Case Study: Nevada Bail Legislation

A Look at Nevada’s Proposed Bail Reform Legislation

Nevada is the latest state to struggle with how to reform a broken system.  America’s criminal justice system is in dire need of an overhaul but legislators have yet to figure out the best way to go about it.  In 2017, Nevada attempted to pass bail reform legislation but the attempt was unsuccessful.  The current Nevada Legislature is once again trying to pass a bill that would drastically change the state’s bail system.  The efforts have both sides of the aisle voicing concerns about whether the proposed bills truly protect the rights of a defendant or if they sacrifice the safety of the public-at-large.

Assembly Bill 125

Assembly Bill 125 is a partisan effort by democrats was introduced on February 11, 2019 and granted an extension from the April 12 hearing deadline.  The bill currently sits in the Judiciary Committee and allows a court to use an evidence-based risk assessment tool to determine pretrial release eligibility in addition to a number of other factors like the defendant’s length of residence in the community, the stats and history of employment and the prior criminal history.

Assembly Bill 203

Earlier this year, Assembly Bill 203 was introduced and referred to the Committee on Judiciary.   The bill offered to “revise provisions relating to bail in certain criminal cases.”  The bill sought to allow the pretrial release of nonviolent offenders on an unsecured bond.  The bill was never taken to a hearing.

Assembly Bill 325

Introduced on March 18, 2019, Assembly Bill 325 is considered the most aggressive attempt at reform.  The bill is still being discussed in the Judiciary Committee and has yet to be released in its final form. 

It is unclear how the Nevada Legislature will handle these proposals as they continue to hear arguments from both sides.  Undoubtedly, the criminal justice system in America is broken but it is doubtful that the proposed bail reform legislation does anything to change the underlying injustices and inequities that have plagued the country for centuries.


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