A new policy being implemented by the Cleveland Police is requiring them to either charge a suspect or release them within 36 hours after their arrest. Although some police officers have complained, according to The Plain Dealer, Deputy Chief Timothy Hennessy says “If you have probable cause to arrest, you should have probable cause to charge.”
The new policy comes after Cleveland Municipal Judge Ronald Adrine enacted an order to comply with a U.S. Supreme Court ruling. That order required all suspects to be brought before a judge within 48 hours of their arrest.
Overcrowding at the Cleveland jail is expected to be relieved by this new policy and administrators state they are already seeing the effects. Prior to the change, the city faced scrutiny for arresting and jailing people for days without access to bail and without any formal charges being levied. This is in direct violation of those citizens’ constructional right to due process under the law.
Previously there was a 24 hour policy in place but there was said to be too many exceptions to this rule, causing suspects again to be held long after the 24 period had passed.
Although the police may seem this kind of requirement as a hassle, they really shouldn’t have any problem charging someone with a crime within 36 hours if they had valid suspicion (or probable cause) that a crime had been committed by the suspect in question. If the evidence doesn’t amount to probable cause, and they cannot be charged, there’s no reason to keep them in custody.
You have rights under the constitution, we all do. And access to fair treatment in the courts, technically referred to as “due process” is one of them. You cannot be held indefinitely without being charged and without access to bail. It’s unlawful.
Similarly, you cannot be subjected to illegal searches by the police. This is one protection that seems to be a frequent issue in criminal cases. Searches by police must be justified and when they are not, any evidence that arises from that search is not admissible in court. If you are facing criminal charges, your defense lawyer would file a motion to suppress the evidence based on the illegal search. Because criminal cases frequently hinge on physical evidence, this could be the thing that gets the charges dropped.