pretrial release programs

Text messaging defendant court date notifications: A great practice that makes a lot of sense – when it it’s done by private bail agents rather than inept, unaccountable government workers.

The vocal advocates of publicly-funded “free” pretrial release programs have a continuing problem. Large numbers of their clients commit new crimes when released through these programs. More importantly, large numbers of their clients fail to appear in court. Judges, prosecutors and victims of crimes don’t like it when this happens. One option, of course, would be to release accused criminals on secured, monetary bail. When a defendant is released through a private bail agent, there is a tangible financial incentive for the released defendant to do the right thing. The bail agent pays a substantial penalty if they fail to produce his or her defendant in court. To protect this guarantee the bail agent almost invariably enrolls friends and family members to secure the bail bond.

The “no money bail” zealots, however, are adamantly opposed to anyone having skin in the game. They don’t think that anyone should be held financially accountable for the appearance of an accused defendant released pretrial. So in order to solve the problem of unacceptable failure to appear rates, they are now suggesting that simply texting court date reminders will be sufficient to guarantee court appearance.

It is laughable that the hundreds of thousands of fugitives across the country would willingly appear for trial if only they had gotten a friendly text reminding them of their court date.

Further, sending text messages to defendants out on bail is something that many private bail agents have been doing for years. They routinely send reminders and notices to not only the defendant but also friends, family members and employers who have signed on the bond.

One agent, Kahlil Welsh of Orlando, Florida uses text messaging for his own clients. Seeing what an effective tool is it, he founded a company that automates the process and makes it available to other bail agents. You can check out his outstanding mobile messaging platform for bail agents at his ecourtdate website.

According to Kahlil:

“The system is currently in beta testing for a re-launch this year with new features and improved reminders. And if I may recap, text message and email reminders are by no means a fix all solution to defendants failing to appear. It simply acts as an aid to the savvy bondsman who’s seeking to improve customer service and reduce the failure to appear rates caused by forgetful minds. Effectively ensuring a defendants appearance at court will always be a “boots on the ground” hands on effort, best performed by The Private Surety Bail Agent. It is my professional opinion as a 20 year veteran of the bail industry that simply sending  a text, or email to a defendant who has intentionally failed to appear, will not surpass the wealth of resources and the National reach of the local Bail Bondsman.”

Thank you, Kahlil! We couldn’t agree more.

Newsflash: “Money Bail fails to solve Climate Change!”

It would laughable if the stakes weren’t so high and the subject matter not so tragic.

According to their website, the Pretrial Justice Institute’s core purpose is “to advance safe, fair, and effective juvenile and adult pretrial justice practices and policies that honor and protect all people.” They are certainly not interested in protecting or honoring the approximately 17,000 hard-working private bail agents who make a living by assuring that accused defendants actually appear in court.

That said, the actual mission of this outfit is advocacy for the elimination of any and all monetary terms of pretrial release. They want to end what they refer to as “money bail.” (You and I call this secured accountable, pretrial release.) PJI attempts to “educate” policy makers and criminal justice stakeholders through the use of flawed studies, false premises, bad data and poorly disguised propaganda. They routinely disregard any academic studies whose conclusions are inconsistent with their core belief that the use of “money bail” to assure a defendant’s appearance in court is inherently wrong.

The Honorable Chief Judge Craig DeArmond In Danville, Illinois recently wrote an excellent essay, “Bail Reform – Is there another side to this argument?

His article is well worth distributing to the judges, politicians and policy makers in your jurisdiction. Chief DeArmond writes:

“Was I the only one who felt like we were being asked …, no, told we had to drink the Kool-Aid of no money bail reform or face eternal damnation?”

“What I found was the people so vehemently advocating this massive change in the bail system have been doing so under different names and different umbrellas for several decades. What they have in common is a progressive agenda being marketed as “evidence based practices”; the current buzzword in social engineering. Frequently funded by progressive philanthropists like George Soros and others, these groups have a much broader agenda than merely bail reform.

Don’t get me wrong… although I don’t personally agree with George Soros and his world view, nor will I ever be mistaken for a progressive, I have no problem with the fact that they are able to express their views. I take issue however, when we are given bad data, outdated studies, and recycled propaganda in the form of “judicial education” and being told essentially, there is no other perspective.

It does not take long when you start researching bail reform to find alternative positions, studies, and evaluations of the same data which produce dramatically different conclusions. It takes even less time to find jurisdictions which tried an increased use of no money bail and eventually returned to an expanded cash bail system due to the dramatic increase in failures to appear and crimes committed while free on bail.”

This judge deserves credit for recognizing that we are being sold a bill of goods. It is also worth noting that Chief Judge Craig DeArmond presides in Illinois — one of the few jurisdictions within the United States that prohibits the use of commercial bail.

So it’s obvious that the charlatans at the “Pretrial Justice Institute” will say or do just about anything in order to advance their agenda.  However, even in this light, the most recent blog post by PJI is disingenuous, shameless and disgusting.

Cherise Fanno Burdeen — the wing-nut CEO of PJI — claims to have actually figured out what causes domestic violence and how we as a nation can solve this horrific problem.

Even though domestic violence has been on a steady decline for decades, it obviously remains a horrible and heart breaking problem. In the United States an average of three women each day are murdered by intimate partners. We suffer the highest rate of domestic violence homicide of any industrialized country. Thousands of people experience domestic abuse every day. They come from all walks of life.

Cherise Fanno Burdeen, No tragedy too great to exploit.

Cherise Fanno Burdeen,
No tragedy too great to exploit.

Cherise Fanno Burdeen and the rest of the hypocrites at PJI have a solution to the complex problem of domestic violence: End money bail. Seriously. Presumably in honor of “Domestic Violence Awareness Month,” Burdeen obtained the names of four women who were each tragically murdered last year. According to this disingenuous dimwit, here is why these four women were murdered: “because of failed money bail systems.”

Unlike Burdeen, I am not going to exploit the names of these victims. The women who were murdered are real people, not props. But it is important to note that these victims were from four different jurisdictions across the United States – some of which do not even utilize secured, private bail or bail agents.

In some of the cases the accused murderers violated their conditions of pretrial release with no consequence. (In other words, the “supervised” release conditions touted by PJI). The actual facts obviously don’t matter to Ms. Burdeen or her comrades. Her concern is only for her narrative: “Money bail did nothing to protect these poor murdered women.”

Let’s be clear. Publicly funded government-run pretrial release programs don’t do anything to protect the public or victims of domestic violence. Note that PJI spotlights Washington DC as the poster-child for bail reform. The PJI website prominently proclaims that the nation’s capital is “DOING THINGS RIGHT” and “The District of Columbia does not use money to detain pretrial defendants.” Leaving aside the insane amount of tax dollars which they spend, this is the same pretrial release program that placed a GPS monitoring bracelet on a murderer’s prosthetic leg. This is the jurisdiction which allows repeat violent offenders, including rapists, to be released over and over again with no consequence.  Washington D.C. is where the Police Chief recently quit her job, saying, “The criminal justice system in this city is broken.” DOING THINGS RIGHT, indeed.

The critical distinction is that private bail agents have never laid claim to guaranteeing a defendant’s behavior – only his or her appearance in court. Burdeen’s insensitive blog piece doesn’t come right out and state the only logical option which could have actually served to prevent the four tragic murders. It is not “no money bail” as she claims. It’s no bail whatsoever.

This is the tragic irony. PJI’s advocacy invariably ends up promoting indefinite pretrial detention. Should all four of the accused defendants have each been held in jail with no bail? In hindsight, we would hope that they had been of course. But should everyone accused of domestic violence be held with no bail? Should the detention of an accused person – the deprivation of their liberty – depend on nine variables plugged into some “risk score” assessment?  PJI claims that their “core values” support pretrial detention only as the result of due process that determined no conditions would reasonably assure appearance and community safety. The same misguided folks who clamor for an end to “money bail” now advance the unintended consequence of the increased use of preventive pretrial detention. Burdeen and her cohorts have unwittingly become the most vocal proponents of “lock ’em up and throw away the key.” How else would Burdeen propose to actually protect the four murdered women whom she uses as an advertisement for her continued government funding?

Our Constitution’s prohibition against excessive bail means that we can’t keep accused defendants locked up in jail simply because they scored out wrong on a bogus “risk assessment” test.

So called “money bail” is an efficient and time honored way to secure the appearance of an accused defendant. A bail bond is a three-party contract between the state, the accused, and the surety, whereby the surety guarantees appearance of the accused. Ms. Burdeen is correct that private secured bail is not a panacea or a replacement for judges, police, and lawmakers. The prosecutors and judges who daily deal with accusations of domestic violence struggle mightily. They don’t get to blame tragic outcomes on flawed algorithms. Here are quotes from a judge and prosecutor in one of the cases which Burdeen gratuitously cites:

 “It’s not like you can just put information into a computer and spit out what the appropriate bail would be; I don’t think that would be realistic,” he said. “There are people that are charged with making that decision … looking at all the facts and all the input they get.”

The judge defended his decision, while also expressing anguish over its outcome. He said he decided to double the suggested bond from $50,000 to $100,000 based upon his experience and available court records, he told the CantonRep. And he said prosecutors did not recommend a bond amount.

“I’m not blaming anyone … but the red flags weren’t there,” he said.

At the same time, however, the judge also appeared to express remorse over the possibility that his ruling gave Dragan a second, and successful, alleged attempt to kill his ex-wife.

“I feel horrible about this situation,” he told the Canton Rep. “I sympathize with the family (and) with the children — it’s a terrible, tragic situation for the community. I feel terrible about it.”

“I think the judge made what he believed to be a good decision with the information that he had at the time and it’s always easy to look back,” the Canton prosecutor Ty Hauritz told the newspaper. “But I don’t … think (the $100,000 bond was) out of the ordinary.”

Private, secured bail works. It serves to assure the appearance of accused defendants who are released pretrial. Cherise Fanno Burdeen doesn’t like “money bail” or what we do for a living. That’s her prerogative. But it’s spectacularly insensitive to suggest that secured bail caused the deaths of the four murder victims whom she exploits in her blog. For her edification, here are a few other “Money Bond Failures”:

  • Money Bonds fails to improve the Miami Dolphin’s offensive woes
  • Money Bonds fails to balance the United States budget deficit
  • Money Bonds fails to achieve lasting peace in the Middle East
  • Money Bonds fails to spend taxpayer funds (like the $1.3 million the Pretrial Justice Institute burns through annually.)

A frog is a wonderful bird — except for the flying part

The Miami Dolphins ended another season, absent once again from the playoffs. They have been mired in mediocrity-at-best for a decade. But team owner Steven Ross, following a meaningless victory over the Patriots, has an interesting perspective. He told the assembled locker-room press that other than the actual winning football games part, the Dolphins are doing great.

“From every aspect except on the playing field we’re probably the first class organization in the National Football League”

I never thought about it this way before. If we judge the Dolphins based upon their cheerleaders or trainers, or landscapers, or things other than actually winning football games, then heck, maybe they are champions after all. Someone should let their legions of perpetually heartbroken fans know about this.

This sort of outlook sheds new light on the possibility that publicly funded pretrial release programs really are effective and worthwhile. They do many things well; except for the part about having defendants who are released pretrial actually show up for court.

For instance, these programs employ bunches of additional government workers and we all know what a great thing that is. Some of these pretrial release programs collect hundreds of gallons of urine from compliant (and presumed innocent) accused criminals. Some install electronic bracelets which helps the bracelet manufacturers and the paid electronic “monitors” who can track compliant defendants. (Non-compliant clients simply cut the bracelet off or fail to appear for the first appointment to have it put on.) These programs send out court notices to those accused criminals who are thoughtful enough to provide them with accurate addresses. They answer the phones during office hours except during lunch breaks, work breaks or paid government holidays. They have a lot of file cabinets, computers, coffee breaks, and government employee benefits.

For every aspect except actually being held accountable for the appearance of the defendant, these taxpayer funded pretrial release programs are first class organizations.

In my state of Florida, the statutes read that the terms “bail” and “bond” include any and all forms of pretrial release. So when an accused criminal is released pretrial — as most are and should be — they are released on bail. The only relevant questions are: who pays for that bail and is it truly a secured release or a figment of everyone’s imagination? Will someone actually be held accountable for the defendant’s appearance at trial?

The woman who supervises the Manatee County, Florida’s taxpayer funded “conditional release program” said, “The County does not ever post bond for anyone. That is the purpose of our program.”

For every aspect except the part about knowing what she actually does for a living, she is a winner! She goes on to say, “How are we to be held accountable for them attending court? Short of watching clients 24 hours per day, that is not possible. The bondsman don’t do that either.”

For every aspect except truthfulness, that’s a great statement!  Of course bondsman actually are held accountable. By tying up friends and family of the accused and by risking their own money, bail bond agents are indeed accountable for their defendants’ appearance in court. When their defendants fail to appear, the bail agents — on their own dime — locate, apprehend and surrender them back to the jurisdiction of the court. Failing that, they pay a substantial penalty to the government. When defendants are released pretrial on a taxpayer funded bail and subsequently fail to appear, we get another open felony warrant entered into the system.

And probably a government requisition form for some new office plants and urine cups.

Take a wild guess who is going to pay for New Jersey “bail reform”?

New Jersey governor “Chris” Christie makes a lot of noise about reining in government spending. But at least when it comes to “bail reform,” he is spectacularly hypocritical.

When he wasn’t bullying his opponents, Christie trudged throughout New Jersey touting his reforms. His message was simple: Lock up the bad violent criminals, even if they haven’t been convicted of anything yet. Oh, and while you are at it, just let all of the other criminals whom we think are non-violent out without having to post bail. This way, poor harmless defendants won’t have to languish in jail indefinitely. Every bondsman knows the fallacy of this poppycock. What Christie neglected to mention to voters is that he’d rather have accused criminals languish in his pal’s private halfway houses or “rehab” programs.

The “lock-up-the-scary-guys” rhetoric must have been convincing because New Jersey voters found it palatable enough to approve a Constitutional amendment, sanctioning Christie’s scheme.

New Jersey Governor Christie, hypocrite extrordinaire

New Jersey Governor Christie, hypocrite extrordinaire

This “bail reform” bill-of-goods is slated to start in 2016 and be fully implemented in 2017. Morris County now projects that will cost $5 million to pay for this unfunded mandate. New Jersey has twenty other counties

“From a policy standpoint, we think bail reform is going to work.  The cash bail system is antiquated and unfair,” said John Donnadio, executive director of the Association of Counties. But, he said, the dilemma is how counties will pay for it.

I know how they will pay for it. The taxpayers of New Jersey will get hosed. They will foot the entire bill for a plan that is destined to fail. Cops in New Jersey who arrest suspects will be encouraged to let many of them go, after simply issuing a summons to appear. Picture how this actually works. First, a police officer has probable cause to believe that a crime has occurred. Then, he or she arrests the suspect and reads them their rights. A “Live Scan Fingerprinting” machine instantly checks for holds and warrants. Finding none, the police officer uncuffs the probable criminal and says go forth and please don’t forget to appear in court for trial. What could possibly go wrong with that?

Those accused criminals who do manage to make it to jail will go through a “risk assessment process” rather than having to post private secured bail.  The pretrial release program will release accused criminals who score out as a “low” or “moderate” risk. Don’t worry about mistakenly letting out poor risks to appear; the government pretrial release program will employ a special algorithm tool that analyzes the defendant’s background check. Seriously.  It’s astounding that anyone with a brain buys into this. But the taxpayers of New Jersey are about to – to the tune of millions and millions of dollars.

And what of these poor defendants who no longer have to stay in jail because they supposedly cannot afford to pay a private bail agent to post bond? Those who score out as “low” or “moderate” on the magic algorithm tool will be released for “free” after meeting with newly hired government Pretrial Services employees. After they score out to be released for “free” so they don’t have to languish in jail on account of being poor, they will be charged for frequent urine tests and electronic monitoring and weekly check-ins with the government employees.

Many of these accused criminals will decide that this is more trouble and expense than it’s worth and determine that they cannot afford the costs of their “free” release. They will fail to appear in court. Warrants will be issued but no one will look for them, especially not the newly minted Pretrial Release program employees. That’s not their job, they will say. Someone from the government might tinker with the magic algorithm tool at some point, but no one will be held accountable for the non-appearance of defendants released pretrial.

It’s a safe bet that New Jersey Governor and now presidential candidate “Chris” Christie doesn’t want voters to know the real story: That he wants to replace secured bail bonds — a private enterprise that works — with a bloated, ineffective government program that is destined to fail spectacularly.

They don’t have a clue

You would think that after all this time I would be immune to the special form of indignation that arises in me when it becomes all-too-clear that otherwise intelligent folks have no idea what it is I do for a living.

Magnifying_glass_icon_mgx2.svgI came across an article titled “Awaiting trial, they’re free to a point” that was recently published in the Sarasota Herald Tribune.  The article was written by reporter Dale White. Mr. White sang the praises of two local publicly-funded programs that release defendants and thereby “save” the counties up to $74 a day, which would be the costs of locking them up. The article claims that for as little as $1.81 a day these programs assure that “taxpayers are not getting stuck with the tab of confining someone.”

I took exception to the newspaper article and wrote the following to Mr. White:


Sent via email to: dale.white@heraldtribune.com

Mr. White:

Your article hyping the benefits of Sarasota and Manatee’s publicly funded bail programs is misleading at best. In Florida the terms “bail” and “bond” include any and all forms of pretrial release.

When Eric (who asked you not to use his last name) got arrested for driving drunk he was released on a publicly-funded bond. The taxpayers picked up his entire tab. Your article stated that poor Eric would likely have sat in jail for months, ruining his life and costing taxpayers more than $6,000 for his incarceration. This is poppycock. Almost certainly Eric would have bonded out – at his own expense rather than through these government programs. The bond for a drunk driving charge in Sarasota is typically $500. If Eric and his family and friends were unable or unwilling to post the $500, they could have easily obtained a bond from a Sarasota bail agent for $100. In addition, most bail agents in Sarasota are willing to take payments. Your statement that a bondsman may not even bother posting bond for low bail bonds is untrue. Every bail agent in Sarasota regularly posts bail for $100. So the question is: who pays for the bail for Eric? The accused and his friends and family, or the taxpayers of Sarasota and Bradenton?

No one is languishing in Sarasota or Manatee County jail because they cannot find a bondsman willing to post a $100 bail.

If you are going to claim that these two county programs “save” the taxpayers $880,000 each month in detention costs by releasing defendants from jail, then use the same math for Sarasota and Bradenton’s private bail agents. Applying the same logic and figures, private bail agents save the county millions of dollars, since their clients are released from detention as well — but at no cost whatsoever to the taxpayers.  If the publicly-funded program “saves” the county $74 a day (at a cost of $3.20 a day) then so does the private bondsman (but at no cost).

More importantly, the purpose of bail is not to reduce jail populations.  The purpose of posting bond is to guarantee appearance. Once again, the private bail agent provides a far better value to Sarasota and Bradenton residents. When a defendant in “Supervised Release” or “Pretrial Services” fails to appear nothing happens beyond the issuance of yet another warrant. One more warrant gets entered into the system along with the thousands of other open un-served felony warrants.  None of the government employees employed by these pretrial release programs is held accountable for the defendant’s failure to appear. Nor are they responsible for locating and apprehending the fugitive. In contrast, when a bail agent’s defendant fails to appear, the bail agent locates, apprehends and surrenders the defendant back to the county jail at no cost to the taxpayers. If the bail agent fails in this obligation, he or she pays a substantial penalty to the county.

Which is a better deal for taxpayers? Another ineffective government program whose real purpose is simply to let accused criminals get out of jail for free? Or private bail agents who guarantee the appearance of defendants released pretrial?

Lastly, according to your article, the ten employees of the Manatee program work weekdays only, while in Sarasota their program’s 25 employees work a whopping 325 days a year. A bondsman — whose services are available 24-hours a day, 365 days a year — would call that vacation.


Dale White got back to me:

From: White, Dale [mailto:dale.white@heraldtribune.com] Sent: Friday, August 28, 2015 2:59 PM
To: A Bail Bondsman
Subject: RE: Unequal Justice

Obviously, it was not my intention to hype. Perhaps the bail bond industry should convince the judiciary it should not be using these programs. The judges must see some merit in them.


And I responded:

Dale,

Thanks for getting back to me. Frankly, part of the reason judges see merit in these programs is due to poorly researched articles and a successful campaign being waged by these programs. How many of the defendants released through these programs subsequently fail to appear? Frequently, these programs hide their true number of failures. For example they base their failure rate on total court appearances (If a defendant has ten court appearances and only misses his trial, they pass that off as a 10% failure rate).  Or they “disqualify” clients for breaching and no longer even count them when they fail to appear. The best method for researching this matter is to look at open felony warrants. How many are there in Bradenton and Sarasota? What happens when a person released to this program fails to appear? Does anyone look for the fugitives?

Isn’t it almost certain that Eric (name withheld) would have bonded out? And if so, wouldn’t the taxpayers be better served by having him post a private bond? Are there really poor folks languishing in your two jails due to their inability to post bond? I know that it was never your intention to hype, but I think you were sold a bill of goods.

Maybe in the future when you are covering pretrial release matters, you could touch base with one of your local bondsman. There are really good ones in Sarasota and Bradenton. If you need contact names or telephone numbers of local agents I can provide them to you. Alternatively, I can provide you with information pertaining to bail. Feel free to contact me anytime.


And here is the email that made me crazy:

 From: White, Dale [mailto:dale.white@heraldtribune.com] Sent: Tuesday, September 01, 2015 2:58 PM
To: A Bail Bondsman

Subject: RE: http://www.heraldtribune.com/article/20150822/ARTICLE/150829880

I forwarded Mr. Heffernan’s comments to Manatee County Supervised Released (without his name) to see how they might respond. Here is what I received back:

As to the comments below, I have looked up Eric’s case again, just to be sure that I am stating facts. When Eric was originally arrested, he was placed on Supervised Release with electronic monitoring, at his own expense. Therefore, the only expense to the taxpayers, is the Supervised Release program, which you explained the cost in the article. That is fact. Saying that almost certainly he would have bonded out is an opinion. He could have bonded out prior to his hearing and did not. He had a subsequent hearing, in which the electronic monitoring was deleted and he was required to post bond. This bond was through A Heaven Sent Bail, which is a private company.

I do not know the rules of bond companies, though, clients have told me they do not take payments. The County does not ever post bond for anyone. That is the purpose of our program. There most certainly are clients in jail, with a prior history, that are unable to post $100 bond or find a bondsman. That is fact. I’m sure the Public Defender could provide numerous cases of this. No one said that bondsman don’t save the county money. They just don’t have the same responsibilities to the court.

His comments about us issuing a warrant vs. their paying money make no sense. How are we to be held accountable for them attending court? Short of watching clients 24 hours per day, that is not possible. The bondsman don’t do that either. Furthermore, the bondsman don’t ensure they are following the conditions set by the court, such as no contact with the victim or no drugs/alcohol. This puts the safety of the community at risk. The County is responsible for their apprehension, as it is the deputies and officers that arrest them.

Our staff work 7 days per week, just not 24 hours per day. I understand that bondsman serve a purpose too, but they should stick with facts.

Let me know if you need further clarification.


 “How are to be held accountable for them attending court?” Huh??


Me, again:

Mr. White,

Thanks so much for fostering this dialog and your openness to examining this issue.

A few points:

  • Following his arrest, Eric was almost certainly encouraged not to bond out prior to his first court appearance, since he would have been advised that he would get out for “free” through the program.
  • When he discovered his release was not “free” and required an electronic bracelet that he had to pay for, he had his private lawyer (that he paid for) file a motion to get that condition removed and he agreed to pay for a bond through a private bail agent. If he was on bond, why would the taxpayers need to pay for his continued enrollment in the program?
  • Most every bail agency in Bradenton and Sarasota will take payments and this is easy enough to confirm.
  • The county certainly does post bond insofar as Florida Statute 903.011(1) defines the terms “bail” and “bond” to include any and all forms of pretrial release. So, again, the question remains: who should pay for the bond securing release? The friends and family of the accused? Or the taxpayers?
  • It easy enough to confirm that most every agent in Bradenton and Sarasota regularly posts $100.00 bonds. Defendants are not languishing  in jail because they are poor or unable to find a bondsman willing to post a $100 bond. They are in jail because they are a demonstrated flight risk or, more often, they have other holds such as violation of probation, immigration, or prior failures to appear.
  • The primary purpose of any bond (cash, corporate surety, supervised release, etc) is to guarantee the appearance of the defendant. If a bail agent fails in this obligation he or she pays a substantial penalty to the county equal to 1,000% of what they grossed for posting the bond. (For example: If Gary Johnson collects $100 gross for posting the bond and the defendant fails to appear and cannot be located by Gary, Gary pays 10 times what he collected as a penalty.) In contrast the spokesperson for the pretrial release program says “How are we to be held accountable for them attending court?” Question: If they cannot adequately assure appearance in court, how can they claim to enforce the other conditions? A private bail agent is accountable for ensuring that his clients appear in court.
  • If a defendant on bond fails to appear, the bondsman goes out and apprehends them. If a defendant released through the program fails to appear, the county gets another warrant entered into the system.

The article that you wrote leads with the misleading statement that poor Eric might still be sitting in jail with his life ruined if not for this program. Now we learn that Eric did, in fact, pay for electronic monitoring, a private attorney, and a private financially secured bond.

Again, thank you for being open to learning more about what we do for a living.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me anytime.


This, then, is what we are left with from the spokesperson of the Manatee County Supervised release program:

“How are we to be held accountable for them attending court? Short of watching clients 24 hours per day, that is not possible. The bondsman don’t do that either.”

I would write more but I need to go look for a bond skip. Either that or pay a $50,000. penalty to the county within 60 days.

And so it goes.