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United States v. Salerno

Further Resistance To The Bail Reform Act

Not only did three Supreme Court justices voice dissent after hearing the case, but lawyers around the country took issue with the finding, in particular members of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). Justices Marshall and Brennan sided largely with the court of appeals, asserting that provisions of the Bail Reform Act of 1984 violated portions of the Fifth and Eighth Amendments, as the respondents claimed. Justice Stevens dissented separately, expressing the view that though the government could detain people accused of crimes briefly in special circumstances, the act was unconstitutional and the government was using United States v. Salerno as a test case, not trying to protect the community. In United States v. Salerno, the district court tried to use criminal allegations against respondents as proof of their dangerousness, but that violated their right to be treated as innocent until proven guilty, according to the dissenting justices. Furthermore, ACLU lawyer David Goldstein argued that, "What the court has done is to reverse the 200-year assumption of innocence and replace it with this vague notion of dangerousness." The ACLU disputed the finding, asserting that the provisions of the act gave the government the authority to impose punishment before trial and conviction.

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1981 to 1988United States v. Salerno - Significance, Background, Rights Of The Community V. Rights Of The Individual, Further Resistance To The Bail Reform Act