All Articles Tagged "bail"

“There Are Real Criminals In There”: Man Jailed For Minor Offense Raises Questions About Bail System

June 23rd, 2015 - By Kimberly Gedeon
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The U.S. justice system is massively tipped in favor of the rich. No matter how heinous the crime is, the wealthy can walk free as they await trial if they’ve got the cash for bail. Poor people don’t have the luxury of paying their way out of trouble. Shouldn’t we face the same consequences, regardless of socioeconomic status? It’s time for a change, according to Rolling Stone.

Jeff Rivera, a 23-year-old construction worker from the Bronx, got into a heated argument with his wife. During the blow-up, Rivera pounded and pushed in her screen door. Rivera was apprehended and charged with a misdemeanor and criminal mischief.

A judge set a $500 bail for Rivera, even though he has no criminal history and is not charged with a violent crime.

“There’s absolutely no reason to set bail on someone like Jeff…” said Rivera’s lawyer, Alexandra Bonacarti of New York County Defender Services. “Bail is for guaranteeing that a person appears at trial. It’s not a punishment.”

Rivera did not have the money to post bail and he was hauled off to the Manhattan Detention Complex, a place infamously known as “The Tombs.”

“I was shocked. There are real criminals in there, murderers and rapists,” Rivera said. “You’ve got to be real careful about what you say in there. One word can set somebody off.”

Rivera was in the Tombs for six days, during which he witnessed inmates get into a melee, after he was released on his own recognizance. The bail is still unpaid, the case is still open, and he is due in court in July.

RS highlighted Rivera’s story to show the impact of the bail system on citizens who don’t have the socioeconomic status to avoid jail and commit minor offenses.

“Many defendants lose jobs while they’re waiting for courts to decide their guilt or innocence. Others lose semesters of school study. In other cases, people can lose custody of children,” the story says.

But according to a recent New York Times article, some argue that the bail system is necessary because it is more effective than law enforcement in getting defendants to court.

“Bail probably is the single most reliable assurance that somebody will show up,” said Judge Steve White, president of the Alliance of California Judge.

Others say the racial and income disparities in the court system are too glaring too ignore.

Several states, including Connecticut, New York, and Arizona, are advocating to overhaul the bail system. Colorado and New Jersey recently voted on revamping the system, the NY Times said.

Do you agree or disagree with Judge White?

UPDATE: Kwame Kilpatrick Can’t Catch A Break, Judge Denies Release

March 28th, 2013 - By Ann Brown
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AP Photo/Detroit News, David Coates

AP Photo/Detroit News, David Coates

Troubles keep mounting for Kwame Kilpatrick. And now he is asking for a break—sort of. A lawyer for the former Detroit mayor is asking a federal judge to release Kilpatrick from federal prison, arguing that his client is too poor to flee.

Currently, Kilpatrick is being held at a federal prison in Milan, Mich, after being convicted on public corruption charges last week. He was found guilty by a federal jury on 24 of 30 counts for running a criminal enterprise through the mayor’s office to enrich himself, his family and friends.

According to attorney James Thomas, Kilpatrick can be trusted to remain free on bond, since he has no money left to escape. His mother, former U.S. Rep. Carolyn Cheeks-Kilpatrick, also announced she will put up her $183,000-home on LaSalle Boulevard as collateral to ensure that he shows up for sentencing, reports Detroit Free Press.

“His bank accounts, his retirement funds and other assets were liquidated to pay [restitution],” Thomas states in court documents filed Monday. “He has no funds with which to flee.”

Kilpatrick, claims the filing, has paid more than $180,000 of the $1 million in restitution owed to the City of Detroit from the text message scandal back in 2008.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office will file an official response at a later date.

Thomas also pointed out that Federal Pretrial Services recommended that Kilpatrick be released on bond, finding that “he was neither a risk of flight nor a danger to the community” and can be trusted to remain free.

“The defendant is incentivized to be with his family and make any and all necessary preparations for his incarceration,” Thomas said in the court papers. “To make an issue regarding Mr. Kilpatrick’s risk of flight is nonsensical … Mr. Kilpatrick is a person who is very well recognized due to the extreme amount of publicity before, during and after a very lengthy trial.”

Kilpatrick legal troubles have been well documents. He was convicted of racketeering, bribery, extortion, mail and wire fraud and tax charges. And his longtime contractor friend and codefendant Bobby Ferguson was convicted on nine of 11 counts for similar crimes.

Bernard Kilpatrick, Kilpatrick’s father, was found guilty on one of four counts and faces up to three years in prison for filing false taxes. Kilpatrick and Ferguson each face up to 20 years in prison writes the newspaper.

Do you think Kilpatrick should be released on bail?

UPDATE: According to the Huffington Post, a federal judge has denied a request by ex-Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick to be released on bond while he awaits sentencing. It was U.S. District Judge Nancy Edmunds who made the bond denial decision, citing Kilpatrick’s criminal record and history of problems adhering to parole conditions. Kilpatrick’s lawyer had argued that his client isn’t a flight risk or a danger to the public. He also said his client needed  to leave prison so he can receive treatment for a knee injury.

Owe Me Back Like You Owe Your Tax: Promoter Suing Nas for $10 Million Over Kidnapping

December 22nd, 2012 - By Drenna Armstrong
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Judy Eddy/

Judy Eddy/

A promoter who found himself in a bad situation is determined to hold Nas accountable for it, one way or another.

Concert promoter Patrick Alloco is suing Nas for $10 million dollars for what he believes in Nas’ role in a kidnapping and TMZ has, of course, obtained the documentation.  Not sure if you heard about this but the concert promoter was kidnapped in Angola after Nas did not show up for a concert on New Year’s Eve in December 2011 after he was paid $300,000.  Singer Jeremih was also part of the bill and didn’t show up but the assumption is that he was only paid $15,000 for his performance. The Angolan promoter that was involved, Henrique Miguel, was allegedly very upset because he put up a lot of money for Nas’ appearance and when he didn’t show up, he allegedly sent his “henchmen” out to capture Patrick until he got his money back.

Alloco and his son were held captive for 50 days – until February 2012 – when the U.S. Embassy finally stepped in and were able able to get them released (the Angolan authorities were aware of what was going on – they, in fact, held Alloco for over seven hours for questioning).

In the lawsuit filed in federal court on Friday, Alloco said he was threatened constantly and beaten during the time he was held hostage.  He also states that as a result of him being away from the states for so long and being unable to do business, he has lost his company and his home.

That is a lot of money and we already know Nas has had IRS money problems, ex-wife money problems, etc.  This case seems like it’ll be interesting (if Nas doesn’t settle out of court) because the only reason Alloco was kidnapped was because Nas didn’t show up for the show.  Now, who knows if he’ll actually get $10 million but you have to wonder if a judge would see things in his favor in some part.

What do you think? Should Nas be held somewhat responsible?

Trayvon Martin Update: Zimmerman’s Bail Set at $150,000, Parents Refuse to Meet With Him

April 20th, 2012 - By Brande Victorian
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Yesterday, Trayvon Martin’s parents, Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin, refused to meet with George Zimmerman privately as the neighborhood watchman arrested for killing their son had requested. At a press conference in Tampa, FL, the parent’s lawyer, Benjamin Crump said that the night before the shooter could possibly be granted bond, was “not the time” for Zimmerman to speak with them and he doesn’t expect that conversation to happen in the foreseeable future:

“Some crimes on their face are non-bondable offense. Second-degree murder is one of them,” Crump said. “We didn’t just demand an arrest to have George Zimmerman give the police his fingerprints and his mug shot.”

There’s no telling how the family feels now after a hearing this morning granted Zimmerman a $150,000 bail in connection with his second-degree murder charge. According to The New York Times:

“Judge Kenneth R. Lester Jr., said that Mr. Zimmerman could have no contact with Mr. Martin’s family and no access to alcohol or firearms and that his movements would be monitored electronically. Judge Lester also set a curfew that would require Mr. Zimmerman to remain at home from 7 p.m. until 6 a.m. and require him to check in with the authorities every three days”

Zimmerman will not be released from jail until the proper security measures are put in place since the shooter has received death threats and his family members testified that they would assume responsibility for his whereabouts when he is released from jail. Trayvon’s parents didn’t show much emotion in court and left shortly before the hearing ended. Zimmerman apparently didn’t have much reaction to the news either and he offered this apology to Trayvon’s parents early in the hearing:

“I wanted to say I am sorry for the loss of your son. I did not know how old he was. I thought he was a little bit younger than I am. I did not know if he was armed or not.”

Whether Trayvon was 17 or 27 doesn’t justify the killing.

What do you think about Zimmerman’s bail?

Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.

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Drug Dealer Allegedly Uses Welfare EBT Card to Post Bail

April 12th, 2012 - By MN Editor
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For the folks that are abusing the system … STOP IT!

There are so many people starving and homeless in America that really need the help from social programs funded by the federal and state governments and even more Republicans ready to cut all programs for the actions of a few.

All they need is excuses like folks using the money on their EBT cards to buy drugs and cigarettes. But, one dude takes it even further than that.

For the complete story, visit


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For Poor, Bail System Can Be an Obstacle to Freedom

January 10th, 2011 - By TheEditor
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(New York Times) — Before George Zouvelos agrees to post someone’s bail, a customer must put up cash, sign a 20-page contract and initial 86 separate paragraphs.  Those paragraphs are chock-full of fees: $250 if the defendant misses a weekly check-in; as much as $375 an hour for obscure tasks like bail consulting and research; and unspecified amounts if Mr. Zouvelos, a bail bondsman based in Manhattan, farms out tasks like obtaining court documents or delivering release papers to jail.  Then there are the thousands of dollars that Mr. Zouvelos can charge if he decides to revoke a bond and return a defendant to jail, as he did 89 times during a four-month period last year.

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