INDIANAPOLIS — American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana announced a lawsuit on Wednesday against the state over whether a newly enacted law is constitutional and targets The Bail Project.
The lawsuit argues HEA1300 violates The Bail Project’s First Amendment rights. HEA1300 puts restrictions on charitable bail organizations by restricting who can pay bail on behalf of a defendant.
Under the new law, charitable organizations are not able to bail out more than three people in a 180-day period. The law also requires these organizations only post cash bail for people deemed indigent, for misdemeanors only and a maximum amount of $2,000.
The law states that a charitable bail organization is any entity that pays bail for two people within a six-month period. If an organization is paying bail for more people, it must be licensed by the department of insurance.
“This new law singles out charitable bail organizations in Indiana, which for all practical purposes means The Bail Project,” said Ken Falk, legal director of the ACLU of Indiana. “This unconstitutional attack on The Bail Project will hurt low-income Hoosiers in the criminal legal system who will have to sit in jail while presumed innocent because they cannot afford bail.”
The 16-page lawsuit claims The Bail Project’s actions are a form of advocacy protected under the First Amendment. The Bail Project also argues this law singles out its organization and discriminates against it in a way unlike any other agency that posts bail. In addition, the lawsuit claims the law violates the equal protection clause.