Wednesday, June 20, 2012

N.C. Republicans bail on bad jail bill

A bill that would weaken Pretrial Services programs in more than 30 counties, including Mecklenburg, has been withdrawn from the N.C. House calendar and shoved back to committee, where bills often go to die.

That's a deserving fate for SB756, which would prevent Pretrial Services from interviewing defendants and gathering critical information for 48 hours. Police chiefs spoke up against it. District attorneys did, too. But thanks to House Republicans' slavish deference to business interests - in this case, bail bondsmen - the bill had made it out of committee on a party-line vote.

SB756 would have been bad for communities, because judges would have been prevented from receiving the valuable assessments of Pretrial Services, which gave guidance not only on releasing or lowering bail for low-risk defendants, but raising it for dangerous defendants.

The bill also would have been bad for defendants in minor crimes, who would've had to sit in jail for 48 hours if they couldn't afford bail - or if bail bondsmen didn't want to take on their minor and not-very-profitable cases. That would've been bad for taxpayers, who would've had to pay for the cost of those unnecessary stints in jail.

The only group that benefited from the bill? The bail bondsmen who lobbied for it, because bail agents would've done more business when defendants and their families felt compelled to use their services.

That wasn't nearly enough reason to let this bill even reach the House floor. We're glad at least some Republicans abandoned the party line and did what was best for all of us.

Peter St. Onge

7 comments:

Ghoul said...

I wonder who Jim Black's bailbondsman was?

copdsux said...

That was certainly an intelligent comment on this article, Ghoul. Mr. Black has served his time and been returned to society, to live out his days. Your words were uncalled for.

StPatrick said...

We all have bias’s that can occlude our reasoning. Your comment, “But thanks to House Republicans' slavish deference to business interests” struck as evidence of one of yours.
Would you write that House Democrats exhibit slavish deference for any new government social programs? In fact, I wonder what prompted your use of the term “slavish” at all. Slavery and other forms of Indentured Servitude seems always bound reincarnate the darker angels of our nature. Rhetoric is compelling in print as action is in film but at what civil cost do you choose it?

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Elizabeth Sperry said...

Ya i agree with your points, bill also would have been bad for defendants in minor crimes, who would've had to sit in jail for 48 hours if they couldn't afford bail - or if bail bondsmen didn't want to take on their profitable cases. Bail Bonds Raleigh


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Harry Salvin said...

We're glad at least some Republicans abandoned the party line and it was best for all of us.
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