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Sat Dec 26, 2015, 02:22 PM

Is cash bail unconstitutional? Activists sue over system 'favoring the wealthy'

Source: Associated Press

Is cash bail unconstitutional? Activists sue over system 'favoring the wealthy'

Associated Press in San Francisco
Saturday 26 December 2015 17.02 GMT

Crystal Patterson didnít have the cash or assets to post $150,000 bail and get out of jail after her arrest for assault in October.

So Patterson, 39, promised to pay a bail bonds company $15,000 plus interest to put up the $150,000 bail for her, allowing her to go home and care for her invalid grandmother.

The day after her release, the district attorney decided not to pursue charges. But Patterson still owes the bail bonds company. Criminal justice reformers and lawyers at a non-profit Washington DC legal clinic say that is unconstitutionally unfair.

The lawyers have filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of Patterson, Rianna Buffin and other jail inmates who argue that San Francisco and Californiaís bail system unconstitutionally treats poor and wealthy suspects differently.

Wealthy suspects can put up their houses or other valuable assets or simply write a check to post bail and stay out of jail until their cases are resolved. Poorer suspects arenít so lucky. Many remain behind bars or pay nonrefundable fees to bail bonds companies.

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Read more: http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/dec/26/bail-bond-reform-california-lawsuit-prison

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Reply Is cash bail unconstitutional? Activists sue over system 'favoring the wealthy' (Original post)
Eugene Dec 2015 OP
Live and Learn Dec 2015 #1
dixiegrrrrl Dec 2015 #2
ret5hd Dec 2015 #3
dixiegrrrrl Dec 2015 #4
ret5hd Dec 2015 #5
dixiegrrrrl Dec 2015 #7
discntnt_irny_srcsm Dec 2015 #6
Babel_17 Dec 2015 #8
discntnt_irny_srcsm Dec 2015 #9
SaveTheMackerel Feb 2016 #11
SaveTheMackerel Feb 2016 #10

Response to Eugene (Original post)

Sat Dec 26, 2015, 02:29 PM

1. Our justice system is inaptly named. K&R nt

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Response to Eugene (Original post)

Sat Dec 26, 2015, 03:22 PM

2. Why is bail non-refundable if charges are dropped?

Was it always that way????

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Response to dixiegrrrrl (Reply #2)

Sat Dec 26, 2015, 03:28 PM

3. the bond (paid to a bail bondsman, a private entity)...

is the fee of around 10% + of the bond. It is essentially a guarantee by the bondsman that the bail will be paid if the defendant doesn't return for court. It is non-refundable.

A rich person can just write a check or put up property, essentially saying "you can cash this IOU if I don't show up." There is no third party involved, so there is no non=refundable fee.

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Response to ret5hd (Reply #3)

Sat Dec 26, 2015, 03:43 PM

4. I know it is non-refundable.

My question was why?????? if the charges are dropped.
If charges are dropped or even if the person comes back to court, the bond is not needed.

Even for a rich person to write a check for the bond, they too are getting ripped off if the charges are dropped.
Not fair for someone to make a profit from a false arrest.

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Response to dixiegrrrrl (Reply #4)

Sat Dec 26, 2015, 03:59 PM

5. Think of it kinda like car insurance...

You don't get your premium back if you don't have a wreck. But if you are rich enough you can self-insure.

Also, I believe I see a possible misconception. Bail and bond are two separate things. The bail is the amount set by the court. The bond is a fee charged by a third party to guarantee possible future payment of the bail...an insurance policy of sorts.

The rich person doesn't write a check for the bond...he writes a check for the bail directly to the courts, to potentially be cashed by the courts in the event of not showing up. In essence, the rich person is acting as their own bondsman, no third party involved.

Believe me, I am not sticking up for this system, merely explaining it as best I can. The only rational "fix" I can think of off the top of my head is if the court had to reimburse the defendant for the bond if the charges were simply dropped...the downside being that there might be more "bad" cases going thru the motions (trial, etc) just to keep from having to reimburse the wrongly accused person.

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Response to ret5hd (Reply #5)

Sat Dec 26, 2015, 07:46 PM

7. ok...I see what you mean. thanks for the explanation.

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Response to Eugene (Original post)

Sat Dec 26, 2015, 04:44 PM

6. It is absolutely unfair

The rich are getting richer on the backs of the poorer.

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Response to Eugene (Original post)

Sun Dec 27, 2015, 03:20 PM

8. Should be an option to accept a tracking ankle bracelet

Between that and having your ID and fingerprints, compliance to appearing in court should be at an acceptable level.

Instead, these bonds that people have to pay are punitive assessments against people that are presumed innocent. That's a critical failure of a key principle of our justice system.

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Response to Babel_17 (Reply #8)

Sun Dec 27, 2015, 03:32 PM

9. Exactly!

Excellent idea!

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Response to Babel_17 (Reply #8)

Fri Feb 19, 2016, 11:28 PM

11. They charge $300 per month to let people wear the bracelet.

 

My neighbor wore one once, for drinking and driving.

Our government is corrupt at all levels.

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Response to Eugene (Original post)

Fri Feb 19, 2016, 11:21 PM

10. Bail is a fine before proof of guilt.

 

Bail is set high enough that people must take a bail bond to get out. But the 10% they pay for the bond is not refundable. So it is a fine, for people who have not been proven innocent.

If you don't pay the fine, you stay in the cell and get raped or miss work or can't speak to a real lawyer confidentially.

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