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Judge may be first in Northern Virginia to drop cash bonds

FAIRFAX (AP) A Northern Virginia judge may be the first in the area to do away with cash bonds.

Fairfax County Judge David Bernhard is granting freedom to defendants not deemed a danger or flight risk, The Washington Post reported June 14. Bernhard has been moving away from cash bonds for about a year but announced his stance publicly this week.

Bernhard has embraced a criminal-justice reform movement aimed at practices that disadvantage the poor, the paper said. Cash bond critics say it creates a tiered justice system, with the haves being released and the have-nots languishing in jail.

Bernhard says cash bonds have a cascading effect and can cause people to lose their jobs and housing. Supporters of cash bonds say they provide incentives to attend court.

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