“For the thousands of indigent Marylanders who must try to defend themselves at an initial bail hearing without representation, light at the end of the tunnel has finally arrived,” said Schatzow and Mirviss in a recent brief. “For the first time in this 7½ year case, the [defendants] agree that they can and will comply with their constitutional obligation to provide counsel.”
Some state officials and lawmakers voice concerns that supplying public defenders at initial proceedings will be costly, but Schatzow countered that the cost of implementing the high court’s rulings has been greatly overstated. It is cheaper to pay a lawyer to represent someone at a brief bail hearing than it is to incarcerate the person overnight, he added.
“In the long run, it’s probably not going to cost anything at all,” Schatzow said.