Indigency


In the sound discretion of the committing magistrate, an indigent person may be held in custody if he/she is unable to post bail[i].  Non-indigent defendants posting bond in order to be released pending an appeal by the state from an order granting a suppression of evidence does not constitute a denial of equal protection.  However, with regard to equal protection and the due process rights of indigent pretrial detainees, a bail system based on monetary bail alone would be unconstitutional.  An accused cannot be denied release from detention because of indigence.  However, where other relevant factors make it reasonable to believe that the indigent detainee will comply with the orders of the court, he/she is constitutionally entitled to be released on personal recognizance[ii].  In the case of an indigent, whose appearance at trial could reasonably be assured by one of the alternate forms of release, pretrial confinement for inability to post money bail would constitute imposition of an excessive restrain[iii].

[i] State ex rel. Harrington v. Genung, 300 So. 2d 271 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 2d Dist. 1974)

[ii] Bandy v. U. S., 82 S. Ct. 11, 7 L. Ed. 2d 9 (U.S. 1961).

[iii] State v. Proto, 2000 Conn. Super. LEXIS 159 (Conn. Super. Ct. Jan. 19, 2000)