Decision  Brangan v. Commonwealth

Date: 08/25/2017
Organization: Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court

Table of Contents

Brangan v. Commonwealth

Brangan v. Commonwealth
Supreme Judicial Court, August 25, 2017

When “setting the amount of bail, whether under G. L. c. 276, § 57 or § 58, a judge must consider a defendant's financial resources, but is not required to set bail in an amount the defendant can afford if other relevant considerations weigh more heavily than the defendant's ability to provide the necessary security for his appearance at trial.”

The Court went on to say “[w]here, based on the judge's consideration of all the circumstances, including the record of defaults and other factors relevant to the likelihood of the defendant's appearance for trial, neither alternative nonfinancial conditions nor a bail amount the defendant can afford will adequately assure his appearance for trial, the judge may set bail at a higher amount, but no higher than necessary to ensure the defendant's appearance for trial. We conclude further that where it appears that a defendant lacks the financial resources to post the amount of bail set, such that his indigency likely will result in a long-term pretrial detention, the judge must provide written or orally recorded findings of fact and a statement of reasons for the bail decision.”


Footnote 3: “We use the term "judge" here as a shorthand reference to the entire range of judicial officers who are authorized to set bail under G. L. c. 276, §§ 57 and 58.”

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