Puerto Rico bail referendum sparks rights debate

AP News
Posted: May 26, 2012 10:40 AM
Puerto Rico bail referendum sparks rights debate

Puerto Ricans are debating an upcoming referendum that would give judges the right to deny bail in certain murder cases.

The proposal has the backing of both the governor and the leader of the main opposition party, but it faces numerous challenges.

People remain largely wary of a police force that federal prosecutors have accused of corruption and human rights violations, and the right to bail is enshrined in Puerto Rico.

A committee created this week made up of churches, schools and other groups is fighting the Aug. 19 referendum. Crime victim advocates are pushing for the referendum, saying people often fear pressing charges or testifying against someone they might run into on the small island.