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Judge Amy S. Anderson who serves Marion, Green, Taylor and Washington counties, participated in a District Judges Seminar on June 3 about how district judges are to handle pretrial release and bond determinations based on House Bill 463, which took effect June 8. The AOC offered the seminar in Frankfort for all district judges and trial commissioners and circuit judges who share on-call rotations with district judges.
HB 463 is the most concentrated overhaul of Kentucky’s penal code in more than 30 years and was supported by all three branches of government. The legislation is designed to curb the cost of incarceration without compromising public safety.
“House Bill 463 directly affects how district judges do their jobs, especially in the areas of pretrial release and bond,” said Campbell County District Court Judge Karen A. Thomas, who also serves as president of the Kentucky District Judges Association, chair of the District Judges Education Committee and chief regional district judge for the Northern Region. “The seminar was helpful in preparing the judges for the significant changes that come with the new law. These changes require judges to set lower bonds and authorize substantial credit for days served in jail in lieu of requiring defendants to pay costs and fines.”
Under HB 463, judges are required to consider the pretrial risk assessment when setting bonds and to grant pretrial release to low- and moderate-risk defendants, which are those who pose a low risk of flight, are likely to appear for trial and are not likely to be a danger to others. The legislation limits bond amounts for misdemeanor offenses and mandates that defendants receive credit of $100 per day toward bond and $50 to $100 a day in jail credit toward any fines owed except in certain circumstances. HB 463 calls for law enforcement officers to cite individuals for most misdemeanor offenses rather than arrest them.