ACLU sues Philadelphia court magistrates over bail practices

The American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania and several criminal justice reform groups are suing Philadelphia court magistrates over what they say are unfair bail practices that don't follow rules and unfairly target poor people of color.

The lawsuit was filed Tuesday with the Supreme Count of Pennsylvania as a complaint against six Philadelphia arraignment court magistrates who the ACLU claims routinely violate the high court's rules.

The ACLU says it observed more than 2,000 bail hearings in recent months and allege the magistrates rely too heavily on cash bail and are effectively punishing people for being poor.

Gabe Roberts, the director of communications for the First Judicial District of Pennsylvania, says the court can't comment on pending cases or filings.

A message seeking comment from the city wasn't immediately returned.