Yesterday, the Kentucky Supreme Court entered an order establishing emergency release requirements for certain low-risk defendants. The order applies to low-risk defendants charged with non-sexual and non-violent misdemeanors and Class D felonies. With certain exceptions, it requires courts to release these defendants on “recognizance,” i.e. without a bond.
The order also prohibits the jailing of those served with warrants for failing to pay fines or court costs, and it provides for the release of those currently detained for failing to pay court obligations, including child support. It further directs courts to schedule show cause hearings for such matters after May 31, 2020.
The order does not apply to those charged with contempt for violating a protective order. In addition, it does not apply to defendants who decline interviews with their pretrial services officer.
Noting that if such facilities were “still permitted to operate,” the order also requires all drug testing providers adhere to social distancing and other actions recommended by the CDC. Providers may allow alternative testing, subject to certain requirements.
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