Reimagining Pretrial Justice in Miami – Why Our City Should Lead on Bail Reform

America’s cash bail system is broken, unjustly criminalizing poverty and destroying lives. As a criminal defense lawyer in Miami for many years, I’ve witnessed this tragedy firsthand. Now, our chance to lead bold local reforms is being thwarted by politics.

Miami-Dade’s leaders developed plans to reduce reliance on cash bail by assessing defendant risk instead of ability to pay. This data-driven approach aimed to enhance public safety and equity in pretrial decisions. Roll out was slated for this year.

But Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis actively opposes such reforms, vowing to block liberal judges pursuing change. Hours after he proposed tougher statewide bail laws in Miami, our local courts paused implementation, wary of provoking a conflict.

This political resistance prevents progress and leaves our unjust system entrenched. Still, models for change exist that balance reform and public concerns. With perseverance and courage, Miami can pioneer improvements to uphold rights, safety a