Recently, the bail bond system has been in the news  due to the perceived inequality of the bail  bond system. The most common complaint is the bail bond system unfairly treats the poor. Some bonds are set so high that the accused cannot afford to make the bail bond. The result is people set in jail

Walter Roche wrote a nice article in the Tennessean yesterday on the new bail bond law. The first version of the bill limited the bail bond company’s exposure to one year on a misdemeanor and two years on a felony. If the case was not concluded , the accused had to make a new bond. Now, most folks think one year is enough time to settle a case. However , blood tests for drugged driving cases take up to forty weeks and sometimes longer to get a result. The bill that was passed let a bail bond company off the hook once a defendant pleaded guilty .The effect is that a person has to make a new bond or go to jail until the sentencing hearing. Folks that made a bond before the law went into effect probably were not told what would happen.

I am proud that the Davidson County Criminal Court Judges stepped up to the plate to create some fairness in the system.The court order requires the bail bondsmen to notify their clients if they intend to go off a person’s bond at plea. I should also state that most bail bond companies in Nashville are remaining on the bail bond after plea. I do understand the bail bondsmen position.Maybe a little communication is in order . My proposal is just to notify the bail bondsmen or bonds women that a plea was entered and a sentencing date is set. For those not in the criminal justice system , a plea of guilty to certain crimes carries a automatic revocation of bond like rape. Most folks at a sentencing hearing are eligible for some type of alternative sentencing.


Continue Reading New Tennessee Bail Bond Law Creates Chaos

Laura Sullivan of NPR  just finished a three part report on the bail bond crisis in America. As a criminal defense attorney , I could not agree more with her conclusions.Ms. Sullivan reports in her article that Nashville Davidson County’s jail is one of America’s most overstuffed jails . The average daily jail population is 3,528 and it is at 107 % of capacity.

How does the bail bond system work in Nashville,Tn ? Once a defendant is arrested , a night court commissioner sets a bail bond. It is based in part on the nature of the crime and the defendant’s prior criminal record as well as several other factors. Once the bond is set, the accused can pay the cash amount , obtain a property bond , get pretrial release, or hire a professional bail bondsman.

The Davidson County Sheriff’s Office has a pretrial release program.If you qualify , one can be released without paying any of the bond amount.However, there are some fees that apply.A professional bail bondsman charges 10 % of the total bond plus an administrative fee.For example , the night court commissioner sets a bond of $10,000. You must pay a fee of $1000.00 to be released from the  Davidson County Jail plus a fee for the service.


Continue Reading Bail Bond Crisis in the U.S.