A collection of Pikes Peak region government and law enforcement officials, including Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers, 4th Judicial District Attorney Michael Allen, El Paso County Sheriff Bill Elder and Colorado Springs Police Department Chief Vince Niski, signed a letter opposing Senate Bill 21-273, eliminating cash bail for some offenses. The bill, introduced by Sen. Pete Lee, D-SD11, was introduced after Senate Bill 21-062, a similar measure, failed to clear the Senate Appropriations Committee. The key difference between the bills is that 273 omits class 4, 5 and 6 felonies that were included in Senate Bill 21-062.
Lee noted during a March 23 town hall that Senate Bill 21-062 would work to improve equity in the criminal justice system, which disproportionately affects poor people and minorities. “What happens when you put up money bond is that poor people stay in jail and rich people get out of jail,” he said. “Poor people don’t have the money to post bond. What the courts did [during COVID]was increase the availability of PR bonds to enable more people to get out of jail, and that reduced jail populations.”