Recommending pretrial release on lower-level cases

A number of prosecutors have spoken out publicly in support of bail reform and embraced policies that reduce detention based on the inability to pay money bail. Cook County (Chicago) State’s Attorney Kim Foxx, Milwaukee District Attorney John Chisholm, and Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner have directed their prosecutors to recommend release on many misdemeanor and lower-level felony cases. Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez; and Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance have all issued policies recommending release in most misdemeanor cases.[]In Cook County, State’s Attorney Kim Foxx instituted policies for prosecutors to recommend I-Bonds for those charged with misdemeanors or low-level felonies who do not present flight risks and do not have violent criminal histories. Foxx stated that this policy change “recognize[s] the role our office can play in decreasing the overreliance on pretrial detention.” Cook County State’s Attorney, “State’s Attorney Foxx Announces Major Bond Reform” (Chicago: Cook County State’s Attorney, June 12, 2017), Similar measures have been taken in Philadelphia, where District Attorney Larry Krasner said in February 2018 that prosecutors would no longer seek cash bail for those accused of some misdemeanors and nonviolent felonies. The new policy applies to 25 charges, including driving under the influence, prostitution, resisting arrest, and some burglaries, as well as some drug possession charges. Michael Bryant, “Philly DA Larry Krasner Won’t Seek Cash Bail in Certain Crimes,” Inquirer, February 21, 2018, Official guidelines for new policies are “presumptive, not mandatory requirements,” and all are seen as an “effort to end mass incarceration and bring balance back to sentencing.” Office of the Philadelphia District Attorney, “New Policies Announced February 15, 2018,” Under the guidelines, prosecutors are directed to decline certain charges—including possession of marijuana regardless of weight—and to approach diversion and reentry “with greater flexibility.” Ibid. District Attorney John Chisholm has instituted policies in Milwaukee to expand the number of tracks for people charged with low-level offenses in an effort to “reduce crime, cut costs, and still keep the community safe.” John Chisholm, “Five Voices on Reforming the Front End of Justice,” The Marshall Project, July 17, 2016,  In August 2017, more than 70 prosecutors and former U.S. attorneys and state’s attorneys joined Harris County (Houston) District Attorney Kim Ogg in signing an amicus brief in support of a federal lawsuit challenging that county’s money bail system.[]For Ogg’s position on bail and release of people charged with misdemeanors, see “Position of District Attorney Kim Ogg About Bail Bond Litigation Pending in the United States District Court as Amicus Curiae,” ODonnell v. Harris County, Texas, Case 4:16-CV-01414 (S.D. Tex. March 3, 2017) (recommending release on recognizance as the “default in most misdemeanor cases”), 2, For the court’s decision, see ODonnell v. Harris County, Texas, No. 4:16-CV-01414 (S.D. Tex. December 16, 2016) (granting preliminary injunction and finding unconstitutional Harris County’s systematic imposition of secured money bail “as de facto orders of pretrial detention in misdemeanor cases”), For the number of attorneys joining as amicus, see Kim Ogg, Harris County District Attorney, Community Action Plan: Bail Reform (Houston, TX: Harris County District Attorney, 2017),