The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear a case concerning Brinson Askew Berry client the City of Calhoun’s policy on bail for misdemeanor offenses, upholding the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that the current policy is constitutional, the Daily Report and the Rome News-Tribune reported.
Brinson Askew Berry team of Andy Davis, Sam Lucas and Frank Beacham successfully represented the city before the 11th Circuit Court of appeals in the case, Walker v. Calhoun.
“We are pleased that the Supreme Court declined to hear this case at this juncture,” Davis told the Daily Report. “As we argued to the Court, the Eleventh Circuit correctly held that the City of Calhoun’s Municipal Court’s November 23, 2015, Standing Bail Order is constitutional. And now, over three years later and after two trips to the Eleventh Circuit, the Municipal Court can operate under the Standing Bail Order with the approval of the Eleventh Circuit.”
The case drew national attention due to its potential to set precedent on Fourteenth Amendment rights of due process and equal protection for indigent defendants, according to the newspaper.
The lawsuit against the city was brought by the Southern Center for Human Rights on behalf of Maurice Walker, who spent six days in jail awaiting a hearing because he couldn’t afford to post a $160 bond.
The newspaper reported Walker was arrested Sept. 3, 2015, on a charge of pedestrian under the influence. At that time, the city had a fixed bail schedule for traffic and misdemeanor offenses. Those who could pay were immediately released, those who couldn’t were held for their court date.
After the lawsuit was filed, the city adopted a Standing Bail Order that set bond amounts according to the offense. It also guaranteed a hearing within 48 hours for indigent defendants asking to be released on their own recognizance.
The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 2 to 1 that the first policy is unconstitutional, the second is not.