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To Bail Or Not To Bail: Maryland Courts Use Artificial Intelligence To Help Them Decide


For most of American judicial history, the bail hearing process has remained largely the same - the defendant and the prosecution both make their case and then the judge uses their legal experience to make a decision on the terms of bail.

In Maryland, that process is about to undergo some serious change. Various courts throughout the states have begun testing and using artificial intelligence software to assist judges in making their bail decisions. These systems carry out complex risk assessments to help decide whether the defendant will spend their pre-trial period at home or in a jail cell.

Studies into the use of artificial intelligence systems during bail hearings have shown that they reduce the number of defendants who spend their pre-trial period in detention. This has certainly been the case in Montgomery County. Robert Green, the director of the county's Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, has reported that the use of artificial intelligence has led to a 30 percent reduction in the county's pre-trial detainees.

Of course, it is important to note that the artificial intelligence systems are not actually making any definitive decisions. Instead, they are simply a tool that the judge can rely on to aid them in their assessment of a case.

Despite this, some civil rights advocates are worried that the system may show bias against some sections of the community - most notably, minorities. Though the system does not assign additional risk points based on a defendant's race, there are some who argue that it does exacerbate the racial biases that already exist within the legal system. However, it seems unlikely that these complaints are likely to slow the use of artificial intelligence throughout the state - and the country as a whole.

When you are trying to navigate the complicated bail hearing system, you will need the assistance of an experienced attorney. Since 2005, the team at Shapiro Zwanetz & Lake has been fighting for the people of our community, and we are ready to help you too. When you need us, just give us a call at (410) 927-5137 to arrange your free consultation.