In the 2022 Election, Ohioans voted for the passage of Issue 1, a new amendment to Ohio’s constitution that requires judges to consider public safety as a factor when setting bail amounts. This amendment is in response to an Ohio Supreme Court case in January, DuBose v. McGuffey, where the Supreme Court ruled that public safety was not an important factor when setting bail.
Statewide, Issue 1 passed with 3,036,938 votes for and 878,816 votes against. Scioto County voted similarly with 16,577 for and 3,714 against.
The passing of this amendment means that Ohio’s judiciary system will continue setting bail in the same manner they had prior to the January ruling, taking into consideration public safety, the seriousness of the offense, past criminal records, and the likelihood the accused will appear in court.
Cash bail is a system that allows for the temporary release of some accused individuals awaiting trial, usually on the condition that a determined amount of money is paid to the court in exchange for release. If the accused cannot afford bail, they may turn to bondsmen to pay their bail. In some instances one may even be released on their own recognizance, a written promise to return to court, assuming the court deems the accused will appear as required.
Although the bill passed, it did come with some opposition. The ACLU of Ohio claims the bill to be a “politically motivated attempt to enshrine cash bail into the Ohio constitution”
“Cash bail creates a system of wealth-based detention, where the wealthy can buy their freedom and those without financial resources cannot,” states the ACLU
Individuals in support of Issue 1 felt the amendment is necessary to restore order and keep potentially dangerous individuals off the streets.
Scioto County Sheriff David Thoroughman, a known advocate for Issue 1, gives a comment on the amendment passing.
“I’ve been doing this for almost 35 years on the civilian side and I have not seen any issues with the system in place in Scioto county. I believe the judges have been fair when they do set a bond. The only time I see a higher one is when the person is a danger to society,” Thoroughman states.
Though he expected the measure to pass, Thoroughman feels grateful for the voters that made this happen.
“I’m happy that we live in the great state of Ohio, and that we have great citizens that see the need for this,” says Thoroughman.
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