The New York Times is worried: “Wisconsin suspect’s previous release may hinder efforts to overhaul bail.”
We say: About time!
Milwaukee’s Democrat(ic) district attorney releases Darrell Brooks to the streets of Waukesha on paltry $1,000 bail despite a 22-year history of criminality. Two days later, Brooks mows down 60 innocents celebrating Christmas (O.K. “allegedly.”)
“This could be a huge blow to our work in making the system more equitable,” State Rep. David Bowen, D-Milwaukee, told the NYTimes. So much for the left’s sympathy for the victim!
“What happened in Waukesha on Sunday [11-21-21] is among the consequences of easy bail. And bail reform — that is, reducing or eliminating cash bail for a variety of offenses — has been a cause of the Left for years,” columnist Bret Stephens observes.
Catch and release
Dane County suffers from the same misplaced sympathy. An 18 year old is caught with a loaded firearm at Verona high school earlier this month. Had been free on signature bond, under court order to be unarmed. Judge re-releases mope on signature bond, again orders to remain unarmed. How about the State Street fugitive subdued after gunfire in October with three felony and one misdemeanor bail jumpings already on his rap sheet. Or the guy who jumped bail six times. (Read & Weep.) Fact is, in Madison/Dane County:
• Accused felons so far this year have jumped bail 53% more than just two years ago.
• Over the last 10 years, bail jumping has increased six-fold!
Bail jumping in Dane County
through November 23 each year
|Felony bail jumping||2,991||1,957||513|
|Misdemeanor bail jumping||1,654||1,763||1,009|
Dane County Clerk of Courts Carlo Esqueda, a real stand-up guy, was not able to tease out the average bail dollar amount. That may require the county board to mount a forensic program audit — if they have the nerve to do so. The suspicion is that bonds are so low that crowd-funding sources like Freethe350 can spring perpetrators by the carload. In any case, signature bonds comprise three-fifths of all bonds — even in felony cases!
Percent signature v. cash bonds
felonies through November 23 each year
Esqueda told Blaska Policy Werkes that Wisconsin law limits bail to only the amount assuring the defendant’s appearance in court. Chapter 969.01(4) of the Wisconsin statutes provides:
If bail is imposed, it shall be only in the amount found necessary to assure the appearance of the defendant. Conditions of release, other than monetary conditions, may be imposed for the purpose of protecting members of the community from serious bodily harm or preventing intimidation of witnesses.
As Esqueda reads it, the clause about protecting the community “is only to be addressed via non-monetary conditions of bail.” Hence, the prohibition of firearms, as toothless as that has proved.
From $1,000 to $5,000,000 bail?
Waukesha circuit court set bail for Darrell Brooks at $5 million.
“For that matter,” Court Clerk Esqueda posited, “How did Kyle Rittenhouse rate a $2 million bail when he had no prior criminal record? … The way I understand it is that a court official will implicitly or explicitly assert that the pending charges carry such a serious consequence (i.e. life in prison without parole), this prospect, in and of itself, creates a significant incentive for the defendant to flee. The imposition of the high money bail will serve to counteract that urge to take flight, if it is posted.”
Esqueda continued, “What a judge in Wisconsin will not say … is that they are setting a high cash bail directly due to the severity of the charges or a concern for public safety.”
Indeed, State. Rep. Cindy Duchow, R-Delafield, is proposing a constitutional amendment that would allow consideration of public safety, the severity of charges, and the overall criminal history, in setting bail amounts.
Blaska’s Bottom Line: But it all comes down to electing un-Woke district attorneys and circuit court judges.