Voters pass State Issue 1; How this will impact bail amounts

Issue 1 on Ohio’s midterm election ballot asked voters if judges should be required to consider factors like public safety when setting bail amounts.

The issue passed, removing the requirement that bail amounts and conditions are determined by the Supreme Court of Ohio

This constitutional amendment requires the Ohio courts to look at other factors such as the seriousness of an offense, the person’s criminal history and the likelihood of them returning to jail when setting bail amounts.

The issue was put on the ballot following a ruling in January by the Ohio Supreme Court in the case of DuBose v. McGuffey, which said that a $1.5 million bond for a man who fatally shot another man during an alleged robbery in Hamilton County was too high.

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The bond was ruled as excessive and the court then reduced the bail to $500,000.

Republican Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost and State Sen. Theresa Gavarone have both voiced their support of the issue.

During a press conference in March, Yost said “the presumption of innocence in court does not equal, it is not the same as pretending that a career criminal poses no threat on the street.”

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Gavarone said the measure corrects a court ruling she called a “direct threat to public safety.”, according to an article by the AP.

But those opposed argue that this initiative only furthers the false narrative that cash bail is linked to public safety.

In response to the amendment’s passage, the ACLU of Ohio expressed disappointment and said the amendment will cause harm disproportionately to minority communities.

“We are deeply disappointed that Issue 1 passed, and we stand by the hundreds of thousands of Ohioans who voiced their opposition to this harmful proposal. We know that cash bail does not keep us safe, and the system disproportionately punishes and targets Black and Brown Ohioans, as well as people from economically disadvantaged communities. This is not the outcome we wanted, but the fight for true bail reform is not yet over,” Jocelyn Rosnick, ACLU of Ohio Policy Director said in a statement Wednesday morning.

The amendment will be effective immediately.