Author Topic: The problem with bail and unequal justice  (Read 93 times)

TheDrake

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The problem with bail and unequal justice
« on: June 18, 2022, 12:37:52 PM »
Bail is suggested to serve an important role in getting people to return for their court date. It just makes sense, law and order proponents say, and it prevents the need to incarcerate someone without bail until they can clear their name. California and New York has eliminated cash bail for non-violent crime, including felonies. No doubt proof positive for some that liberal states are launching a tsunami of crime.

There is obviously a problem in that the severity of the financial consequence is trivial for some and impossible to raise for others. A millionaire has no additional incentive to show up for their $5000 bond. Meanwhile, others have to choose between pleading guilty in order to escape pre-trial incarceration. It seems if you were going to have a cash bail system, it ought to scale according to net worth in order to provide the same incentive to appear and the same impact on one's life (or at least closer).

article

Is bail so unreasonable? Absolutely out of line sometimes.

Quote
In 2017, prosecutors allege, Humphrey, robbed and threatened an elderly neighbor at their residential hotel. At the time, Humphrey struggled with drug and alcohol addiction. He made away, prosecutors said, with a $5 bottle of cologne.

After his arrest, he was charged with robbery, elder abuse, and theft. The judge referred to a bail schedule and set his bail at $600,000. (It was later lowered to $350,000 on appeal.) Bail schedules often provide the judges a reference based on the type of crime and a recommended bail amount to accompany it, a practice that focuses more on the alleged crime than the individual circumstances.

But, you know, the law and order acolytes will say, what if you let him out without bail or a bail he can afford to pay and he threatens on of his neighbors again, OR WORSE!!!

That's the court case that got things changed in California. I think most people have no idea how brutal the bail system is for people in maximum debt, bankruptcy, or single parents.

Part of what makes things tricky to understand such things, is that advocates on either side of the issue will resort to the most egregious anecdote when making their case. Absolutely cases exist where somebody released on a non-violent charge went on to commit a violent crime. But if you really believe in "innocent until proven guilty", don't you have to accept a certain level of bad outcome?

Relying on "common sense" is a big part of the problem here. Of COURSE releasing more criminals means having more crime! Except when you look at actual data, you find this is a pretty small number.

Quote
The data now reflect: 2 percent of the nearly 100,000 cases related to the state’s changed bail laws, between July 2020 and June 2021, led to a rearrest on a violent felony while another case was pending. That’s down from nearly 4 percent from the prior data set. The new numbers reflect 2,051 arrests of someone for a violent felony after their release from custody or following arraignment on an initial charge.

Many of those rearrested after being released had been pending trial on charges involving property, larceny and drugs.

Should the impact of 2% reoffending lead us to imprison the other 98% awaiting trial?

One non-profit group says no.

23019 people have been bailed out thanks to The Bail Project

msquared

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Re: The problem with bail and unequal justice
« Reply #1 on: June 18, 2022, 02:02:35 PM »
Of course you should. One crime is one crime too many. Lock them up, as long as they are not middle age white males, and throw away the key. Just remember they would not be there if they were not guilty.  I mean the police are never wrong, never corrupt.