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Articles Tagged with bail

According to a recent opinion piece by the Daily Mail, “woke” bail reform is putting murderers back on the streets of Chicago. This is not strictly true. In 2020, when the jails and prisons were overcrowded with suspects awaiting charges, it became more routine to release individuals on ankle monitors. However, it is true that reforms in the way we do bail are impacting how it functions and who qualifies.

To be sure, Illinois is not woke when it comes to bail reform. Some states have moved to do away with the cash bail system, and we will get into their reasons why below. However, Illinois is not one of them so the idea that Chicago is putting murderers out on the streets at a greater rate than say, New York or Los Angeles is false. One of the reasons why Chicago takes it on the chin when it comes to these sorts of accusations is that we have a large Black population, a history of political corruption, and a reputation for organized crime. However, we are no more woke than, say, Birmingham, AL when it comes to our bail system. 

COVID releases, overcrowding, and ankle monitors

Over the last year and a half (during the COVID pandemic) there has been a 30% increase in the use of ankle monitors to keep track of criminal defendants. The issue was related to the COVID pandemic and the ability of the prisons to keep prisoners safe from the infection. Prisons and jails tend to be rife with infections, and keeping infections at bay can be costly and difficult. Meanwhile, counties and prisons are responsible for inmates and can be held liable for failing to ensure their health and safety. 

During the pandemic, Cook County opted to place more individuals on ankle bracelets than keep them in holding centers. Many have been on ankle monitors for over a year while awaiting something to happen. Part of the problem is that those released on ankle monitors have already paid hefty bail prices meaning that they will be taxed doubly for the same crime. It is not surprising that the majority of those facing this problem are Black. However, a growing number of defendants on ankle monitors are also accused of violent crimes, occasionally murder. This ensures that no matter what side of the aisle you fall on, you can recognize the inherent shortcomings in this process.

Ankle Monitors, House Arrest, and County Jails

There has been a great deal of discussion recently over the role bail plays in American society. Political pundits who are rallying against bail reform cite instances of re-offense while the suspect is awaiting charges for another crime. Political pundits in favor of bail reform argue that the system is patently unfair and individuals charged with nonviolent crimes rot in jail for a year while the wheels of justice slowly turn.

Now, one charity is being scrutinized by the media after providing bail to inmates who then turned around and offended again.

Habitual Criminal Activity

benjamin-faust-XLxhM6UH4pA-unsplash-300x225Cook County optometrist, 55-year-old Anthony Prate, has been given a $3 million bond by judge Goebel. The decision to place a $3M bond on Prate comes after the implementation of Rule 26, which is designed to release more low-risk suspects who have been accused of crimes and decrease the jail population. However, since Prate has been accused of murder, the judge has a right to either set bond or deny a release entirely. In this case, the judge has decided to set bond at a very large number. 

Prate has been charged with stabbing his girlfriend to death. The judge required Prate to pay 10% or $300,000 of the bond amount. He will wear an ankle monitor while he is released and live with his mother during the duration of his release. Prate was also ordered to surrender his passport and any firearms he owns. 

The defense argued that Prate is not a flight risk, has no prior criminal record, and posed no threat to the general public including any witnesses who may testify at his trial. The judge agreed that there was no legal way that he could deny bail in this case. Prosecutors, of course, took umbrage with the idea that Prate was not a risk, calling him “extremely dangerous.” 

nicolas-barbier-garreau-256433-copy-300x240The cash bail system has drawn flak from all quarters for many decades. The system’s insensitive handling of people with criminal charges needs proper revision. The instance of Lavette Mayes is a telling example. Mayes could not pay the huge bail amount that the judge charged her with. Only with the help of her defense attorney and a local bail funding organization, Mayes managed to free herself from custody.

Benefits of Chicago Bail Law Reforms

The Illinois bail reform passed in 2017 is a big boon to residents of the state. According to the reform bill, cash for bail will not be necessary anymore. Most of the inmates languishing in the state prisons are there because they cannot pay bail. With the reform, you need not spend time in jail for nonviolent or misdemeanor charges, or some low-grade felonies.

Gallaecia_petrea_02-57c-200x300Many people can not afford to post bail when they are arrested. This has caused a lot of Illinois prisons to be overcrowded. Legislators in Chicago has taken several measures to try to lower the cost of bail.

This summer, the Governor Rauner signed legislation allowing bail relief to non-violent offenders at a local Chicago Baptist Institute. This will create the opportunity for those who are detained for low-level crimes to pay a lower fee to be released. The Governor believes that this is “an important step in improving our state’s criminal justice system. Our system must work equally for all our residents, in every community, regardless of their income,” Rauner said. “We should be focused on putting people in jobs, not jail.”

Knowing When and How to Post Bail

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The Chicago Tribune reports that a Chicago man is currently being held at the Skokie courthouse jail with bail set at $250,000 for allegedly Tasering a 79-year old woman during an attempted robbery. The man is charged with aggravated battery and attempted robbery after supposedly attacking the elderly woman while she was sitting in her car. The man’s public defender has released a statement indicating that the defendant does not have enough money to post bail. Therefore, he will remain in jail at least until his preliminary hearing which is currently scheduled for September 8th. But why did the court decide to set this man’s bail at $250,000? What factors does a court take into consideration when setting bail? This article provides a brief overview of what bail is and how it is set in Illinois.

What is Bail?

Simply put, bail is the amount of money that a court requires in exchange for releasing an accused criminal defendant from custody while he or she awaits a day in court. Money paid as bail is refundable and is returned to the defendant after he or she appears for the court date and satisfies any other conditions of bail. However, if the defendant skips town or does not appear in court for some reason then that bail is forfeited. The idea is that defendants who have posted a seizable bail will be strongly incentivized to show up at court for their trials.

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Bail is a monetary pledge (a bond) telling the court, that if the court will authorize your release, you promise to abide by any conditions the court demands, and to appear at all hearing dates going forward, including trial. By posting this bond, you are agreeing that should you fail to abide by any of the court’s conditions, your bail will be forfeited, and you will be returned to jail to await your trial. That is the premise under which the court will set bail, and if paid by you or by someone on your behalf, authorize your release from jail.

Can Your Right to Bail be Denied?

When accused of a crime, placed under arrest, and locked up in jail, what are your rights? Are you entitled to be released on bail? How much bail can the courts impose for your release?

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You have been arrested. You do not have a “get out of jail” free card, so what do you do? If you are accused of a crime and arrested in Chicago, the first thing you will want to do is call your attorney. The very next thing you will want to do is find out if you are eligible for bail. But what is the process?

The Illinois State Legislature does permit an accused to be released on bond, however, unlike most other states, Illinois does not permit private bail bond companies to operate anywhere in the state. The bail bond must be obtained from a state- or county-run agency.

After bail is set, an accused may obtain a bond by paying the full amount of the bail in cash (a “C” bond), paying a percentage of the bail (a “D” bond which is usually 10% of the total amount of the bail), or providing collateral (i.e., a lien on real estate) before he or she can be released. The deposit for the bond will be returned to the accused after he or she appears in court, or if real estate was used as collateral, the lien placed on the real estate will be removed. IllinoisCourts.gov

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Bail violations are violations of the terms of your release from prison while you are awaiting trial. There can be many conditions imposed as part of your bond, and a violation of any one of them can result in serious criminal penalties, including being sent or returned to prison.

What is a Bond Violation?

If you have ever seen a modern “cop” drama on television, you are aware of the concept of bond, or bail. After you are arrested, in most cases you can give the state of Illinois some amount of money to hold as a type of collateral, or insurance, to ensure that you will appear for your court date, or comply with other conditions while you await trial.  If you follow all of the conditions of your release and show up for trial, that money is refunded to you. If you break any of the conditions of your bail or fail to appear for your trial, you could not only forfeit the bail money, but you could face even more criminal charges than you are already facing.

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