BREAKING: Harris County, TX – Citing “Irreparable Harm to the Community,” Criminal Law Judges Demand Immediate Injunction in Bail Case.
Municipal Court vows to cut back on suspects released signing their own bond
Accountability matters - even on municipal charges. Mobile, Alabama business owners and other victims of crime will now have relief from the revolving door of "catch & release" that plagued their community since the adoption of this social experiment.
MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) - Officials with the city of Mobile say they’re making changes to a system that didn’t work. For the past several years mu...nicipal court was allowing people arrested on virtually any city offense to sign their own bond and get out of jail without paying any money.
“Frankly how it was set up, was not set up in anybody’s interest they were allowing anyone arrested for any municipal offense, other than domestics or DUI, they were allowing anyone to sign their own bond,” said Graddick. Bail bondsmen say the problem came to a head about a year ago when people who signed their own bond didn’t go back to court.
“I think it was tried to see if it would work and frankly it was not working,” said Graddick. In the last month, Graddick says the municipal court has begun requiring a cash component for more municipal offenses, sometimes allowing someone brought up on multiple charges to sign their own bond but then have a cash bond for at least one offense.
Smith County, TX - Officials question risk assessments in pretrial release.
Judge Christi Kennedy, who presides over the 114th District Court, called bail reform “probably the hottest topic in criminal justice right now.” She said options besides cash bail present problems.
“The problem with bonds or not using bonds is that nobody has a crystal ball,” Kennedy said. “And if you know that somebody is going to show up in court and not endanger anyone else and not commit an...y new offenses, then everybody would be happy.”
She said some advocates of cash bail reform favor using an assessment tool to determine whether a defendant is at risk of reoffending or not showing up for court. That’s a flawed idea, she said.
“The problem is, who are you going to blame when the assessment tool says let this person out and the person then commits a capital murder or a sexual assault of a child or never comes back to answer for the charges?” Kennedy asked.
“What are you going to do, say, ‘Well that’s what the assessment person said'? The assessment is probably drafted by a bunch of experts and they figure out what questions to ask on the assessment," Kennedy said.
“Not only who are you going to blame, but how are you going to explain it when you say, ‘Well, the piece of paper told me that they were a safe person to be out, and so they’re out,’” she said.
New Hampshire - County attorneys ask lawmakers to hold off on bail reform
CONCORD, N.H. —
County attorneys are weighing in with a stern warning about a proposal to reform the state's criminal justice bail system.
But in a letter sent to Gov. Chris Sununu and other lawmakers working on the bill, the state's 10 county attorneys said it would make sweeping changes that could increase the risk that dangerous offenders would commit crimes while out on bail.
The prosecutors said they were particularly concerned about the lack of pretrial services in many areas of the state for offenders who would normally stay behind bars.
"If those persons are now forced to be released by the new proposed criteria, particularly in areas of the state that have zero or limited bail supervision services, we must conclude that the general public will be less safe," the county attorneys wrote.
NM bail reform prompts three bail bondsmen to run for the gavel
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – They’ve worked with arrestees for their entire careers, but now they’re trying to get on the other side of the bench....
Pacheco and Smith are still running their barebones operations in Bernalillo and Carlsbad, respectively.
Gonzales, who is running for Santa Fe County Magistrate Court Judge Division I, has questioned why some judges have released many arrestees with no bond at all.
“I don't know if maybe they have lost touch with the community, but all of the citizens – you know, the common folk – they all see that crime is higher than it's ever been,” Gonzales said. "People who have offered to put up (my) signs on their properties. I've never gotten involved in politics so this is all new to me."
After laying off seven employees at his Bernalillo bail bond business, Pacheco is reaching for the gavel in Sandoval County.
“I thought, 'You know what? I can do a better job than any of these people,'” he said. “I've been in the business for 32 years. It's not like I'm coming in fresh. I understand how to do this business. I've worked with the district attorney’s office, I've worked with defense councils. I know the staff."
We continue to question the self-validated Arnold Foundation Risk Assessment Tool...and for good reason. The "proven evidence-based" tool recommended unaccountable FREE release for these two offenders in New Mexico - charged with running a sex trafficking operation and who made a 7-year-old child perform sex acts in exchange for drugs and paraphernalia.
"Sanchez is charged with child abuse and contributing to the delinquency of a minor, while Stewart is charged with huma...n trafficking, promoting prostitution, criminal sexual contact of a minor and other charges."
"Public safety assessments recommended releasing both defendants. In Sanchez’s case, with no conditions of release, and in Stewart’s case, with medium-level court-ordered supervision."
"According to court documents, the child told authorities that Stewart made her perform sex acts on his friends in exchange for drugs and paraphernalia."
Man bailed out by nonprofit accused of raping woman a week after release.
Will The Bronx Freedom Fund be held accountable? Were they even monitoring this defendant?
"A New York nonprofit bailed out a thug with a lengthy rap sheet — who was arrested for allegedly raping and robbing a Bronx teacher just a week later. Sources say The Bronx Freedom Fund fronted $1,000 to spring Lynneke Burris, 30, from jail on April 5 after he was busted for allegedly punching a man in the fac...e and carrying crack."
(New Jersey) "Currently, the tool does not include an assessment of domestic violence," Judge Glenn Grant, the courts' acting administrative director, told the state Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee last week.
Bail setting and release relies on judicial discretion and considers a number of factors - and then the judgement of those who know the accused the best to facilitate the posting of bail...the family and friends who work with a bonding agent to secure rele...ase.
Removing these HUMAN factors can have dramatic and deadly results.
Former U.S. Solicitor General Paul Clement to Argue on Behalf of the American Bail Coalition, Tuesday, May 15, 2018
Vermont Legislature Rejects Proposal to Eliminate Bail Despite Pressure from ACLU.
"As the Vermont legislature slams the door shut on the ACLU’s efforts to eliminate bail in Vermont, we have to wonder: which State will be the next State to come to the same conclusion as Vermont and many others this spring."
Senate votes to end mandatory release of low- and moderate-risk defendants.
"The Alaska Senate voted Thursday to end a key requirement of the criminal justice reform voted into law two years ago. It would end a mandate that low- and moderate-risk misdemeanor defendants be released without posting cash bail. Judges would be able to order bail for all defendants."
Alaska’s Senator Mia Costello - working hard for her constituents to restore judicial discretion in bail setting and ending the “catch and release” of dangerous risk assessments.
ENDING "CATCH AND RELEASE": I want to enthusiastically thank my colleagues in the Senate for supporting my amendment to House Bill 312. The amendment ends our "...catch-and-release" pretrial system by restoring judges' discretion to pretrial release decisions -- discretion that had been taken away by Senate Bill 91. House Bill 312 now returns to the House for concurrence.
This is a small change, but one I hope will have a big impact. There are many more steps we will need to take to improve Alaska's public safety -- but we took a big one today. Thank you all for your support!
New Jersey's "gold standard" of pretrial?
Judge Frees Ex-Con Accused Of Exposing Himself At Five Oakland Businesses.
"A 28-year-old ex-con with a lengthy criminal history was ordered released from jail this week after Oakland police charged him with exposing himself five different times in town the same day."...
"There were children under 13 at some of the establishments, he said."
"Despite Drakeford's history, the nature of the crimes and a drug arrest from earlier this year, records show that Judge John A. Conte Jr. ordered him freed from the Bergen County Jail on Tuesday, less than 24 hours after the arrest."
"This week Google and Facebook announced that they would stop accepting ads for bail-bond services. It’s the perfect moral gesture for our times: It makes a grand statement, keeps pressure groups happy, reminds us that the tech giants have weight to throw around, and leaves its intended beneficiaries no better and perhaps imperceptibly worse off."
"If one is going to be suspicious of mercenary motives in the justice system, I recommend starting with the providers among whom d...efendants’ families do not get to pick and choose in their hour of need in a relatively competitive market. That would include probation providers and jail phone-call providers — and, yes, some firms involved with private prisons."
"Of course, those companies aren’t big advertisers, since the only customer they need to convince is the law-enforcement agency. So Google and Facebook are spared the need to worry about what posture to strike toward them. Convenient, that."
Crime-Spree Friendly Bail System in Dallas leads to Death of Dallas Cop, Two others in Critical Condition.
"Repeat offender out on free “Personal Recognizance Bond” kills Dallas Police Officer in shooting leaving another cop and loss-prevention officer in critical condition. Now, activists want more of the same."
TAKE ACTION: Email legislators here to support HR 2152, "Citizens Right to Know Act," which will be heard tomorrow and will bring accountability to federally funded pretrial services programs if passed.
Citizens picking up the tab have a right to know whether these programs are effective, fair, and safe.