Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Bail Transparency, Part II.

Here is a case in point for the need for judges to make a clear record at a bail hearing.

The young lady in this video was rude and may have even deserved her sentence for contempt of court (although I've come to believe that government officials should wear an extra thick skin when they are allowed to wield so much power). The problem is that the judge, apparently angry over her flippant attitude and possibly racist remark, first summarily doubled the financial condition of her bail from $5,000 to $10,000. Was it because the judge read some new information indicating a higher risk of flight, or was it because he was angry and wanted to punish her? It matters because increasing a monetary condition due to increased risk of flight is okay, but setting bail to punish a defendant is unconstitutional.  This is the sort of thing that goes on in courtrooms every day, and the public rarely gets to see how loosely judges sometimes act when it comes to money at bail.