I’m sure many of you are familiar with the entertainment star R Kelly. Over the years he has had his fair share of legal troubles, the worst of which center around accusations of sexual assault, sexual activity with a minor, and possession of child pornagraphy. The vast majority would certainly condemn him based on the headlines alone. Upon reading of the following article it seems there is strong evidence as well:
Fortunately for R Kelly, his fate will be determined by the Chicago judicial system and not public opinion. This will allow for due process. Our system is based on the concept of innocence until proven guilty, which means the state has to prove the accusations beyond a reasonable doubt (unless he takes a plea bargain of some type).
To truly defend himself, R Kelly must not be behind bars. The court has determined that the appropriate bond amount is $1,000,000 with a 10% Option. Interestingly enough, this is the same system the State of Connecticut is attempting to put in place through a change in the practice book rather than legislation. The proponents of this change want to keep it out of the public’s eye. I suspect this is because the previous attempts to pass these bills have failed, for good reason.
The 10% Option fails in every aspect of what it is purported to do, which is help the poor and ensure appearance. In reality, the only thing it will do is eliminate the private bail industry. This is an enormous issue considering it completely defeats the purpose of the 8th Amendment.
The Eighth Amendment of the Constitution states: ‘Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.’
The amendment is meant to safeguard Americans against excessive punishments and there is no way they intended to have the accuser (the Government) control every aspect of the defendant’s pretrial release. The clear intent was to have an unbiased third party act as the surety if the defendant chose not to post the bond themselves and a bond was deemed necessary.
Proponents of bail reform are proposing the 10% option on the premise the it will help the indigent. If they really want to help the poor, they could release them on a PTA or simply require a low bond amount if a bond is required at all. The fact is that it only helps those with means and in R Kelly’s case he can’t even afford to post the bond. Some of you may think R Kelly being incarcerated is a good thing but in reality this is not they way our system in supposed to work. If he had a surety bond option the defendant could post the bond with a bondsman that can offer payment options.
In addition to not helping the poor, the 10% option also does a poor job at ensuring appearance. A bond is supposed to motivate the individual to appear for all of their hearings. It is the surety’s job to make sure this happens. This is accomplished via civil motivations; if necessary, they will physically deliver him to court and pay the state the bond amount if the surety fails. Did I mention this surety bond will cost the taxpayer nothing? In contrast, the 10% option is administered by the state; there is no way to collect the full amount of the bond and doing so would be impossible in most cases. Plus, the cost of the failure to appears becomes the burden of the citizens as well.
The 10% option is just another attack on our civil liberties, private industry and the taxpayer. Please let your legislative representatives know that you are against bail reform.