Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Safer Release Methods in Place at the Orange County Jail vs. Pretrial Services/Release

As of 11/30/2009, there were 1,861 arrests made over a 30-day period in Orange County, Florida. A snapshot of 500 recent defendants booked into the jail over a period of a few days covering the 30-day period, and their associated charges, reveal that crime is not down nor necessarily less violent. Many of the arrested individuals had multiple charges. Prior to November 5, 2009 and before the Chief Judge of the Ninth Judicial Circuit reversed himself and amended the administrative order govering release from jail, 34 of the offenses for which these 500 individuals were arrested on were eligible for "administrative pretrial release" whereby jail staff would make a release decision without any judicial involvement.

Based on a citizen and media campaign by the private surety bail industry, and backed by facts showing the types of crimes defendants were being released on without any judicial involvement, the Chief Judge revoked "administrative pretrial release" and ordered that only a judge could release an individual into a pretrial release program in Orange County. The industry had argued that pretrial release programs offer minimal supervision for defendants charged with serious offenses, many of whom had prior criminal histories, and that tax dollars should not be spent to provide a service that private industry does for free with much more successful results. Due to pending legal litigation on behalf of Accredited over such release, someone decided to listen to us.

So you have a better understanding of the types of crimes individuals are continuing to commit in Orange County, Florida, below is a breakdown of such offenses for the snapshot of the 500 arrestees over the course of just a few days:

  • DUI - 58 offenses total, 3 of which included prior arrests
  • DUI manslaughter - 1 offense
  • DUI vehicular homicide - 1 offense
  • Possession of cocaine - 16 offenses total, to include 7 with intent to sell/deliver and 3 with armed possession
  • Possession of cannabis - 43 offenses total, to include 8 with intent to sell/deliver
  • Possession of drug paraphernalia - 27 offenses
  • Possession of controlled substance - 16 offenses total, to include 8 with intent to sell/deliver/traffic
  • Possession of heroin - 4 offenses total, to include 2 with trafficking
  • Buglary of a dwelling - 9 offenses total, to include 2 to an occupied dwelling and 1 with assault in an occupied dwelling
  • Burglary of a structure/conveyance - 12 offenses total, to include 1 to an occupied structure/conveyance and 1 armed burglary
  • Robbery - 8 offenses total, to include 6 with force or a weapon
  • Carrying a concealed weapon/firearm/ammo - 18 offenses total, to include 1 by a minor, 1 with altered serial number, 4 by convicted felons, 3 by convicted felons in commission of a felony, 1 with firearm/ammo in domestic violence context and 1 possession of ammo by convicted felon
  • Carjacking with a firearm - 2 offenses
  • Battery - 18 offenses total, to include 4 on law enforcement/security and 1 felony battery
  • Aggravated battery/assault - 17 offenses total, to include 1 causing permanent disfigurement, 11 with a weapon and 2 on law enforcement with a deadly weapon
  • Assault - 2 offenses
  • Aggravated battery on a pregnant person - 4 offenses
  • Domestic violence - 49 offenses total, to include 4 by strangulation and 2 with hindering communication with law enforcement
  • False imprisonment - 3 offenses
  • Stalking/aggravated stalking - 4 offenses total, to include 1 after an injunction
  • Kidnapping with intent to commit felony - 1 offense
  • Sexual battery - 3 offenses total, to include 1 with a weapon
  • Sexual battery on a child - 3 offenses
  • Show obsence material to a child - 1 offense
  • Lewd/lascivious conduct/molestation - 2 offenses
  • Petit theft - 16 offenses total, to include 4 with prior arrests
  • Retail theft - 2 offenses
  • Dealing in stolen property/pawn broker - 4 offenses
  • Tresspassing - 16 offenses
  • Driving with no valid driver's license - 15 offenses
  • Driving with license suspended/revoked - 57 offenses total, to include 7 with knowledge and 11 habitually revoked
  • Grand theft - 29 offenses total, to include 1 grand theft, 27 grand theft 3rd degree ($300-$5000) and 1 grand theft 1st degree (>$100,000)
  • Reckless driving - 5 offenses
  • Driver's license violation/expired tag/no registration/no endorsement - 9 offenses
  • Threatening a public servant - 1 offense
  • Disorderly conduct/intoxication - 14 offenses
  • Criminal mischief/loitering or prowling - 11 offenses
  • Open container/panhandling - 6 offenses
  • Resiting law enforcment officer - 34 offenses total, to include 2 with violence
  • False reports/ID to law enforcement - 5 offenses
  • Fleeing/eluding law enforcment with lights and sirens - 7 offenses
  • Destruction of evidence - 3 offenses
  • Leaving scene of an accident - 4 offenses
  • Staging motor vehicle crash - 1 offense
  • Fraud/scheme to defraud - 8 offenses total, to include 2 for uttering forged check/bills, 1 defrauding an innkeeper and 1 exploiting the elderly
  • Retailiating against a witness - 1 offense
  • Violation of an injunction - 2 offenses, 1 for repeat violence (non-intimate partner) and 1 for domestic violence
  • Unlicensed health practices - 2 offenses
  • Desertion - 1 offense
  • Prostitution - 1 offense
  • Unlawful use of two-way communication device - 2 offenses
  • Child abuse - 1 offense
  • Attempted murder - 2 offenses
  • Fugitive from justice - 2 offenses
  • Failure to appear - 16 offenses
  • Violation of probation - 32 offenses

Previously individuals arrested for such offenses would be asked if they wanted to get out of jail free or pay a bail agent to get out. In these tough economic times, what do you think the answer would be? But also ask yourself who is responsible for ensuring appearance in court until the case is resolved.

Defendants walking out of the jail under the pretrial release program rarely have face-to-face contact with jail staff and most are usually required to simply call into an automated telephone system for supervision weekly or bi-weekly. In contrast, defendants released on bail are integrally involved with their bail agent and have a network of family and friends involved in the bail contract to ensure compliance and no new law violations. Agents are financially and physicially responsible for defendants they release on bail - they don't show for court, the agent MUST by law pay the FULL bond amont, and not just the premium, back to the court within 60 days. Under a pretrial release program, more of your tax dollars are spent to find, re-arrest, re-book and then go through the court process once again. A excessive use of your tax dollars!

The private surety bail industry is committed to protecting public safety and ensuring the wise use of taxpayer funds. We stand behind you and will help protect you and our families.

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