Over 500 accused sex offenders could be released due to a ruling by the Arizona Appeals Court.
This is a move that has shaken up the state's prosecutor's offices. The Arizona Court of Appeals has ruled a state law passed in 2002 which automatically denies bail for accused sex offenders while the await trial is illegal.
"Right now, we have a pending public safety disaster. There is a potential.. over 500 sex offenders who could be released," said Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery.
Montgomery is vowing to fight a ruling by the Arizona Appeals Court last week which says current state laws automatically deny bail to accused sex offenders are unconstitutional.
That means 534 people currently behind bars awaiting trial on sex crimes in Maricopa County alone could be released -- until they go to trial.
Accused sex offenders can now request a court hearing where a judge could decide if bond is appropriate on a case-by-case basis.
"This is going to be tough. And this is the kind of circumstance we never want to find ourselves in. Where there may be those who are a threat to the community are able to take advantage of a particular process at a particular point in time," said Montgomery.
Bail could still be denied in cases where prosecutors can prove the public's safety could be in danger if the defendant was released. Those who are released will be monitored with a GPS bracelet from the county probation service department.