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The "90 Day Rule" or "Indict or Release"

The "90 Day Rule" or "Indict or Release"

Some clients who remain in jail without bond, and who haven't been indicted yet, are counting down the days to the 90 day mark.

This 90th day is significant because the Official Code of Georgia 17-7-50 mandates that (in non-death penalty cases) if someone is arrested and refused bail then the state must present the case to a grand jury within 90 days or... the accused SHALL have bail set.

This is significant for several reasons. On the one hand, the State needs time to properly investigate and build their case so that when they DO present it, a grand jury will indict the case and let them move forward with the prosecution. Additionally, in some more rural jurisdictions the grand jury may not be in session except once every couple of weeks or even months!

On the other hand, can you imagine being locked in jail for 3 months without bond? What happens when you miss work, fail to make your car payments, or don't pay your mortgage or utilities for 3 months?

As unbelievable as it sounds, it's not all that uncommon to reach the 90 day mark. And even when your client has been in jail for 90 days, but hasn't been indicted, he's only entitled to have bail SET; it's not required that it be one he can afford.

Nonetheless, it is an important safety valve in Georgia law.

I'll be filing my motion next week.