Monday, April 24, 2017

The Anecdotes Fall Apart Quicky

The bail insurance companies think they're fooling people with anecdotal stories about "failures" surrounding bail reform in New Jersey. They're not. Just check out this opinion piece posted in that state yesterday.

In fact, they don't even realize that past iterations of bail insurance company lobbyists already tried the anecdotal route and failed.

When I first got started in bail reform, and when all we had fighting us were a few unripened district attorneys in short pants and, of course, national bail insurance company lobbyists, they only used anecdotes. That was their main strategy, and it worked horribly. Look at where we are now.

As the opinion piece says, "What we don't want . . . is a political mad dash to change this reform, based on anecdotes."

I know it's tempting to use anecdotes. It's sort of human nature. But realize this. Even if you do, the laws, policies, and practices that you create based on anecdotes simply won't hold up legally. If I'm an appellate court, and I'm trying to gauge a legislature's justification for a new bail law, it's not going to fly for that legislature to say, "Well, we had this one particular guy who sawed off his GPS and . . . "

So, the strategy of the bail insurance companies appears to be "fight everything," even if it kills their own bail agents, and "use anecdotal scary stories to try to fool people while you fight," even if that didn't work ten years before and even if it'll lead to laws being struck in the future.

I don't know, bail agents, seems like these guys haven't learned anything in ten years. Maybe it's time for a change.