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Best Practices in Bond Setting: Colorado's New Pretrial Bail Law

Colorado's new pretrial bail law, H.B. 13-1236, "represents an important step forward in Colorado pretrial justice as well as significant movement toward creating a model bail statute; the process used to create it, and even the compromises contained therein, may also serve as a template for other states struggling to address global issues in bail reform. This article summarizes the new law, factors and events leading to its creation, and the research behind the CCJJ’s recommendations underlying the statutory changes. By doing so, the author of this paper hopes to help guide those involved in the administration of bail through the process of moving from a primarily cash-based system toward more rational, transparent, and fair pretrial practices ... In 2014, the General Assembly passed Senate Bill 14-212 (“Concerning Clarifying Changes to the Provisions Related to Best Practices in Bond Setting,” effective July 1, 2014), which made several modifications to the Colorado bail statute as redrafted pursuant to H.B. 13-1236" (p. 1-2).

Sections of this report include:

  • introduction;
  • a brief history of Colorado pretrial bail laws;
  • Colorado constitution;
  • Colorado statutes;
  • the Colorado Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice (CCJJ);
  • motivation for reform;
  • CCJJ Bail Subcommittee and its three recommendations;
  • legislative debate;
  • Colorado's new pretrial bail provisions;
  • Definition of Bail - Paragraph 16-1-104 C.R.S. (2013);
  • Eligibility/Bailable Offenses - Paragraph 16-4-101 C.R.S. (2013);
  • Right to Bail - Paragraph 16-4-102 C.R.S. (2013);
  • Setting and Selection Type of Bond/Criteria - Paragraph 16-4-103 C.R.S. (2013) and 2014 legislative changes;
  • Types of Bond - Paragraph 16-4-104 C.R.S. (2013) and 2014 legislative changes;
  • Conditions of Release - Paragraph 16-4-105 C.R.S. (2013) and 2014 legislative changes;
  • Pretrial Services Programs - Paragraph 16-4-106 C.R.S. (2013) and 2014 legislative changes;
  • Hearing After Setting of Monetary Conditions - Paragraph 16-4-107 C.R.S. (2013) and 2014 legislative changes;
  • additional provisions and 2014 legislative changes;
  • and conclusion.