Missouri Supreme Court changing bail rules

(AP) The Missouri Supreme Court is changing court rules for setting bail.

Supreme Court Chief Justice Zel Fischer announced the changes Wednesday during his State of the Judiciary address to state lawmakers.

Courts beginning in July must first consider non-monetary conditions for defendants’ release. Judges will still be able to set bail, but only at the amount necessary to ensure either public safety or to ensure that the defendant will appear again in court.

The rules also say judges can only order defendants to be jailed before trial without bail or other conditions for release if they determine that’s necessary for safety reasons.

Fischer says under current rules, too many people can’t afford bail for low-level offenses and can lose their jobs while waiting for trial.

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