University of Pretrial Library

Fifth Circuit affirms lower court decision in Caliste v. Cantrell (2019) 

10-09-2019 00:18

The Fifth Circuit has affirmed a lower court’s decision in Caliste v. Cantrell that an arrangement in Orleans Parish, Louisiana, where a portion of the value of a commercial surety bond goes into a fund for judges’ expenses and the judge allocates those expenses, is a violation of due process. The arrangement, according to the court, “creates a direct, personal, and substantial interest in the outcome of decisions that would make the average judge vulnerable to the ‘temptation . . .not to hold the balance nice, clear, and true’...The current arrangement pushes beyond what due process allows.”

A federal judge has ordered, through an agreement of the parties, a number of steps that Harry Cantrell, Magistrate Judge of Orleans Parish Criminal Court (Louisiana), must follow when determining conditions of pretrial release, including notification of the right to pretrial liberty, providing counsel at the hearing where release conditions are determined, and an inquiry into an ability to afford monetary bond. The lawsuit of Caliste v. Cantrell was filed by the ACLU and the MacArthur Justice Center.

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