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Judge temporarily blocks Georgia law that limits people or groups to posting 3 bonds a year

ATLANTA (AP) — A federal judge on Friday temporarily blocked part of a Georgia law that restricts organizations from helping people pay bail so they can be released while their criminal cases are pending.

U.S. District Judge Victoria Marie Calvert blocked part of Senate Bill 63 from taking effect on Monday after a hearing in Atlanta. The judge is stalling the law for 14 days and directing lawyers to present arguments on whether it should be stayed until a lawsuit over the measure is resolved.

The blocked section limits people and organizations from posting more than three cash bonds in a year unless they meet requirements for bail bond companies. That means passing background checks, paying fees, holding a business license, securing the local sheriff’s approval and establishing a cash escrow account or other form of collateral.

Calvert is letting other parts of the law that require cash bail before people charged with 30 additional crimes can be released from pretrial detention. That list includes 18 offenses that are always or often misdemeanors, including failure to appear in court for a traffic citation.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia and the Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection at Georgetown University Law Center filed the lawsuit on June 21. They represent Barred Business Foundation, an Atlanta-based nonprofit whose activities include facilitating campaigns to pay cash bail, as well as two people who live in Athens and run a charitable bail fund in association with their church.

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