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Judge may be first in Northern Virginia to drop cash bonds

FAIRFAX, Va. (AP) — A newspaper reports that a Northern Virginia judge may be the first in the area to do away with cash bonds.

The Washington Post reported Thursday that Fairfax County Judge David Bernhard is granting freedom to defendants not deemed a danger or flight risk. Bernhard has been moving away from cash bonds for about a year but announced his stance publicly this week.

The Post says Bernhard has embraced a criminal-justice reform movement aimed at practices that disadvantage the poor. Cash bond critics say it creates a tiered justice system, with the haves being released and the have-nots languishing in jail.

Bernhard says cash bonds have a cascading effect and can cause people to lose their jobs and housing. Supporters of cash bonds say they provide incentives to attend court.

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Information from: The Washington Post, http://www.washingtonpost.com

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