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  • PART IV CRIMES, PUNISHMENTS AND PROCEEDINGS IN CRIMINAL CASES
  • TITLE II PROCEEDINGS IN CRIMINAL CASES
  • CHAPTER 276 SEARCH WARRANTS, REWARDS, FUGITIVES FROM JUSTICE, ARREST, EXAMINATION, COMMITMENT AND BAIL. PROBATION OFFICERS AND BOARD OF PROBATION
  • Section 58 Release on personal recognizance or unsecured appearance bond; determination; fees; refusal; petition for review

Section 58. A justice or a clerk or assistant clerk of the district court, a bail commissioner or master in chancery, in accordance with the applicable provisions of section fifty-seven, shall, when a person is held under arrest or committed either with or without a warrant for an offense other than an offense punishable by death, or, upon the motion of the commonwealth, for an offense enumerated in section fifty-eight A or for any offense on which a warrant of arrest has been issued by the superior court, hold a hearing in which the defendant and his counsel, if any, may participate and inquire into the case and shall admit such person to bail on his personal recognizance without surety unless said justice, clerk or assistant clerk, bail commissioner or master in chancery determines, in the exercise of his discretion, that such a release will not reasonably assure the appearance of the person before the court. In his determination under this section as to whether release will reasonably assure the appearance of the person before the court, said justice, clerk or assistant clerk, bail commissioner or master in chancery shall, on the basis of any information which he can reasonably obtain, take into account the nature and circumstances of the offense charged, the potential penalty the person faces, the person’s family ties, financial resources, employment record and history of mental illness, his reputation and the length of residence in the community, his record of convictions, if any, any illegal drug distribution or present drug dependency, any flight to avoid prosecution or fraudulent use of an alias or false identification, any failure to appear at any court proceeding to answer to an offense, whether the person is on bail pending adjudication of a prior charge, whether the acts alleged involve abuse as defined in section one of chapter two hundred and nine A, or violation of a temporary or permanent order issued pursuant to sections eighteen or thirty-four B of chapter two hundred and eight, section thirty-two of chapter two hundred and nine, sections three, four or five of chapter two hundred and nine A, or sections fifteen or twenty of chapter two hundred and nine C, whether the person has any history of orders issued against him pursuant to the aforesaid sections, whether he is on probation, parole, or other release pending completion of sentence for any conviction, and whether he is on release pending sentence or appeal for any conviction. The person authorized to admit the person to bail shall provide as an explicit condition of release for any person admitted to bail pursuant to this section or section fifty-seven that, should said person be charged with a crime during the period of his release, his bail may be revoked in accordance with the third paragraph of this section. If the justice or clerk or assistant clerk of the district court, the bail commissioner or master in chancery determines that a cash bail is required, the person shall be allowed to provide an equivalent amount in a surety company bond. If the justice or clerk or assistant clerk of the district court, the bail commissioner or master in chancery determines it to be necessary, the defendant may be ordered to abide by specified restrictions on personal associations or conduct including, but not limited to, avoiding all contact with an alleged victim of the crime and any potential witness or witnesses who may testify concerning the offense, as a condition of release.

A person, before being released on personal recognizance without surety, shall be informed by the person authorized to admit such person to bail of the penalties provided by section eighty-two A if he fails without sufficient excuse to appear at the specified time and place in accordance with the terms of his recognizance. A person authorized to take bail may charge the fees authorized by section twenty-four of chapter two hundred and sixty-two, if he goes to the place of detention of the person to make a determination provided for in this section although said person is released on his personal recognizance without surety. Said fees shall not be charged by any clerk or assistant clerk of a district court during regular working hours.

A person aforesaid charged with an offense and not released on his personal recognizance without surety by a clerk or assistant clerk of the district court, a bail commissioner or master in chancery shall forthwith be brought before the next session of the district court for a review of the order to recognize in accordance with the standards set forth in the first paragraph of this section. The court shall provide as an explicit condition of release for any person admitted to bail pursuant to this section or section fifty-seven that should said person be charged with a crime during the period of his release, his bail may be revoked in accordance with this paragraph and the court shall enter in writing on the court docket that the person was so informed and the docket shall constitute prima facie evidence that the person was so informed. If a person is on release pending the adjudication of a prior charge, and the court before which the person is charged with committing a subsequent offense after a hearing at which the person shall have the right to be represented by counsel, finds probable cause to believe that the person has committed a crime during said period of release, the court shall then determine, in the exercise of its discretion, whether the release of said person will seriously endanger any person or the community. In making said determination, the court shall consider the gravity, nature and circumstances of the offenses charged, the person’s record of convictions, if any, and whether said charges or convictions are for offenses involving the use or threat of physical force or violence against any person, whether the person is on probation, parole or other release pending completion of sentence for any conviction, whether he is on release pending sentence or appeal for any conviction, the person’s mental condition, and any illegal drug distribution or present drug dependency. If the court determines that the release of said person will seriously endanger any person or the community and that the detention of the person is necessary to reasonably assure the safety of any person or the community, the court may revoke bail on the prior charge and may order said person held without bail pending the adjudication of said prior charge, for a period not to exceed sixty days. The hearing shall be held upon the person’s first appearance before the court before which the person is charged with committing an offense while on release pending adjudication of a prior charge, unless that person, or the attorney for the commonwealth, seeks and the court allows, a continuance because a witness or document is not immediately available. Except for good cause, a continuance on motion of the person shall not exceed seven days and on motion of the attorney for the commonwealth may not exceed three business days. During such continuance, the person may be detained consistent with the provisions of this section. Said order shall state in writing the reasons therefor and shall be reviewed by the court upon the acquittal of the person, or the dismissal of, any of the cases involved. A person so held shall be brought to trial as soon as reasonably possible. A person aggrieved by the denial of a district court justice to admit him to bail on his personal recognizance without surety may petition the superior court for a review of the order of the recognizance and the justice of the district court shall thereupon immediately notify such person of his right to file a petition for review in the superior court. When a petition for review is filed in the district court or with the detaining authority subsequent to petitioner’s district court appearance, the clerk of the district court or the detaining authority, as the case may be, shall immediately notify by telephone, the clerk and probation officer of the district court, the district attorney for the district in which the district court is located, the prosecuting officer, the petitioner’s counsel, if any, and the clerk of courts of the county to which the petition is to be transmitted. The clerk of the district court, upon the filing of a petition for review, either in the district court or with the detaining authority, shall forthwith transmit the petition for review, a copy of the complaint and of the record of the court, including the appearance of the attorney, if any is entered, and a summary of the court’s reasons for denying the release of the defendant on his personal recognizance without surety to the superior court for the county in which the district court is located, if a justice thereof is then sitting, or to the superior court of the nearest county in which a justice is then sitting; the probation officer of the district court shall transmit forthwith to the probation officer of the superior court, copies of all records of the probation office of said district court pertaining to the petitioner, including the petitioner’s record of prior convictions, if any, as currently verified by inquiry of the commissioner of probation. The district court or the detaining authority, as the case may be, shall cause any petitioner in its custody to be brought before the said superior court on the same day the petition shall have been filed, unless the district court or the detaining authority shall determine that such appearance and hearing on the petition cannot practically take place before the adjournment of the sitting of said superior court for that day and in which event, the petitioner shall be caused to be brought before said court for such hearing during the morning of the next business day of the sitting of said superior court. The district court is authorized to order any officer authorized to execute criminal process to transfer the petitioner and any papers herein above described from the district court or the detaining authority to the superior court, and to coordinate the transfer of the petitioner and the papers by such officer. The petition for review shall constitute authority in the person or officer having custody of the petitioner to transport the petitioner to said superior court without the issuance of any writ or other legal process, provided, however, that any district or superior court is authorized to issue a writ of habeas corpus for the appearance forthwith of the petitioner before the superior court.

The superior court shall in accordance with the standards set forth in the first paragraph of this section, hear the petition for review as speedily as practicable and except for unusual circumstances, on the same day the petition is filed; provided, however, that the court may continue the hearing to the next business day if the required records and other necessary information are not available. The justice of the superior court may, after a hearing on the petition for review, order that the petitioner be released on bail on his personal recognizance without surety, or, in his discretion, to reasonably assure the effective administration of justice, make any other order of bail or recognizance or remand the petitioner in accordance with the terms of the process by which he was ordered committed by the district court.

If a defendant has posted bail in the district court and has subsequently been arraigned in the superior court for the same offense, the superior court clerk shall notify the district court clerk holding the defendant’s bail of such arraignment. Upon such notification, the amount of any bail bond posted by a defendant in the district court shall be carried over to a bail bond required by the superior court. The superior court justices’ discretion in setting the amount of bail shall not be affected by the provisions of this paragraph.

Except where the defendant has defaulted on his recognizance or has been surrendered by a probation officer, an order of bail or recognizance shall not be revoked, revised or amended by the district court, because the defendant has been bound over to the superior court; provided, however, that if any court, in its discretion, finds that changed circumstances or other factors not previously known or considered, make the order of bail or recognizance ineffective to reasonably assure the appearance of said defendant before the court, the court may make a further order of bail, either by increasing the amount of the recognizance or requiring sufficient surety or both, which order will not revoke the order of bail or recognizance previously in force and effect. The court may also review such changed circumstances or other factors not previously known or considered in accordance with the third paragraph of this section.

The chief justice of the district court department and the chief justice of the Boston municipal court department shall prescribe forms for use in their respective courts, for the purpose of notifying a defendant of his right to file a petition for review in the superior court, forms for a petition for review and forms for the implementation of any other procedural requirements. The clerk of courts shall forthwith notify the district court of all orders or judgments of the superior court on petitions for review. Costs or expenses of services and transportation under this section shall be ordered paid in the amount determined by the superior court out of the state treasury.

For an offense enumerated in section fifty-eight A, and upon the motion of an attorney for the commonwealth for an order of pretrial detention or imposition of conditions of release based on dangerousness, a justice of the district or superior court shall hold a hearing pursuant to the provisions of subsection (4) of said section fifty-eight A and shall admit such person to bail on his personal recognizance without surety or subject to conditions of release unless said justice, determines, in the exercise of his discretion, that such release will endanger the safety of any other person or the community.