Changes to Durham County bail policy go into effect

Durham County News

DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) – A new Durham County bail policy went into effect Thursday. It changes considerations for release.  

Now, the amount of money a defendant has no longer matters in Durham when it comes to bailing out of jail.  

A capital murder defendant can get arrested in Durham and walk the streets the next day.  

“The public might not like it,” said Superior Court Judge Orlando Hudson. “But that’s the purpose of pre-trial release.” 

Hudson worked with Chief District Court Judge Pat Evans to change Durham’s pre-trial release policy, including reducing secured bonds for felonies. 

“We now know through studies that have been done that that’s not the reason people show up for court, that they put up a cash bond,” said Hudson.   

Magistrates have new guidelines for bonds in Durham. They will now consider whether a person is a threat to the community, instead of how much money they can pay.  

“The previous policy did not de-emphasize cash bonds,” said Hudson.   

The purpose is to ensure defendants will show up to court. Hudson said there are ways to make that happen, such as notifying defendants of their court dates and using GPS tracking devices. 

He said a defendant has the presumption of innocence.  

“The state has the burden of proof showing in some type of hearing why a certain bond is necessary, and a defendant doesn’t have that proof,” said Hudson.   

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