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Federal Judge Blocks Law Limiting Cash Bail Charitable Organizations

Orxan -

A federal judge has temporarily blocked the implementation of Georgia Senate Bill 63, which limits the ability of charitable organizations to provide cash bail for incarcerated people.

Senate Bill 63 was signed into law earlier this year. If implemented, it would increase the number of crimes for which cash bail is required and would limit charitable organizations from paying bail for more than three individuals a year. It was set to go into effect today.

A lawsuit was filed on behalf of Atlanta nonprofit Barred Businesses and two Athens residents, John Vodicka and Steve Williams, that challenges the bill. Vodicka and Williams run a cash-bond charitable organization out of the Athens church they attend.

While Lieutenant Governor Burt Jones said in May that the new law will help protect Georgia families, the plaintiffs in the case say Senate Bill 63 is a violation of their right to freedom of speech, association, and religion.

The legal challenge is led by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Georgia. Cory Isaacson, legal director of the ACLU of Georgia, was pleased by the recently-granted restraining order.

“We are encouraged by the judge’s ruling and its recognition that this law is unnecessary, harmful, and likely unconstitutional. We are relieved for our Plaintiffs and the many people across the state that they serve,” he said in a statement.

The lawsuit is scheduled to return to court on Wednesday.

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