U.S. Bail Bond Policy Criticized
I've never liked the bail bonds business. It was a big relief for my clients when our federal court went to a refundable cash deposit system some years ago. State courts should follow suit.
But I didn't realize that we are one of the only countries that uses the system -- in other countries, it's a crime to make a profit off of securing someone's release.
The New York Times has a very interesting article on this today, Illegal Globally, Bail for Profit Remains in U.S.
Bail bondspersons have been outlawed in llinois, Kentucky, Oregon and Wisconsin. Why? It's a system that discriminates against the poor. [More...]
Most of the legal establishment, including the American Bar Association and the National District Attorneys Association, hates the bail bond business, saying it discriminates against poor and middle-class defendants, does nothing for public safety, and usurps decisions that ought to be made by the justice system.
It also runs counter to the presumption of innocence:
The flaw in the system most often cited by critics is that defendants who have not been convicted of a crime and who turn up for every court appearance are nonetheless required to pay a nonrefundable fee to a private business, assuming they do not want to remain in jail.
The other country that heavily uses commerical bail bonds for criminal defendants is the Phillippines. That should tell you something. It's time for this relic to go.
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