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To think that cash bail (usa) is just another example of inequality?

(22 Posts)
choccywoccywoowah Fri 10-Jul-15 07:00:33

Poor person commits crime. Bail is set at say $5000. Cant afford to pay so languishes in jail untill trial.

Rich person commits same crime but can afford to pay so is out with family and home comforts untill trial.

Is this how it works?

Does financial equality as blatant as this have any place in a justice system?

I'm probably being very nieve! (sp)

DeeWe Fri 10-Jul-15 07:03:04

It's called "one law for the rich and poor alike... They are both banned from sleeping under bridges and stealing bread."

FenellaFellorick Fri 10-Jul-15 07:06:44

They pay a percentage of the bail to a bail bondsman don't they? Who can then take their assets or takes insurance or something. But yes, certainly, if you or your family are wealthy, you have advantages in that as in every other aspect of life.

Seriouslyffs Fri 10-Jul-15 07:07:41

Meh.
There is so much wrong with the criminal justice system in America and ours, although much better, has just introduced this: here

MannUp Fri 10-Jul-15 07:08:17

John Oliver did a fantastic piece on the on Last Week Tonight - shocking how they use bail as a racist weapon.

choccywoccywoowah Fri 10-Jul-15 07:09:55

I suppose it is like every other aspect of life, wealthy do have an advantage. But I guess I think it is sad that it exists in a justice system. Although we have it in the UK too with being able to pay for the best lawyers etc.

Teabagbeforemilk Fri 10-Jul-15 07:11:10

They don't pay it all upfront. Bail bondsmen can retrieve assets worth that amount if you disappear. Other people can also do this for you.

Also the judge can set larger or smaller bail depending on the crime and the wealth of the accused I believe.

I have seen murder suspects have multi million dollar bail and others far less.

choccywoccywoowah Fri 10-Jul-15 07:13:59

But if someone has no assets, they wont be allowed to have it on 'credit' right? Otherwise how would they reclaim the money?

Offred Fri 10-Jul-15 07:17:48

But people who don't post bail get jail time credit off their sentence so not that unequal.

Teabagbeforemilk Fri 10-Jul-15 07:20:54

But in theory the judge can look at that and set a smaller bail amount. Not that this always happens.

The fact is this an alternative to remand like we have. Where there are lots of people in prison even though they are yet to convicted.

It is unfair to some. It means they don't have to have lots of people taking up prison space before the trial but also have some security against absconding.

I wonder what the alternative could be.

Offred Fri 10-Jul-15 07:30:28

People charged with misdemeanours are generally released on condition they agree to attend all court appearances and bail for felonies is generally strictly regulated. If you are looking at a virtually certain jail sentence it's sometimes easier to get started on your sentence early and rack up jail time credits. The main inequality is being able to afford a shit hot private attorney and not have to rely on the public defenders although many of these are good DNA evidence is being used all the more in the U.S. atm and many attorneys just have no clue how to argue about it in court.

I don't like that you are allowed to ask witnesses leading questions or the shear number of private businesses who are allowed access to evidence/documents and the lack of data security laws. Plus the death penalty and the lack of mental health care/general healthcare and social housing etc

HereIAm20 Fri 10-Jul-15 08:08:02

If you don't want to do the time don't do the crime!

Penfold007 Fri 10-Jul-15 08:12:57

In the UK we also have 'cash' bail. Bail with s surety of £xxxxxxxxx is set and if a you, a friend or family member can't lodge the money with the court you are remanded in custody.

Seriouslyffs Fri 10-Jul-15 08:16:04

It's much easier to do a runner in the states. IMO bail should only be set when a) the defendant is a flight risk and b) their freedom doesn't pose a risk. So by definition that's likely to be richer people (financial misdemeanours rather than violence)

PausingFlatly Fri 10-Jul-15 08:18:56

"But people who don't post bail get jail time credit off their sentence so not that unequal."

Only if they're actually found guilty and given a custodial sentence!

If they're found not guilty... oops, months in jail, lots job, etc etc. For nothing.

PausingFlatly Fri 10-Jul-15 08:19:17

lost job

itsonlysubterfuge Fri 10-Jul-15 08:25:40

You can just get a bailsbond man, so long as you show up to all of your court dates, you'll be fine. You still have to pay 10% of the bail, usually. Also, the bail is normally congruent with the crime. A 1st degree felony, which is the worst crime has a £100,000 minimum bail.

Also I would like to point out that in America you may not be guilty if you are in jail awaiting trial. If you did commit the crime and you are not able to make bail, normally the time you serve awaiting trial will be taken off your sentence.

choccywoccywoowah Fri 10-Jul-15 08:36:11

Well I have learnt a lot from this thread! Helpful input HereIam20. If only life was that black and white.

Also do you get money back from your bail money if you are found innocent?

Offred Fri 10-Jul-15 08:48:56

Yeah, you get the money back if you are found not guilty.

Re; spending time in county cos you can't afford bail and then being found not guilty the majority of people who make it to being charged and arraigned are actually guilty or there is at least a fair amount of evidence by that point to justify holding them.

Many charges are dropped or reduced before court, many offences that defendants could be charged with (robust evidence) are actually just brought as 404b motions (character evidence).

Like with the UK, to get to court there has to be a case to answer so again not all that unfair. It's the access to a shit hot lawyer and the power/prejudice/politicisation of the courts that's worse for equality IMO.

PausingFlatly Fri 10-Jul-15 08:49:01

Sadly I actually did learn something from this thread.

For those who didn't click seriouslyffs's link, Grayling has just introduced a new charge on people found guilty (not a fine or victim's compensation), which is not means-tested and goes up to £1200 depending what they've been accused of.

But if they plead guilty without trial, they'll be charged less.

A government assessment suggested that by 2020 the system could raise £135m annually after costs, but it warned that by then the court service would be owed £1bn in unpaid fees.
...
Justin Rivett, a solicitor with Warren's Law and Advocacy, said the charges could result in innocent people pleading guilty in order to pay lower charges than if a court found them guilty.

Offred Fri 10-Jul-15 08:52:01

And what I find amusing is the whole crossing of state lines thing. Much easier to get away with a crime/run away with the state/federal system, the wilderness and the border with Mexico!!!

Prison escape stories make me laugh too. People escaping from state pen by cutting through the wire fence when the prison guards aren't looking!

Andrewofgg Fri 10-Jul-15 09:48:48

Very few defendants are asked to find sureties in the UK although it tends to be high profile cases when it happens so we hear about it such as Assange.

As for the court user charge it will create good headlines and bad debts!

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