.M Program Cleveland-Marshall College of Law 1801 Euclid Ave., LB 138 Cleveland, OH 44115 Tel.: (216) 687-3948 Fax: (216) 687-9297

    The information contained in this email transmission and any attachments thereto is intended for use by only the addressee(s) and may contain legally privileged and/or confidential information. If you are not the intended recipient of this email, you are hereby notified that any dissemination, distribution or copying of this email and any attachments or other communication of contents is strictly prohibited. If you have received this email in error, please immediately notify me at (216) 687-3948 and permanently delete the original copy or printout.


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