Judge declines to block tighter Indiana bail restrictions

Keywords Charities / Courts / Law

A federal judge has refused to block an Indiana law that will impose strict limits on charitable groups that pay the bail money needed to get people released from jail.

The ruling issued Wednesday will allow the law to take effect as scheduled on Friday. The national not-for-profit group The Bail Project and the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit challenging the law, arguing it violated the group’s First Amendment and equal protection rights for its advocacy work.

Judge James Patrick Hanlon in Indianapolis denied a requested injunction blocking the law, ruling that the group hadn’t shown a likelihood that it would succeed in proving the law unconstitutional.

The Bail Project has said it has helped about 1,000 people awaiting trials in Marion and Lake counties post bail they could otherwise not afford for release from jail. The group, however, has faced criticism for some of those people later being arrested in connection with violent crimes.

Under the new law, charitable bail organizations can only assist people charged with misdemeanors and nonviolent felonies as long as the person hasn’t been previously convicted of a violent felony.

ACLU of Indiana Legal Director Ken Falk said the organization would continue pursuing its challenge to the law.

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