Keep Law Enforcement Away From Bail and Detention Policy

Law enforcement groups around the country got together for a day last year, and ten months later, have released a report concluding that more states need to follow the federal system of pre-trial release and adopt policies allowing for pre-trial detention -- and that law enforcement should play a key role in formulating such policies.

The report fails in its introduction (page 4), when it claims:

The group consisted of police executives from large, medium, and small jurisdictions; prosecuting attorneys; academic researchers and scholars; judges; and defense attorneys. (The complete list of attendees is attached as Appendix A.)

There are no defense attorneys listed in "Appendix A." (pages 14 and 15.) Of the two pages of attendees, there's a research director from a criminal defense organization. That's not a criminal defense attorney. To claim criminal defense attorneys (plural no less) participated in the group and agreed with the conclusion is just not true.

This matters, because it claims defense attorneys supported the conclusion:

The consensus among the group was that law enforcement can and should play a leadership role in addressing the issues relative to the pretrial process, particularly those that directly affect public and officer safety and defendant accountability.


Second, it's one thing to support pre-trial service agencies who recommend bail conditions to the court. It's another to suggest cops should be part of setting the criteria used by these agencies or part of decision process. Federal pre-trial service departments are purposely independent, like probation officers. They work neither for the prosecution nor the defense, but for the Court. Impartiality is critical.

Law enforcement already has a role in pre-trial detention. The prosecutor calls the agent as a witness at the detention hearing. Any further role is not warranted and ill-advised.

What's behind this report? A few isolated instances of officers being killed by defendants on bond. The report begins with one such example and concludes with:

The ultimate goal of each of these efforts will be identical: to make certain that another tragedy like the one in which four Lakewood, Washington, police officers were slain by an individual at high risk for reoffending, who
was nonetheless out on bail, will never happen again.

Laws and legislative policy should never be enacted in response to a singular event, no matter how horrific. Cooler heads are needed. There is no reason to seriously consider, let alone adopt the conclusion of this one-sided report, particularly given the misrepresentation that defense lawyers (plural) were part of it.

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    Keep Law Enforcement Away From Bail and Detention (none / 0) (#1)
    by bailandjail on Sat Feb 19, 2011 at 09:25:06 AM EST
    conflicts of interest abound in every area of the broken criminal justice system, not just the one you cited. pretrial services is a multiple offender of conflict of interest. judges doing social work is a major conflict of interest. public/private lawyers being members of the same "club" is a conflict of interest. all you lawyers have vowed to uphold the constitution. and the constitution does not permit conflicts of interest. the constitution provides simple 100% effective checks and balances necessary for smooth efficient legal system - yet lawyers, have failed to uphold their end, and look the other way when conflicts arise, because they would just expose the conflicts that benefit them.

    Excellent post "bailandjail" (none / 0) (#2)
    by Yes2Truth on Sat Feb 19, 2011 at 10:07:41 AM EST

    Police can lie to citizens (and do so anytime they
    "need"), but if a citizen lies to them, there are
    gonna be consequences.

    Police can't do the job they're paid to do - which is why you often see requests from them to the public to help them find/catch suspects.  But police won't help YOU do your job.  

    Police, n. - an armed force for protection and


    "just not true" (none / 0) (#3)
    by cpinva on Sat Feb 19, 2011 at 06:41:45 PM EST
    is being kind. in first grade, the nuns taught me this is called a "lie", and that liars tell lies. from that point on, everything else has no credibility.

    What that case? (none / 0) (#6)
    by NMvoiceofreason on Mon Feb 21, 2011 at 05:02:26 PM EST
    The famous case that says police can lie to suspects?

    And all of us are suspects?


    FRAZIER v. CUPP (none / 0) (#7)
    by NMvoiceofreason on Mon Feb 21, 2011 at 05:07:13 PM EST
    U.S. Supreme Court
    FRAZIER v. CUPP, 394 U.S. 731 (1969)
    394 U.S. 731


    One interesting, albeit extreme, example of when the courts held that a confession was admissible is in a May 8, 2009 California appellate court decision of People v. Mays (Docket No. C057099). In this case, the police hooked up the suspect, Darious Mays, to a fake polygraph machine, proceeded to administer a fake polygraph test, and then told the suspect that he had failed the test. The suspect, of course, all the while believed the polygraph test had been for real, and admitted that he had been at the scene of the crime, though he did not confess to it.

    Keep Law Enforcement Away From Bail and Detention (none / 0) (#4)
    by bailandjail on Sun Feb 20, 2011 at 06:47:11 AM EST
    dependence on lawyers (or any other legal system beneficiary) to fix any part of the broken system is at best idiotic. uproars are heard for miles when cops lead problem solving investigations on themselves. yet, lawyers leading problem solving investigations on themselves is ok. time to eliminate the uber conflicts of interest that the legal system (lawyers) purports it can manage without need for non-system beneficiary overseers. if history has said anything, the fox guarding the hen house scheme does not work. yet today's legal system maintain that lawyers are the exception to this rule. complete utter nonsense. eliminate the audacity of arrogance now. lawyers will never achieve society respect until all conflicts of interest are truly eliminated. and with all the taxpayer money being sucked up by the legal beneficiaries, it will never ever be fixed by lawyers. plan a) no respect = uber profit. plan b) respect = demise of 75% of beneficiaries. which one of you lawyers will endeavor on plan b? thought so.

    Police no longer serve the public. (none / 0) (#5)
    by Chuck0 on Mon Feb 21, 2011 at 12:42:42 PM EST
    They only serve themselves.