Aloha, I’m A-1 Nick with A-1 Bail Bonds. In this issue of jail mail, we’ll discuss:
- Lessons from the Kansas Pretrial Justice Task Force report
- How attorneys Myles Breiner & William Harrison’s bail reduction strategies could be leveraged to decrease the local jail population.
- A-1 Nick’s no nonsense, turn key bail reform solutions
Last year, I was appointed the Pacific Director for the Professional Bail Agents of the United States (PBUS). One of the perks of the gig is that I can offer my video filming and editing skills to replay the presentations of our credentialed speakers. I thought it especially important to share this presentation with my loyal “jail mail” subscribers since:
- The Kansas Pretrial Justice Report offers complimentary analysis to 2018’s Hawaii Pretrial Bail Report done by Criminal Administrative Judge Kawamura and Mag. Judge Rom Trader.
- It’s far easier to learn and retain information when you watch a presentation then read a report.
- Rarely do stakeholders acknowledge that bail agents too are advocates for the depopulation of county jails; we do just that as a profession and its time for the establishment to recognize our contribution.
Kansas Justice Dan Biles presents the Kansas Pretrial Justice Task Force Report to PBUS
Last conference, I had the privilege of filming Kansas Justice Dan Biles’ presentation on the Kansas Pretrial Justice Task Force report. Justice Biles has been a Kansas Supreme Court Justice since 2009. After getting to know Justice Biles, I'd also like highlight his return to his alma mater, to teach a law class at Kansas State University. He was a wealth of knowledge and in my opinion, his presentation was the highlight of the PBUS convention.
Links to reports:
VIDEO OF JUSTICE BILES' PRESENTATION ON THE KANSAS PRETRIAL TASK FORCE REPORT
Point of emphasis: Increase access to appointed defense counsel after arrest for timely review of release conditions.
I didn’t go to law school, but will quote the report’s assertion that:
“The U.S. Supreme Court’s Sixth Amendment jurisprudence is clear that the right to counsel attaches when an individual under arrest makes an initial appearance before a magistrate for a probable-cause determination and the setting of bail.”
In plain English, defendants should have access to either a public defender or private attorney at the point of arrest. Such counsel could be delivered live, via ZOOM, or phone for the purposes of:
- Immediately protecting the rights of the recently arrested, which can reduce pretrial incarceration and assure an individual’s constitutional rights are honored.
- Collecting data, such as a financial affidavit, or other bail report related details, so that at an initial appearance, the court could have additional information for the consideration of a release.
- Fixing the current circumstances where defendants whom are entitled to counsel go unrepresented at the critical stage of arrest. Defendants suffer an actual denial of counsel when held without access to an attorney.
Endorsement of A-1 Bail Bonds
Here is a cheat sheet of the 19 recommendations made by the task force:
- Education: liberty is the norm, detention is the limited exception.
- Public Outreach: provide public and media information on why decisions regarding pretrial release were made.
- Data Collection: report relevant data to aid in understanding pretrial detention issues.
- Notice to appear: facilitate notices to appear rather than arrests for nonviolent misdemeanors.
- Mental Health Identification: identify if criminal behavior is simply a manifestation of mental illness.
- Crisis Intervention: allow law enforcement the ability to immediately connect individuals with effective care.
- Larned State Hospital: adequately fund the State Hospital to allow timely admission of defendants for treatment.
- Pre-conviction treatment: divert defendants prior to conviction into treatment as needed.
- Pretrial release decision procedures: prioritize probably cause hearings and release solutions
- Defense counsel: see above, "point of emphasis."
- Pretrial risk assessment: train coordinators to review data and expand pretrial risk assessments
- Timely hearing procedures: adopt post-charging procedures to speed up judicial review hearings for release.
- Missed court appearances: give offenders opportunities to voluntarily report missed court date as an alternative to taxing law enforcement with re-arresting individuals
- Text message reminders: provide text reminders at minimal cost to the state.
- Pretrial supervision: encourage pretrial supervision over pretrial detention.
- Expand Pretrial Supervision providers: allow programs outside of court services to supervise pretrial defendants.
- Expand eligibility for pretrial supervision: modify residency requirements to expand pretrial supervision eligibility.
- Additional funding for pretrial supervision: expand state funding of pretrial supervision, so that fees are not passed along to defendants.
- Explore amendment to constitution: debate whether judges should be allowed to detain persons not accused of capital offenses without bond until trial.
Attorneys William Harrison and Myles Breiner
If I were to award nominations in excellence for bail reduction success, the top two candidates would be attorneys William Harrison and Myles Breiner. I’ve witnessed a particular talent among the two in the “art of the bail reduction.” Success leaves clues, and a means to depopulate local jails would be to teach all criminal defense attorneys the strategies employed to compel the court to set bail at SUFFICIENT rather than EXCESSIVE amounts. Although bail reduction success is a material portion of A-1’s TOP GUN award for the best criminal defense attorney in Hawaii, I’ve yet to create an award for “Bail Reduction Champion of the Year.” Perhaps I will in 2022, but until its official, I’d like to highlight the successes of the two, to memorialize their excellence in petitioning the court for reductions in bail.
Blaming the CASH BAIL SYSTEM for jail overpopulation is specious and ultimately a red herring. That's right, I said it, it needed to be said. When you hear about bail reform, often times the bail bond industry is blamed for jail overcrowding. Missing from this criticism, is that there's a FREE GOVERNMENT OPTION, for the indigent client, that doesn't have the money to post their own bail, but is a low risk to public safety, and likely to return to court for future appearances.
1) release on your own recognizance - ROR or OR
2) release through Supervised Release - SR
Both options are FREE to the qualified client and the government offices charged with performing these duties have been in existence for decades.
Straight line logic dictates that if clients are in custody solely due to financial hardships, that falls squarely upon the local pretrial services divisions, charged with servicing that cohort.
Commercial surety, or the bail bond industry, is a private sector solution for release, which can't be leaned upon to engineer every release outcome. I'd like to advocate for the continual reforms and full funding of pretrial services divisions nationwide, so that we can stop blaming bail agents for overpopulation, and move forward with a more robust and FREE release solution, through the government offices created to solve this very issue.
Lastly, I'd like to highlight that both Kansas and Hawaii reports DO NOT call for the elimination of the cash bail system and when California passed legislation to do so, it was overturned before implementation. For videos on the details of pretrial services and California's referendum to restore cash bail, click the links below:
WHY DOES NOBODY CRITICIZE PRETRIAL SERVICES
CALIFORNIA REINSTATES CASH BAIL SYSTEM