How long should someone be able to be held in jail without a trial?

“Kalief Browder, the young man who was held for years in a New York jail without a trial, killed himself on Saturday,” writes Eyder Peralta for NPR.

Browder was the subject of a profile in The New Yorker. He was 16 years old when he was arrested for allegedly stealing a backpack. Because his family was unable to raise his $10,000 bail, Browder languished at Rikers Island for three years awaiting trial.

The teen said he endured beatings by officers and other inmates. He tried to commit suicide and spent more than 400 days in solitary confinement.

Eventually, in 2013, his case was dismissed. The publicity surrounding his case led to a plan to try to curb the violence at Rikers. But as Browder told the New Yorker, he emerged from the ordeal broken.

  • kevins

    What does the law allow in Minnesota? I frankly do not know the answer to that questions. My sense is that you should not be held in jail for any amount of time without charges. The case in New York is truly horrible in it’s sweeping violation of the man’s rights.

  • bob hicks

    This is a classic example of how profoundly unequal and savage our criminal “justice” system is. Because he was poor, Broder suffered through months of a hellish existence in the subhuman environment that is Rikers, and could not, unsurprisingly, live past it. We are an exceptional nation, indeed.

  • Jim G

    For lack of a bail bond… a life was lost. Multiply that by the host of poor who cannot make bail being swept up by a broken criminal justice system and we have an uniquely American tradegy. This latest iteration of Jim Crow policing policies must be as intentionally reformed as they were intentionally adopted.

  • PaulJ

    Schools grind out enough out of work lawyers that there should be a judge Judy available within a week if the lawyers agree to it; just make the appeal process more accessible for when thing go awry. Throwing money at this problem can’t be considered coddling criminals if defendants haven’t been convicted.

  • John Dilligaf

    In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense.

    Amendment 6 – we need to live by this document, as originally constructed.

  • lindblomeagles

    Nobody should ever languish in an American prison without a trial, especially a teenager accused of stealing a backpack. Yet, when you are a minority and/or poor, and associate with friends who usually don’t make good choices, this is what often happens. Americans keep denying this stuff, which means it will happen again.

  • KTN

    Not for three years.