Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Bail Bondsmen Response to Proposed NY Reform

Here is a typical statement by commercial bail bondsmen when it comes to rational measures toward bail reform. “Catastrophic.” Really? Four states have completely eliminated bondsmen, and I don’t read about any catastrophes there. Washington DC does not use commercial bail bondsmen, and its pretrial court appearance rates and public safety rates are high.     


Notice that bondsmen say that “they bring important benefits for society,” but they give no specifics on what, exactly, those benefits are. Perhaps the answer lies in the first statement: “We strive for personal profit.”


So there you go. We all benefit from bondsmen striving to make more money. I’m sure if, given the time, there might be some macro-economic rationale equating personal profit with some yet-to-be defined societal benefits, but maybe not. Maybe, instead, we have been right as a nation that for 100 years has called for removing profit from bail. Since America has allowed persons to profit off of the misfortunes of defendants, we have become a nation with a pretrial detention rate that is three times the world average.  




Bondsmen Pan Bail Overhaul Plan
Wednesday, February 06, 2013
A proposal by New York's top judge to make big changes to the bail bonds system for criminal defendants is getting bad reviews from the bail industry.
Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman said in his annual State of the Judiciary speech Tuesday that judges should order supervised monitoring for nonviolent offenders, when possible. And when bail is required, Lippman wants not-for-profits to replace for profit lenders.
George Zouvelos, president of the New York Professional Bail Bondsmen and Agents, said his members will fight the proposals.
“We strive for personal profit,” Zouvelos said. “The professional bail bondsman brings important benefits for society. Changing the effective system of the status quo would be not only a mistake but catastrophic.”
Zouvelos said criminal defendants are often treated badly in the overburdened courts system, but the bail bonds industry is not the problem.
He also denied Lippman’s claim that the bail bonds industry fails to meet the needs of low-income New Yorkers who are unable to meet even low bail requirements.
“I do $1,000 bonds and $750 bonds by the ton,” Zouvelos said.
There are thought to be about 70 active bail bondsmen in the state.