H. Michael Steinberg has over 32 years experience practicing Colorado criminal law. Mr. Steinberg strives to stay current with the ever changing aspects of criminal law issues and updates resulting in his extensive knowledge of successful criminal defense as well as appellate work. He is also an active member of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, the Colorado Criminal Defense Bar Association, the Colorado Trial Lawyer's Association, and the Colorado and Arapahoe Bar Associations.
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New 2013 Colorado Law – Revamps Longstanding Unfair Bail Bond Laws

2013 Colorado Enacts New - More Just - Bail Bond LawsA New Colorado Law – enacted and signed by the governor on May 11, 2013 – totally revamps Colorado’s approach to bail and bonding issues.

The Law Is HB 13-1236 “Best Practices in Bond Setting”

The new Colorado law is a complete change in approach to the setting of bond in the courts of our state.

The law creates new presumptions and revising the criteria and methods for the setting of bail.

In a nutshell – trial judges – through – pre-trial release programs are now compelled to view the purposes of bond well beyond the characteristic and mechanical one from column A use of bond schedules – to not set unreasonably oppressive bonds and:

To Presume most persons in custody are eligible for release on bond with appropriate and least restrictive conditions.

To Consider individualized risk and circumstances of person in custody and relevant criteria and not just level of offense.

To Consider ALL methods of bond and conditions of release to avoid unnecessary incarceration.

The best method to analyze the changes to the new law – is to read the sections struck from the bill and study the sections added – by following this link:

One Example Of The New Law

As summarized in the law itself:

“The bill repeals and reenacts the provisions of the criminal procedure code related to bail bonds. The new provision places a greater emphasis on evidence-based and individualized decision making during the bond-setting process and discourages use of monetary conditions for bond. The bill makes conforming amendments.”

Essentially this means the trial judge must look to objective criteria in setting bond -not the alleged anguish of the victim or the emotional pleas of the prosecutor.

The impact of the new law should greatly reduce the number of individuals in custody awaiting trial and incarcerated only because of the existing archaic pre-trial incarceration and present the bail setting process. Holding people – making them plea – just because they are poor is a violation of due process.

Here is the example of new language in the law…

(b) in determining the type of bond and conditions of release, if practicable and available in the jurisdiction, the court shall use an empirically developed risk assessment instrument designed to improve pretrial release decisions by providing to the court information that classifies a person in custody based upon predicted level of risk of pretrial failure…”

Here is another:

(3) to reduce barriers to the pretrial release of persons in custody whose release on bond with appropriate conditions reasonably assures court appearance and public safety, all counties and cities and counties are encouraged to develop a pretrial services program in consultation…”

The message is clear – Colorado criminal defense lawyers should now use this new law to strongly advocate for pre-trial release and not long term incarceration awaiting trial.. H