Denial of Bail

2022-01-27 – Today’s post is just food for thought. It needs some research. So it’s just a question.

Here is a story about a January 6 rioter who is being held in custody because a judge found that he poses a danger if released. I’m not writing today about the crime that this guy is accused of. But I find it interesting that he is not being released pending his trial.

Has anyone compiled stats on this? How common is it for an accused not to be released pending trial. Are the January 6 defendants more likely to be denied bail than other defendants? I know that their supporters would cry yes, even without these stats. If true, is it political? Or does it reflect a genuine disrespect for the law.

The irony of this situation is that people of color and other minorities are frequently held pending trial. The reason for that is that they can’t afford bail. This has been the driving force behind the effort to get bail reform.

I don’t have the expertise to talk about bail reform. But I can say that part of the problem is that courts take so long to hear cases. So we have people sitting in jails before any determination has been made about their guilt—other than probable cause to arrest them. What happens to their lives—if they are innocent?

We assign so many problems to the courts, but we apparently have no interest in staffing the courts sufficiently to handle all the work. We appropriate more and more money to intake (that is, to the police) and let the courts struggle with the fallout.

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