ACLU threatens to sue state if bail bill signed into law by Gov. Kemp

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The ACLU is threatening to file a federal lawsuit if Gov. Brian Kemp signs a bill into law that would overhaul the cash bail system in Georgia.

That group told Channel 2′s Richard Elliot that the law violates the U.S. Constitution.

The bill adds mid-level crimes, such as trespassing, to a list of crimes that would require a cash bail to get out of jail.

It also prevents organizations like the ones we’ve seen associated with the Atlanta Public Safety Training Center protests from bailing out people more than three times.

Lawmakers approved Senate Bill 63 and is now awaiting Kemp’s signature.

“SB 63 is terrible policy and on top of that, it’s unconstitutional,” said Cory Isaacson, legal director for the ACLU of Georgia.

That organization is threatening to sue the state of Georgia if Kemp signs SB 63 into law, claiming it means people will have to stay in jail based on their income.


“Whether or not someone is allowed to go free is determined by how much money they have or don’t have,” Isaacson said.

Critics argue that the law would lead to more overcrowding at county jails but the bill’s sponsor, Columbus state Sen. Randy Robertson said that’s not true.

“A lot of the individuals, the vast, vast, vast majority based on the statistics that we received from the jail are violent felonies with those trafficking in drugs or participating in gang activity,” Robertson said.

The bill rolls back some of the criminal justice reform put in place by former Gov. Nathan Deal.

“If the governor does sign SB 63, the ACLU of Georgia and our parties are prepared to fight to make sure that this does not become the law of the state,” Isaacson said.

Elliot contacted the governor’s office for comment but so far, he hasn’t heard back from them.