In the recent political brouhaha, cashless bail and gun crimes became a sounding board for commercials and brochure points.
Now, let’s go for reality.
Believe it, or not, cashless bail makes sense, but with numerous clarifications and changes.
Cashless bail actually reduces the costs for housing defendants, especially for non-violent crimes and the less fortunate who cannot afford bail amounts. It has been noted that some defendants in New York City sat behind bars for months and up to a year, only to have been found innocent. Incarceration can lead to job losses, family divisions and labeling, whether guilty, or innocent.
Then there are the defendants, released due to the cashless bail system that simply fail to show up for court dates, leading to massive amounts of time-wasting efforts by police.
All one has to do is read the front page story concerning three people arrested “Three face slew of charges after vehicle chase that starts in Phelps ends in Lyons”
Not only does this case scream drugs, guns and violence, but under the current cashless bail system, the three multi-repeat offenders are released back into the public.
The value of judges is usurped by taking away the very principles of the bail system. A local municipal judge usually has the knowledge of a particular crime and the defendants criminal history and penchant for showing up for court.
Then there are the news breaking flashes of violence and deaths due to guns being involved.
The gun lobbyists demand their Second Amendment rights and point out that only criminals use guns, therefore guns and being armed against potential violence and over ruling government laws are good.
Now for some suggestions to appease most, if not all questions swirling around cashless bail and gun crimes.
1. Caught with an illegal gun, ammunition clips, illegal gun modifications...Automatic one year in jail upon conviction, along with any sentences with additional charges at time of arrest.
This will make someone think about buying, possessing an illegal firearm, even without an actual shooting offense.
2. Second time offenders, a minimum for three years incarceration along with any sentences with additional charges.
3. Failure to Appear for Court
Minimum ten days in jail for first offense, 20 days for second and so on. Just watch how court appearances will improve. Currently, it is only a violation that results in perhaps hours, or an overnight stay behind bars at best. Make it a misdemeanor and stop the wasted time police use tracking down abusers.
4. Establishment for ALL municipalities to establish a Pre-trail release programs that can determine and work with judges to release defendants with strict pre-trail conditions. Wayne County has one, and it reduced not only the costs for incarceration, but allowed defendants a chance to continue with life, regardless of financial status. Allow local judges some discretion in applying bail and the possibility of pre-trail release.
5. Make gun possession throughout the U.S. uniform. Background checks, etc., would make such things as transporting guns across state lines from easy to obtain states much more difficult. Some states currently have lax gun registration, training, and the ability next obtain a gun next to ridiculous.
Believe it, or not, since the removal of making assault weapons such as the AR15 legal to buy and purchase in the 1990s, it has become the go-to weapon for mass shooting crimes. It is a useless tool in a private-owned arsenal, except for men with small penis syndrome.
6. Repeat offendes, such as professional shoplifting, domestic abuse, criminal mischief , should require bail at the discretion of a municipal judge. It is ridiculous how many times the same names and faces appear.
If someone is convicted of Petit Larceny, more that once, require a year in jail and watch how thefts and the ‘professional’ shoplifter is thwarted.
If someone violates a Court Order of Protection, lower the boom at them and watch how the current respect for the court increases. Don’t wait until the second, or third offense, or a worse scenario for the victims.