Bass, Berry & Sims attorney Angie Bergman was quoted in an article in the Nashville Scene outlining the conflict between the Nashville Community Bail Fund (NCBF) and the local, traditional bail bond industry. The NCBF was established three years ago as a nonprofit that helps free people from jail who are presumed innocent and cannot afford to pay their bail. The NCBF collects donations that it uses to post bail on behalf of criminal defendants who have no place else to turn. When the defendant fulfills all court obligations, the bail money is returned to the NCBF who can then continue the process with other defendants. However, following an April 2019 hearing called by Nashville’s Criminal Court judges, the court issued an order that will require certain fines and related court costs to be removed from the original bail amount before being returned to the NCBF. This will impact how the NCBF operates the cyclical fund.
Angie is currently serving a six-month fellowship with the Choosing Justice Initiative to advocate for bail reform in Nashville’s criminal courts and working directly with the NCBF. The fellowship is part of the firm’s newly launched Pro Bono Program that provide opportunities and incentives for the firm’s attorneys to give back to the community. Read more about the launch of the program here.
In the Nashville Scene article, Angie defended the work of the NCBF and the current legal standing of the fund. “We have been in communication with the court, and I think that we are hoping to continue to show them there are a lot of facts that they don’t have before them.” She went on to state that despite the recent court order, the NCBF is “continuing to operate, continuing to do the good work that we think is of vital importance to this city. That won’t stop.”
The full article, “A Local Nonprofit Is at the Center of the Fight Over Bail Reform,” was published by the Nashville Scene on May 30, 2019, and is available online.