WATCH: Colorado Counties Settle With Man Jailed For 52 Days Without Seeing a Judge

Michael Bailey

Colorado – A settlement was reached in a civil rights lawsuit filed by a Southern Colorado man who spent 52 days in jail before getting to see a judge. Michael Bailey sued the Pueblo and Teller County Sheriff’s Offices in November over the lengthy incarceration.

Attorney Rebecca Wallace of the American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado said the law enforcement agencies violated her client’s 14th Amendment Due Process Protections.

“Mr. Bailey’s 52-day wait in jail was clearly in violation of the Constitution,” Wallace said. “There was no bond. There was no way for him to get out of jail. When he finally did appear before a judge, he was immediately issued a personal recognizance bond and allowed to walk free and shortly thereafter the entire case was dismissed against him.”

The long wait cost Bailey his job and his home. Wallace said her client has since been able to get back on his feet However, his case isn’t a fluke. Wallace said thousands of people are locked up in local jails every day all waiting for their day in court.

“Most of the individuals who are in these overcrowded jails, well over 50 percent, are there pretrial,” she said. “They’re like Mr. Bailey, they’ve only been accused of a crime, they’re innocent in the eyes of the law and in almost all cases they have a right to release.”

As part of the settlement agreement, the Sheriff’s in both Pueblo and Teller County promised to bring all new arrestees before a judge within two court days. Wallace thinks that getting criminal defendants in front of a judge sooner will greatly reduce crowding in county jails.

The counties also paid Bailey what’s been described as “a substantial monetary payment” for damages and attorney’s fees.