New Orleans Overhauls Bail System

On January 12, 2017, the New Orleans City Council voted unanimously to approve a proposal to eliminate bail for many charged with nonviolent crimes in Municipal Court. The exemption will not apply to those arrested on domestic violence, battery, impersonating a police officer, and illegal weapons charges. Those arrested and charged with animal cruelty, assault, criminal trespassing, disturbing the peace, and criminal property damage may be immediately released but are required to make their first court appearance within 24 hours. Special rules will also apply for repeat offenders, no-shows, and flight risks.

Currently, Municipal Court judges have the authority to set bail from $150 to $2,500. Proponents of the revision assert that the changes will help lessen the burden overwhelming and impacting poorer defendants.