Bail Bond Reform and Secret Sauce

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Bail Bond Reform and Secret Sauce

One of the most annoying aspects of the whole bail bonds reform discussion are accusations the industry is a huge cash cow and takes advantage of the poor and innocent! Not true. Maybe collectively the industry is killing it, but the average bondsman? Not so much. According to Bail Yes and Career Bliss, average salaries range from about $25,000 annually to a little over $55,000. Of course, just like any line of work, there is a percentage of folks who earn much more – maybe they've been at the job longer, own their own business, take on dangerous clients, who knows? We actually work to help defendants in need, and absolutely respect the confines of the law! New reform laws shouldn't have the goal of vilifying bondsmen but, rather, working to improve the system for everyone.

The Missing Sauce in Bail Bonding Reform

It’s amazing how many things are left unspoken about bail reform. It’s more than a case of he said, she said. The argument is cleverly articulated by the weekend news shows talking about:

  • Ending the bail money requirement because it’s harsh on the poor (hint: Try gainful employment rather than crime!),
  • About not "overcharging" defendants for bail (question: Has the average perpetrator invested in a criminal justice education like many bail bond professionals? No? Then they have to pay for the expertise!), and
  • Fewer incarcerations equals less over-crowding, requiring fewer tax dollars (Umm. Right! Ask taxpayers in New Jersey about the $290+ million spent on bond reform in their state in less than three years!).

Myths and mistruths abound, spinning faster than a cue ball shot by Minnesota Fats. What else is missing from bond reform discussions, from laws already enacted? Try these on for size:

  • Public safety takes a back seat. Alleged perpetrators or felonies such as robbery and burglary can walk bail-free.
  • Defendants charged with drug felonies, such as dealing with deadly narcotics like fentanyl, also get released scot-free. Another public risk!
  • Reform laws undercut public trust. What message are we sending when criminals are put back on the street without a judge ruling on the threat level?

What Do the Lawyers Say?

If a fight like this is about money – and it is! – then you can expect lawyers to inspect both sides of the coin before and after it gets flipped. No one bothered to do a proper assessment of the cost of the New Jersey reform law beforehand, and now taxpayers are burdened with a hungry black hole that’s sucked down about $290 million since 2017. To add insult to injury, Garden State officials are now grasping with the reality their whole apparently underfunded system may be out of money in the next year or so.

Taxpayers in Jefferson County, Arapahoe County, and Denver County and elsewhere in Colorado should be listening, because the 800lb Gorilla is coming for them, soon!

What are some lawyers saying about this? In an October 23, 2017 blog, Vista, California criminal defense attorney Peter M. Liss described current legislation as “not a system that works for everyone.

“But reforming the bail system isn’t an overnight process and it can be difficult to find a solution that eliminates the problems of our current system without adding new problems. The biggest risk in eliminating the bail system altogether is that some dangerous criminals may be released onto the streets again -potentially causing a threat to public safety.”

Law Enforcement is Worried, Too

Everyone in Colorado should pay attention to what happened in New York. The Empire State’s law “eliminates pretrial detention and cash bail for the vast majority of misdemeanor and non-violent felony cases. Hundreds of offenses such as stalking, grand larceny, assault as a hate crime, and second-degree manslaughter will no longer be eligible for bail or pretrial detention.”

Yes, it gets better, because Gov. Andrew Cuomo and his bleeding-heart liberal supporters did away with bail for a crap-ton of crimes, including:

  • 2nd-degree Burglary of a residence
  • 2nd-degree Burglary as a Hate Crime
  • 3rd-degree Burglary of a commercial building
  • 3rd-degree Burglary as a Hate Crime
  • 2nd-degree Robbery aided by another person
  • 2nd-degree Robbery as a Hate Crime
  • 3rd-degree Robbery
  • Criminal sale of a controlled substance (multiple counts)
  • Using a child to commit a controlled substance crime
  • Criminal possession of a controlled substance (multiple counts)
  • Criminal sale of a controlled substance in or near a school
  • Criminal injection of a controlled substance into another person
  • Criminal sale of a controlled substance to a child
  • Criminal sale of a prescription for a controlled substance by a pharmacist
  • Criminal possession or creation of Methamphetamines
  • 3rd degree Assault
  • 3rd degree Assault as a Hate Crime
  • But there’s more.


    There’s too much at stake for every American to let bail bonds reform go down without a fight. Sure, the industry has taken a hit financially but we're not starving! The issue is like a burning hot, multi-pronged grill fork ready to stab your dog. Liberal-minded supporters in New York and New Jersey have won the first round, but how do they account for the concerns of taxpayers worried now about public safety, and more tax dollars being spent on legislation (see: New Jersey) that hasn’t shown it can support itself?

    We can hear some lawyers whispering now, “Well, that sure didn’t work out as planned!” You think? Just ask victims harmed by alleged perpetrators who got to walk out of court scot-free, then allegedly committed more crimes, what they think of all this nonsense!

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