Speech at Academy of Trial Lawyers, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

June 1, 1964


Pittsburgh, PA

Through most of the United States today the bail system is a cruel and illogical institution which perpetuates injustice in the name of the law. In actual practice, control is frequently in the hands of bondsmen rather than the courts. The system is subject to widespread abuse. It involves the wholesale restriction of freedom, impairment of the defendant’s chances at trial and millions in needless detention costs at all levels of government. The theory of the bail system—the only justification recognized for it by the courts—is that a bail bond is necessary to insure the appearance of the defendant at trial. In actual practice, the bail system measures human freedom by financial ability.