Update: Philadelphia Courts policy amended; will no longer keep bail fees

We had a story from Philly Weekly in August, reporting:

“In theory, bail is used to ensure that a defendant doesn’t flee. But in Philadelphia, like many other jurisdictions, the court keeps a portion of that deposit as a “processing fee.” Here, in Philadelphia it is a full 30 percent —whether the defendant is convicted or not.”

Author Maura Ewing also discussed the article on WHYY, beginning about five minutes into this broadcast: NewsWorks Tonight, August 17, 2018

Next, The Philadelphia Inquirer Editorial Board published an editorial, arguing: City shouldn’t get a cut of defendants’ cash bail fees

“The people who are faced with these fines and fees often can’t pay them. Owing money to the court is a barrier to expungement of records and could have grave implications on people’s credit. The city then finds itself investing in poverty alleviation programs and efforts to prevent recidivism. A more logical route would be not imposing excessive fines and fees on Philadelphians in the first place.”

Now, the First Judicial District has amended their procedures to authorize the return of the entire amount of posted bail in cases when defendants meet other conditions and appear as required until the final disposition of the case: In re: Amendment Philadelphia Criminal Rule *528. Ten Percent (10%) Deposit of Bail

The Philadelphia Inquirer has an update: Philly courts to stop withholding controversial bail fee