Requirement for attorneys to be present at initial bail reviews in Maryland takes effect


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ANNAPOLIS, Maryland — A requirement for an attorney to be present at initial bail review hearings before a district court commissioner is taking effect.

The requirement ordered by the state's highest court begins Tuesday.

The Court of Appeals ruled 4-3 last year that having an attorney at an initial bail hearing is a constitutional right. Lawmakers were unable to reach an agreement on how to overhaul the state's bail system in the last legislative session to address the ruling. Instead, lawmakers put $10 million in the budget to pay for attorneys.

Gov. Martin O'Malley has created a commission to examine best practices around the country and to evaluate the use of a risk-assessment system to help determine who should be detained and who should be released before trial.

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