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ArchCity Defenders Suing City of St. Louis Over Cash Bail System

The suit says that St. Louis' cash bail policies violate the "fundamental constitutional right to pretrial liberty"

January 29, 2019 - 9:25 am
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ST. LOUIS (AP) — A federal lawsuit accuses the city of St. Louis of denying due process by imprisoning defendants for their inability to pay cash bail.

The lawsuit was filed Monday by ArchCity Defenders, a St. Louis-based nonprofit civil rights law firm, on behalf of four plaintiffs.

The suit says that St. Louis' cash bail policies violate the "fundamental constitutional right to pretrial liberty" and a suspect's "right not to be detained because of their poverty."

The lawsuit state's that a defendant typically doesn't get a hearing on release conditions until obtaining counsel. Appointment of a public defender can take a month or more, so the lawsuit says those too poor to hire an attorney often linger behind bars.

A message seeking comment from the city on Tuesday was not immediately returned.

ArchCity Defenders hosted a press conference on the suit Monday, which you can view here: