Legal Question in Criminal Law in California

bail

what is the definition of ''Bail''

Asked on 9/27/01, 10:07 pm

2 Answers from Attorneys

Larry Rothman Larry Rothman & Associates
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Re: bail

BAIL IS MONEY THAT IS REQUIRED TO BE POSTED WITH A COURT. IF YOU DO NOT HAVE A SOURCE OF FUNDS, YOU SHOULD CONTACT A BAIL BONDSMAN

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11/17/01, 7:14 pm
Robert Miller Robert L. Miller & Associates, A Law Corporation
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Re: bail

Thanks for your posting. Bail is to ensure availability at trial.

Bail laws in the United States grew out of a long history of English statutes and policies.

In 1966 Congress enacted the first major substantive change in federal bail law since 1789. The Bail Reform Act of 1966 provides that a non-capital defendant "shall...be ordered released pending trial on his personal recognizance" or on personal bond unless the judicial officer determines that these incentives will not adequately assure his appearance at trial.xxviii In that case, the judge must select the least restrictive alternative from a list of conditions designed to guarantee appearance. That list includes restrictions on travel, execution of an appearance bond (refundable when the defendant appears), and execution of a bail bond with a sufficient number of solvent sureties. Individuals charged with a capital offense or who have been convicted and are awaiting sentencing or appeal are subject to a different standard. They are to be released unless the judicial officer has "reason to believe" that no conditions "will reasonably assure that the person will not flee or pose danger to any other person or to the community."

The 1966 Act thus created a presumption for releasing a suspect with as little burden as necessary in order to insure his appearance at trial. Appearance of the defendant for trial is the sole standard for weighing bail decision. In noncapital cases, the Act does not permit a judge to consider a suspect's dangerousness to the community. Only in capital cases or after conviction is the judge authorized to weigh threats to community safety.

This aspect of the 1966 Act drew criticism particularly in the District of Columbia where all crimes formerly fell under the regulation of Federal bail law. In a considerable number of instances, persons accused of violent crimes committed additional crimes while released on their own personal recognizance. Furthermore, these individuals were often released again on nominal bail.

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11/06/01, 8:04 pm

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