Archive for the ‘California Bail Bonds’ Category

Die Bill, Die!

Sunday, September 10th, 2017

Die Bill, Die! No silly, I’m not proposing to murder someone named William. I’m referring to California Senate Bill 10, affectionately known as SB10, which is attempting to eliminate bail and bondsman as an industry throughout the state.

Last we checked it was sent to Appropriations for further study. As of September 6, 2017, several amendments to the original bill were added and it was sent back to Appropriations. Sheesh, can’t they just let this thing die?

We’ve talked about this in past blog posts here. You only have to look at New Jersey’s current state of affairs regarding repeat criminal offenders to see the results of eliminating bail.
A New Jersey Assemblyman Bob Andrzejczak wrote an impassion letter to the members of the California assembly public safety Committee before their hearing on July 11, 2017 on SB10. It was sent to every member, describing the failure of the elimination of bail in his state. Senator Robert Hertzberg, one of the authors of SB10 advised the members of the committee to ignore the letter and that New Jersey was actually saving money under the bail elimination process (talk about fake news!).

New Jersey Judge Glenn Grant was quoted as saying “[the new system]does not eliminate the risk that
defendants will fail to appear in court or commit new crimes while out on release.

One of the supposed reasons for the bill is that bail bonds as they exist in their current form are discriminatory toward minorities. Let’s listen to the words of Rev. Jesse Lee Petersen, an African American who testified in front of the Assembly Public Safety Commission regarding the consequences of passing SB10:

“In the Assembly Public Safety Committee, the authors of Senate Bill 10 – State Senator Bob Hertzberg (D-Van Nuys) and Rob Bonta (D-Oakland) – spoke about the need to eliminate a paid bail system. While I couldn’t believe what was coming out of their mouths, I was even more disturbed by what wasn’t said.
In the “People’s House,” Hertzberg and Bonta described the arrested, charged, bailed and those sitting in jail as the victims of our society, and the rest of us law-abiding citizens as the oppressors. In their version of the world, the authors infer that the police, prosecutors and judges are intentionally limiting the freedoms of our poor minority communities. Given this faulty premise, they hold up SB 10 as some sort of heaven-sent solution, which in reality will automatically release the vast majority of those arrested for crimes back into our communities.
In “my house” we don’t have gated communities. Our windows have bars on them – not for decoration, but protection. In “my house,” crime is rampant. It is a place where people are afraid to report crimes, even when they know the perpetrator, because of the reprisal from the local gangs. In “my house,” it is a struggle just to survive.
In “my house” there are over 450 active gangs, with a combined membership of 45,000 individuals. In “my house” there are 900 rapes, 40,000 thefts, 8,200 burglaries, and 140 yearly homicide cases. “
Rev. Petersen lives in Los Angeles, but the numbers ( more about skewed/inflated numbers in a bit) are the same for many counties and cities throughout California: since the passage of Prop. 47, crime is on the rise. ” (something else we’ve talked about here) As he further points out:
“It was very clear to me that the chair and members of the committee have lost touch with the gritty reality of our communities. You can’t just read a book, article, or statistics and understand what is happening on the streets of our black and Hispanic neighborhoods. You need to live it and be around it to know the struggles are real.
Missing from Hertzberg and Bonta’s speeches were the voices of the rape victims, the burglarized, the bullied and the intimidated. They ignore the concerns of the good and decent Hispanics and black folk trying to stay safe in high-crime neighborhoods. The people being released from jail won’t be going back into Hertzberg and Bonta’s neighborhoods, they will be returning to “my house.”

SB 10 was approved by the committee, because in the “People’s House,” our jails are filled with poor people who are only victims. Yet in “my house,” the communities are filled with people who commit crimes, who then get out of incarceration and then threaten the already frayed fabric of our inner cities.

SB 10 may make our detached legislators feel good. But rather than addressing true racial inequalities, including the disproportionate criminal victimization of innocent people, this misguided and simplistic measure only perpetuates hopelessness and the deterioration of minority neighborhoods in urban California.”

A study was conducted In 2012 by the ACLU for L.A County’s jail system. (The numbers in 2017 are vastly different). The study showed 87% of the Pre-Trial Arrestees in custody were due to “non-financial holds.” Only 13% are in custody because they cannot afford their bail. L.A. County Sheriff’s Custody Report released in 2016 shows less than 5% are in jail for misdemeanor low level crimes and remain in custody possibly due to inability to purchase a bail bond. As we’ve stated here on our website and in previous blog posts, Orange County Bail Bonds is always willing to work with our clients to offer the best rates available and financing if necessary where appropriate.

New Jersey’s new system determines risk assessment by a computer driven algorithm (wow, really?) which has allowed those committing serious felonies to be released into the community to commit new crimes with no guarantee that they will even show up for their court appearances.

Below is a list of names and phone numbers of committee members. If your public safety is a concern for yourself and your families, we encourage you to call and make your concerns known. They may not want to acknowledge it, but they are your public servants, elected to represent your best interests.
ASSEMBLY APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE MEMBERS
Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher (Chair) (916) 319-2080
Frank Bigelow (916) 319-2005
Richard Bloom (916) 319-2050
Raul Bocanegra (916) 319-2039
Rob Bonta (916) 319-2018
William P. Brough (916) 319-2073
Ian C. Calderon (916) 319-2057
Ed Chau (916) 319-2049
Susan Talamantes Eggman (916) 319-2013
Vince Fong (916) 319-2034
Laura Friedman (916) 319-2043
James Gallagher (916) 319-2003
Eduardo Garcia (916) 319-2056
Adam C. Gray (916) 319-2021
Al Muratsuchi (916) 319-2066
Jay Obernolte (916) 319-2033
Eloise Gomez Reyes (916) 319-2047

Proposition 47 Votes in Unexpected Trouble

Saturday, July 4th, 2015

California’s Proposition 47 was hailed as a fix for the state’s burdened criminal justice system before its passage in November. Only a few months later, it’s looking like the proposition is in need of repair itself.

Its passage was supposed to decriminalize the least serious offenses and reduce the state’s crowded prison populations. Law enforcement fears that holes in the system would develop appear to be coming true, and state lawmakers are already proposing changes.

According to Ballotpedia, an online almanac of U.S. politics, some provisions continue to draw criticism in the California Legislature. Several bills were introduced to amend Proposition 47, also known as the Reduced Penalties for Some Crimes Initiative. If any of these bills are passed and signed by the governor, some of the changes may have to go on a voter ballot.

Some proposed changes include:

Senate Bill 333 and Assembly Bill 46 would allow felony charges to be filed against suspects accused of having certain “date-rape drugs.” Proposition 47 reduced the personal use of most illegal drugs to misdemeanors.

Assembly Bill 390 would require persons convicted of specified misdemeanors to provide DNA samples. California law requires only individuals convicted of felonies to provide DNA samples. Proposition 47 reduced a number of felonies to misdemeanors.

Assembly Bill 150 would make stealing a gun a felony crime. Proposition 47 made stealing an item that is valued at less than $950 a misdemeanor. Stealing a gun valued at less than $950 would be a misdemeanor.

Assembly Bill 1104 would allow search warrants for misdemeanor crimes that were previously classified as felonies before Proposition 47’s passage.

 

On April 14, Assembly Bill 46 cleared the Assembly Public Safety committee on a bipartisan vote. The bill addresses the problem created by Proposition 47 which significantly reduced the penalty for being in possession of Rohypnol, GHB and ketamine — three drugs commonly known as “date rape drugs.” AB 46 will impose a felony crime for possession of date rape drugs with intent to commit sexual assault. Because the bill does not directly change Proposition 47, it does not need voter approval to become law.

Ballotpedia reports that immediately following Proposition 47’s approval, inmate populations in prisons began to fall across California. In Los Angeles, which has the country’s largest jail system, the inmate population fell from 18,601 in November to 17,285 in January. According to Jody Sharp, a commander with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, narcotics arrest fell one-third and bookings fell by a quarter in January relative to the previous year.

Mixed reviews, though, have been pouring in. Garrick Byers, President of the California Public Defenders Association, views Proposition 47 as working. He said, “It reduced the punishment for many crimes from an excessive punishment to a punishment that’s more in line with what the crime is.”

Others view Proposition 47 as being short-sighted. Los Angeles City Councilman and former LAPD chief Bernard Parks noted that while drug-related arrests fell, thefts and residential burglaries rose. He said, “But what they failed to consider is that people who are using drugs are also committing other crimes. How do they stay heroin users? How do they support their habit? … People don’t want to understand that I can’t be a crack addict and have a profession. Nobody’s giving me drugs. I rob and burglarize and steal.”

Fox News reports Los Angeles County has seen a spike in crime since its November passage. Compared with the same three-month period a year ago, auto theft is up 20 percent, felonies up 16 percent, misdemeanors up 27 percent and homicides up 18 percent.

Proposition 47 passed by a 60 percent to 40 percent margin. That wide margin showed Californians wanted change in the overburdened criminal justice system. However, the change is definitely turning out to be much less than the cure-all it was envisioned to be.

Commercial Bail Bonds is Part of the Solution to Overcrowding in Prisons

Thursday, January 23rd, 2014

Prisons are a burden to the taxpayer and strain both state and county resources; this is a well known fact and agreed by all stakeholders. Yet the system as it stands seeks to increase the cost to taxpayers with additional programs and more mandates from the very system that has caused the problem in the first place by placing emphasis on incarceration.

The increase in the number of overcrowded prisons has become a subject of alarm more so because of the contentious issues as how to effectively rectify the situation. The debate has been raging on which of the two options available is the better option. The two options are sometimes represented as Bail Bonds versus a Pre Trial government run system throughout the state. The pre trial system is not a new practice in California; it has been practiced with effective results as far as reducing prison numbers is concerned in San Francisco for some years now.

Many advocates for pre trial place the blame of overcrowding in prisons to the Commercial Bail Bonds industry. The reasoning promoted is that the bail system only works for the rich and many who cannot afford bail end up in prison waiting for trial. However, this is a narrow view of the debate and focusing on the wrong issues related to the cause of overcrowding and security of taxpaying citizens. The focus should be on guaranteeing the attendance of the accused person to trial and preserving public safety. In this regard the use of commercial Bail Bonds is more effective and successful.

The commercial vested interest the accused and relatives have makes them more accountable over any check the pre trial release can offer. Besides, it offers substantial standards; the more serious the crime the higher the bond. Studies with varying degrees have proved that the bail bonds are more successful at getting accused persons appear in court. The monetary incentive is both for the bondsman and the accused person. The bail company has resources and motivation to ensure their client appears in court.

This is not to say there is no place or instances where pre-trial release can work effectively. On the contrary, when it comes to situations where the accused persons really require special assistance like rehabilitation then a pre trial release is more effective and relevant. However, many individuals who can take care of themselves on their own or through family and friends should be held accountable for crimes they are accused of. The focus should not be on the bed space available in jail and how fast people get release but rather on mechanisms that ensure appearance to court and public safety.

Bail Bond Agents Available To Help

Thursday, December 13th, 2012

Ever have someone who was at the wrong place at the wrong time?  Do you have a loved one who is in jail, and you don’t know what to do?  A Bail Bonds company can help you in more ways than one. We’ll go over what they do, how they help and what you need to know before you use a bail bondsman.

A bail bonds agent is a person who puts forth the money to bail a person out of jail.  Bail bonds as a business started in America in 1898 by Peter McDonough and his brother Tom in San Francisco.  When dealing with a bail bonds agent, there is always a contract to go over and sign. A person will want to make sure they fully read and understand this agreement before signing it. Once it is signed there is no backing out and is held fully responsible for keeping up their end of the contract. A licensed bail bonds agent has a contract with the local courthouse. This allows them to bail or release a person from police custody when the bail that is set by the court is posted by the bail agent.  In this agreement with the bail bond agent, the person agrees to show on all of their dates in court.  Bail is set and paid as a guarantee that will occur and if not the money is forfeited to the court.

When starting the contract with the bail bonds agent, the person signing is required to put down an initial payment to get it started. Normally this requires 10% down depending on the bail bonds company the person is working with. This down payment can be in cash, assets like property or vehicles or some of both to meet the down payment. This is the one thing that is required before the bail bonds company will bail the person out.

There are a few reminders when dealing with this type of company. If the person who is bailed out of jail does not show for court, the bail bonds company will take two different actions. The first they will come after that person and put them back in jail. If they cannot find this person, they will go and take all the money required for bailing that person out from the collateral provided in the agreement, including any property that was put up when the contract was signed. This means that they can take your home as payment, your vehicle and lots more. If a person does this, they need to make sure the person bailed out stays on top of everything and never misses a court date; otherwise it can hurt you more than them.

Bail Bonds is the Answer to California’s AB 109 Jail Overccrowding

Sunday, December 18th, 2011

On October 1, 2011, California’s new realignment plan Assembly Bill 109 or AB 109 took effect, beginning a transfer of more than 30,000 state inmates to local county jails and  supervision.  The idea is that shifting prisoners from overcrowded California state prisons will save money, however the effect of this change will lead to jail overcrowding and increase the costs of local law enforcement already stretched too thin.  According to an LA Times story on Nov. 11, Los Angeles County’s jails could run out of space as early as the next month due to realignment

Despite these added responsibilities, counties have not been guaranteed long-term funding for the Realignment Plan. In fact, existing monies will run out in June but this fact does not relieve them of their new obligation to house and monitor these new felons.  The private bail industry has been a valuable part of the criminal justice system for more than 100 years — guaranteeing that defendants released from jail show up at their required court dates to ensure that justice is served, and doing so at no cost to taxpayers.  Bail can and does help relieve jail overcrowding. Surety bail preserves constitutional rights, and doesn’t pass the cost onto California taxpayers.

Compared with other alternatives being considered to deal with jail overcrowding, including GPS tracking and released on own recognizance, surety bail is more cost effective because it can save counties millions of dollars every year on the high cost of managing, tracking and apprehending fugitives.  Bail provides financial accountability for the defendants and helps build a support network by requiring friends and family members to co-sign and put up collateral for the bond.  Studies show that defendants released on bail are more likely to appear in court and less likely to commit crimes while awaiting trial.

Faced with limited funding and the need for increased offender accountability, bail offers a viable solution as a proven, tested, cost-effective tool that protects taxpayers and public safety.

Bounty Hunting, Bail Bondsman and California State Law

Sunday, April 3rd, 2011

Bounty hunting or what is referred by the legal system as “fugitive recovery services” is a term that now evokes images of the wild-west or the likes of “Dog” the Bounty Hunter made popular by the television series on bounty hunting. This semi-fictional character which portends to be reality TV, gives the industry a bad name. If Bounty Hunters were like “Dog”, California bondsman would all be sued for civil rights violations.  The fact is that bounty hunting is very much a part of the American system of justice today.

In the US, bounty hunting is rooted in the bail bonds process.  If the terms of bail are broken, a bail agent is authorized to find and return the defendant to police custody, hence the need for bounty hunting.  A bail bondsman can do their own bounty hunting or contract with an individual or company that is licensed to provide bounty hunting services.

In September 1999, California enacted law A 243 regulating bounty hunters, termed “bail fugitive recovery persons” in the statute. This law added section 1299 to the California Penal Code. The bail fugitive recovery person is defined as one who has written authorization by a bail agent contracted to investigate, monitor, locate, and arrest a bail fugitive for surrender to appropriate authorities, or any person employed to assist in the arrest of such a fugitive.  Certification for fugitive recovery was granted only to those who could demonstrate knowledge of state laws and can pass a background check could work as bounty hunters.

Unfortunately, CPC 1299 had a sunset clause and the California State Legislature allowed it to lapse. California no longer has control over the bounty hunters and the bail industry is in an uproar over this. The legitimate bail agencies want to see restrictions and rules governing bounty hunters. The bail bonds industry in California is imploring the state legislature to re-enact CPC 1299; for the protection of public safety and common sense.