By Michael C. Sacks The bail reform effort has not only won broad support among the electorate but has been championed by Democrats, who have repeatedly pledged to support the bill.
But in the first few days of its implementation, the reform initiative has faced an uphill battle with Republican governors and legislatures.
As a result, the initiative is far from a surefire winner, according to several political strategists, who said the bill is still in the early stages of implementation.
The political battle is still being fought out among the political parties and the governor’s office, which has not yet formally signed off on the bill and is still assessing its legal risks.
As a practical matter, the bail reforms will likely have to be put to a vote in the Legislature in order to get through the legislature and into President Obama’s desk.
That process is expected to be a bit more challenging because many Republican governors are likely to oppose the legislation, which is expected the president will sign.
For its part, the governor and the Democratic Party have pledged to fight the reform bill.
“The governor’s goal is to work with legislators to pass legislation that gives Americans a better chance of winning a fair trial,” said New Jersey Democratic Party Chairwoman Mary Pat Clarke.
The White House also made clear it would not support the bail bill if it does not include a “universal presumption of innocence” provision.
Bail reform proponents argue that the presumption of innocent until proven guilty is a critical component of American justice and that the reforms are needed to ensure fairness in the criminal justice system.
At a press conference on Wednesday, White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough said, “We support the idea of universal presumption of guilt.”
According to the White House, universal presumption means that all charges should be treated equally and that “a jury should be given a fair opportunity to determine the facts and apply the law.
If a defendant is innocent, he or she should be acquitted.”
A broad consensus emerged among reform advocates and experts that the bail system is too lenient and that it should be overhauled.
Many of the reforms include a mechanism that would allow a prosecutor to file a motion to dismiss a case if the defendant is found not guilty.
There is also a proposal to make it easier for people to file lawsuits against prosecutors for misconduct.
But a large contingent of reform advocates are not convinced by the administration’s position on the bail issue, arguing that the administration has not sufficiently backed them up in court.
In addition, some reform advocates, including the Brennan Center for Justice, have expressed concerns that the proposed rule of law safeguards against frivolous lawsuits, as well as that there is a strong incentive to favor prosecutors who are already wealthy and powerful.
As the administration continues to make its case to the American public and to the nation’s political leadership, reform advocates say that the White Congress will need to make the reform package law before the end of the year.
Correction: The article originally stated that a group of reform groups called for the arrest of everyone who participated in the Occupy Wall Street protests.
In fact, that group was a coalition of progressive groups, which are all advocating for the bail bills.