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Criminal defendants in Massachusetts have a right to appeal any bail amount or conditions set by a district court judge.

The appeal will be heard by a superior court judge who can alter the district court’s decision in whatever way he deems appropriate. (Warning: this may include raising the bail amount or imposing stricter conditions of release.)

To appeal bail set by a district court judge, the defendant must file a petition for review with the district court or the jail where he is being detained.

Any and all documents considered by the district court during the initial bail hearing will be submitted to the superior court along with the district court judge’s written justification for the original bail terms.

The superior court will have a new hearing (i.e., hearing de novo) on the matter. The hearing will take place–in person or via video conference–on the day the petition is filed or at the next earliest date.

Indigent defendants will be represented by the attorney they had at the initial bail hearing or, in some courts, by an attorney assigned to handle only bail appeals that day.