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Kentucky Supreme Court Expands Availability of Pretrial Release

Effective January 1, 2017, the Supreme Court of Kentucky has authorized the Non-Financial Uniform Schedule of Bail Administrative Release Program (“Administrative Release Program”) to be used throughout the Commonwealth.  Supreme Court Amended Order 2016-10 was issued for the purpose of expediting the pretrial release of low to moderate risk defendants charged with non-violent, non-sexual misdemeanors.  The Administrative Release Program should increase efficiency by reserving resources for higher-risk defendants ordered to pretrial supervision.

Under the Administrative Release Program, criminal defendants will have their risk level assessed by a Pretrial Services Officer using a PSA risk assessment, which is a validated risk assessment tool used in Kentucky to ascertain flight risk and anticipated criminal conduct. This instrument will result in a risk score falling somewhere between 2 and 12.

A person with a risk level falling between 2 and 5 is considered to be low risk. A person with a risk level between 6 and 9 is moderate risk.  A person with a risk level of 10 or more is high risk.

Defendants who are charged with non-violent, nonsexual misdemeanors or violations whose risk score is assessed between 2 and 7 – i.e., all low risk individuals, and some moderate risk individuals – are eligible for automatic pretrial release on their own recognizance, even prior to their initial court appearance.

Certain individuals are not eligible, though:

  • Those charged with contempt of court
  • Those charged with violations of probation or conditional discharge
  • Those who have allegedly violated a condition of release
  • Those charged with a violation of a protective order
  • Those charged with a DUI 1st offense with injuries, accident, or any aggravated circumstances other than refusals
  • Those charged with a DUI 2nd offense or greater
  • Those charged with driving on a DUI suspended license
  • Those who have previously failed to appear on the charge
  • Those who have been charged with bail jumping
  • Those who decline the pretrial services interview

In addition, local jurisdictions may order expansion of eligible crimes to include non-violent, nonsexual, Class D felony charges, with the exception of the charge of Fugitive from Justice; and may likewise expand the Schedule to include defendants with a risk score of 8 or 9 (i.e., the remainder of those falling in the moderate risk score).  All defendants not eligible for release shall only be released upon judicial review and conditions of release ordered by the court.

The full text of the order can be found here: http://courts.ky.gov/courts/supreme/Rules_Procedures/201610.pdf.

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