Fighting for Changes to Bail Policy


Terrence Wilkerson has been wrongly accused of a crime.


But for Terrence, like so many other New Yorkers, the bail decisions in his cases made all the difference. In his first encounter, Terrance was charged with robbery and held on $35,000 bail. This unreasonable sum posed an insurmountable challenge for Terrence and his family; as Terrence said, “I didn’t know where I was getting $35.” Terrence had to fight his case from the inside, cut off from family, friends, and even his legal representation. With nowhere else to turn and options running out, Terrance pleaded guilty to a crime he did not commit.

Thankfully, the second time he was falsely accused of a crime, his family could afford to post his bail. Even though he spent several days in the Bronx jail known as “The Boat,” Terrence was eventually released when his partner posted a bond for him. And his pretrial liberty made all the difference this time around. His Legal Aid Society lawyers were able to fight alongside him, and together they uncovered evidence that ultimately led to his acquittal on all charges. Unfortunately, many New Yorkers like Terrence are still kept behind bars without being convicted of a crime simply because they and their families cannot afford bail.