Brangan v. CommonwealthAnnotate this Case
In setting the amount of bail for a defendant, a judge must consider the defendant’s financial resources but is not required to set bail in an amount the defendant can afford if other relevant considerations weigh more heavily than the defendant’s ability to prove the necessary security for his appearance at trial.
In this case, Petitioner had been held in jail for more than three and one-half years because he had been unable to post bail in the amounts ordered by a superior court judge following his arrest and indictment for armed robbery while masked. Petitioner petitioned for relief under Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 211, 3. A single justice denied the petition. Petitioner appealed, arguing that the superior court’s bail order violated his right to due process because the judge failed to give adequate consideration to his financial resources. The Supreme Judicial Court reversed, holding that the judge did not consider Petitioner’s financial resources in setting the bail. The court remanded the matter with directions that the superior court judge conduct a new bail hearing for Petitioner in accord with the standards set forth in this opinion.