Indiana Supreme Court Ruling Shifts Burden Of Proof for Bail in Murder Cases

Jeff Downer  In the past defendants charged with murder (or treason) in the State of Indiana would have to present a compelling argument that the proof of their guilt was not strong in order to be admitted to bail.

Recently (June of 2013) the Indiana Supreme Court rearranged the playing field when it came to how it is determined whether defendants charged with murder or treason can be held without bail.  The new case law is that the burden of proof now falls on the state to prove that the defendant should not be admitted to bail:

We hold today that when a defendant charged with murder or treason seeks bail, the burden is on the State, if it seeks to deny bail, to show—by a preponderance of the evidence—that the proof is evident or the presumption strong.

As a practical matter I do not believe much has changed on whether those charged with murder will be held without bond.  Prosecutors rarely pursue murder cases with a poor chance of conviction (nor should they).  The threshold of evidence to be held without bail has not changed.  In fact as part of the ruling the court upheld the original finding that the defendant should be held without bail.

The burden has just been shifted from defendant proving the state has a poor case to the state proving they have a solid one.  The most visible impact I suspect will be more bail hearings on murder cases as prosecutors seek denial of bail.

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Jeff Downer

Bail bondsman and owner of Jeff Downer Bail Bonds located in Indianapolis, IN.
Posted in Bail, Bail Bonds, Indiana, Law. Tagged with .