New York’s top court says state law requires judges to give defendants at least two bail options, reversing lower courts that concluded they can require cash.
The Court of Appeals’ unanimous ruling Thursday says revisions in the law were intended to reform what was once a restrictive bail scheme and make pretrial release more available to defendants, who are presumed innocent.
Bail options include cash, seven types of bonds and credit cards.
The appeal was filed on behalf of Shaun McManus, a parolee arrested on new misdemeanor charges in March 2009 while already facing a felony arson charge in Bronx. The judge set “cash only” bail at $20,000, which McManus was not able to post.
McManus subsequently pleaded guilty to arson and spent more than a year in prison.