1) Are those in custody awaiting trial entitled to a new bail hearing because of Covid-19?
• Rule 33.05 of the Missouri Rules of Criminal Procedure allows a defendant to request a review of an order of detention.
• A number of federal and state courts have reconsidered previously imposed orders of detention in light of the Covid-19 pandemic.
• If a new detention hearing is held, the Court will consider how Covid-19 impacts the purposes of bail – to assure the defendant’s appearance in court and to protect the safety of the community.
2) Are “at risk” individuals due to age or medical condition automatically eligible for pre-trial release?
• Courts will consider a pre-trial defendant’s age and/or medical condition in light of the purposes of bail – to assure the defendant’s appearance in court and to protect the safety of the community.
3) What are the factors the courts consider when making a pre-trial release determination?
• By statute, the Court is required to consider the nature and circumstances of the offense charged, the weight of the evidence against the accused, the accused’s family ties, employment, financial resources, character and mental condition, the length of his residence in the community, his record of convictions, and his record of appearance at court proceedings or flight to avoid prosecution or failure to appear at court proceedings.
4) Can someone who has been convicted and currently serving a sentence be released?
• Under Missouri law, there are very limited procedural avenues to pursue compassionate release. They include medical parole and executive clemency/commutation.
• For those serving a sentence under federal law, under some circumstances when an inmate can demonstrate an extraordinary and compelling reason, they may be entitled to compassionate release.
5) Have any defendants in Missouri been released pending trial due to Covid-19?
• Many defendants awaiting trial have been released due to the Covid-19 pandemic across the state. Many of them are awaiting trial for lower level crimes and/or have a medical condition which puts them at high risk should they contract COVID-19.
6) I know someone who has been released, but they did not request release. Why is this?
• In addition to requests by defendants awaiting trial, judges and prosecutors across the state are analyzing cases to determine who can and/or should be released in order to reduce the jail and prison population during the pandemic.
7) If I want to ask the court to review my case for release pending trial what should I do?
• A motion may be filed with the court on your behalf to request release pending trial. The law is very complex and it is best to consult an attorney on how to best present proceed.
If you have questions about bail/release in Missouri relative to the Covid-19 pandemic. please contact us, or call 314-380-3059