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Colorado Pre-Trial Concerns

Judge in black robe reviewing paperwork at desk behind wooden gavel

As you’re all aware of by now, bail bond controversies continue to accelerate nationwide. God forbid, they’re as hot as the biblical heatwave plaguing much of the United States. Pre-trial services are grabbing headlines in Colorado thanks to comments from a chief judge. If you’re a bail bond agent in Illinois, that state’s sweeping criminal justice reform is now fully in effect and it’s not good news. Finally, voters, police officials, and state lawmakers in New York are getting antsy.

Colorado Pre-Trial Concerns

Violent crimes nationwide have shot up by 30 percent in the past year, and residents in Jefferson County and communities like Englewood and Golden should take note. What happens somewhere else can happen here. There’s no consensus as to why.

As CNN reported, "Experts, politicians and pundits have provided different theories as to why, after decades of a downward trend in overall crime, certain violent crimes are on the rise in cities across the country. While many point to the pandemic and the economic collapse that followed, some have focused on more specific aspects of the criminal justice system, and in particular, some recent efforts to reform it.

“Bail reforms -- which generally focus on removing or limiting the use of cash bail against defendants who are accused of misdemeanors or nonviolent offenses -- aim at making sure most defendants are not held in jail while awaiting trial solely because they cannot afford cash bail.”

If you work for an Arapahoe County bail bonding company, you know this is part of the nationwide push to end cash bail as it’s existed for more than 100 years. In Colorado, some officials are trying to take a more thoughtful, measured approach. Some are even pushing for the enactment of new pretrial services designed to give supervision to those released on bond, reduce financial inequities in the judicial system and ensure defendants accused of crimes appear as scheduled.

The Hammer Drops in Illinois

Next to New York’s cash bail reform law taking effect, what’s happened in Illinois has garnered a lot of publicity. Being as that state is controlled by a Democratic governor, it will come as a surprise to absolutely no one who works as a bail bond agent that the provisions in Illinois are more “go for broke” on the first dice roll than anything else. Publicity hog Gov. J.B. Pritzker has gotten his wish and delivered on a campaign promise, signing into law 42 bills – including a whopping 12 to supposedly address “criminal-justice equity” which took effect on July 1.

We can agree on one thing here. Democratic-controlled governor’s offices operate on a whole other level when it comes to jail bond reform and tugging at emotions and borderline race-baiting practices. Does the current cash bail system nationwide need to be tweaked? Probably – even a bondsman will tell you that. But when you use a tragedy like the George Floyd shooting and other unfortunate events to ramrod personal agendas down people’s throats, you’re asking for trouble. And that’s what Pritzker and his warmongering flunkies have done.

According to The State Journal-Register, “The criminal-justice legislation, passed in the lame-duck session this year and during the General Assembly’s spring session, was championed by the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus.

“The caucus successfully pushed through wide-ranging legislation on criminal justice and economic, educational and health care disparities in response to the 2020 death of George Floyd at the hands of Minnesota police and other racial strife nationwide.” This, of course, includes a law that addresses pretrial interest costs in wrongful-death lawsuits.

Not everyone believes bail reform causes a rise in violent crime, but it’s up to you, as someone who may work for a bail bond company, to fully understand what’s going on.

Getting Antsy in New York?

Activists and legislators who work to kill cash bail often puff out their chests in righteousness, especially with carefully orchestrated displays of public indignation. They parade statistics about rising crime rates, economic inequality, and discrimination – often with great success. In New York, those same pushbuttons were used to enact sweeping anti-cash bail legislation, but now, some people are experiencing what consumer advocates call “buyer’s remorse.” Shocking!

In New York, bail reform legislation has done away with cash bail and pretrial detention for most offenses. A defendant's criminal past, or the knowledge that they could present a clear physical threat to someone else or to the community at large, can't be considered, fostering a system where an offender is likely returned the community, unsupervised, and free to "come into contact with their victim, the victim’s loved ones, and others.”

Yep, folks out east are starting to think twice about what the formerly bullet-proof Gov. Cuomo has pushed through in regards to cash bail reform. In one online post, it was reported that Senator Patrick M. Gallivan (R-C-I, Elma) is imploring his colleagues in New York’s Legislature to fix risky changes applied to the state’s criminal justice system, including controversial bail reform, effective as of January 1, 2020. Gallivan, a former State Trooper and Sheriff of Erie County, is planning legislation to stop the most dangerous offenders from getting released from jail and possibly committing other crimes.

“Over the past 18 months we have seen instances where dangerous individuals, including some previously convicted of violent crimes, have been released because of changes to our bail system, only to commit additional crimes and victimize our communities yet again,” Senator Gallivan said. Whether the senator develops any traction is a mystery.

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