Thursday, April 6, 2017

Bail Insurance Companies Spread False and Misleading Letter

The website “U.S. Bail Reform News,” a pretty weak attempt by the insurance companies to provide slanted information on bail reform, recently put up a post about a Colorado district attorney warning Maryland about bail reform. What they left out tells you something about whether you can ever rely on that site for anything but bogus information.

The insurance companies’ ties to that particular DA’s office go back a long time. I was once in the room when five or six DA’s from that office, along with some bail insurance dudes, were trying to convince our county commissioners to de-fund our pretrial services unit. So back then, as the story goes, the DA in charge got pretty hammered by the rest of the system. He liked bail the way it was – money, money, all the time – and the rest of the system voted him down and made some changes. He was so upset – and I mean, like, upset the way a six-year-old gets – that he never forgot it. Ever since then, that particular DA’s office has done everything it can to try to “go back” to the good old days with money, bail schedules, and DA’s deciding on the amounts, and to “get back” at the people who made the changes. If I listed all the dumb things that office did when it came to getting back at everybody over the bail project, you’d want to barf. Or send them to Washington.

And all that childish pride, that incredibly irrational opposition against everything that is bail reform (including opposition to many things that would help with public safety – the DA actually once said he “didn’t believe in research” or "didn't care about the research," which was something monumentally dumb for a lawyer to say) was just the thing to get the insurance companies excited. So when Maryland came along, those companies got the current DA to write a letter with a current county commissioner and the current sheriff, saying that bail reform failed. I won’t bore you with the details, but there were only a couple things wrong with the letter: (1) it was factually incorrect; and (2) the people who signed it weren’t even around and in any position to comment on it one way or another. The two are related, I suppose. Since they weren’t around when we did stuff, they didn’t know that what they said about it was wrong. The commissioner actually testified before the Maryland legislature about a “10 County Pilot Project” in Colorado. Well, guess what? There was no such thing. It simply never happened. That’s either dumb or . . . no, it’s probably just dumb.

Anyway, a district court judge in that same jurisdiction drafted a declaration about the letter saying: (1) they were wrong; and (2) they weren’t even there. We gave that declaration to Maryland and to the people in Texas, and we continue to give it out to anyone who trots out the dumb letter.

As a side note, it may interest you to know that the bail insurance companies once requested the County to submit to them some sort of document about the bail project. You'll never see that response, though, because the County itself said the bail project was a success. Obviously, that wasn't the answer they wanted. So they went with the letter.  

This whole thing follows a trend I have written about before. The insurance companies will pay anyone to write or do anything to help them, and they really don’t care if what comes out is even true. Then they tell all the bail agents around the country to look at it like it’s some sort of victory, but they never mention the fallout from providing false information to various officials and what happens whenever I correct the record.

All this fighting by the insurance companies – all this desperate use of false information – is why judges are going to simply stop using commercial surety bonds. That’s the fallout. It won’t matter whether you leave money in or take it out. After all, look at New Jersey. All that fighting led to money being left in the mix, but judges simply aren’t using it. This is what’s going to happen around America. And it’s due to the insurance companies’ inability to tell the truth about even stupid things.

“We have a letter!”    

Big deal. We have the truth.