The Basics of Bail: Part 2
In my last article, I explained the different kinds of bail bonds that permit an accused to be released from jail pending trial.
The most important aspect of bail is how the court is supposed to set the type and amount of bond to assure the accused’s appearance in court.
Ohio law provides that a judge must consider the following factors in setting bail bond:
1. Nature and circumstances of the crime charged, and specifically whether the defendant used or had access to a weapon;
2.Weight of the evidence against the defendant;
3.Confirmation of the defendant’s identity;
4.Defendant’s family ties, financial resources, character, mental condition, length of residence in the community, jurisdiction of residence, record of convictions, record of court appearance or flight; and
5.Whether the defendant is on probation, a community-control sanction, parole, post-release control, parole, post-release control, bail, or under a court protection order.
When reviewing these factors, it is sometimes difficult to believe that the accused is presumed innocent until proven guilty. Factor 2 provides that the judge may consider the amount of evidence against an accused even before a trial!
But factor 2 is not the primary factor in determining bail bond, the primary factor is number 1: the more serious the crime, the higher the bail bond. The public expects high bonds for serious crimes because the public believes that the accused is guilty or they wouldn’t have been arrested in the first place. Since judges are elected, they must pay attention to public perception.
So a process that is supposed to determine how best to assure the accused’s appearance in court, takes on a presumption of guilt and punishment in advance of any finding of guilt.
It is important for a criminal defense attorney to be prepared to counteract these influences when arguing bail bonds.