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Proposal would use bail money for court costs, restitution

Written by Ben Allen and Radio Pennsylvania | Jun 27, 2015 8:36 AM
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(Harrisburg) -- Under a bill in the state Legislature, people who post bail would see those funds used for any court fees or restitution they face.

Republican Representative Sheryl Delozier of Cumberland County brought up the proposal after it never made it out of committee last session.

She says its a way to ensure costs and restitution is paid.

Fellow Republican Todd Stevens says the idea is logical.

"We aren't disrupting any of the provisions of bail, you're still allowing someone to post bail and still utilizing bail to assure their apperance, but we're saying on the back end, we're not just going to let you walk out the door with that money that was posted for bail if you owe a victim restitution," he says.

But Democrats are skeptical.

Representative Madeleine Dean of Montgomery County says money posted for bail could be used for any case involving the defendant.

"I think that's an extraordinary overreach. It's almost an assumption that there is a presumption of guilt at the moment you post bail, which is very against our system," says Dean.

Other Democrats say the bill could dissuade defendants from posting bail, leaving them to already-overcrowded county jails.

Delozier's legislation is in a House committee.

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