On the morning of November 9, 2016, bail agents across the nation woke up with reason to be optimistic after learning Donald Trump was elected President of the United States. After eight years of seeing our noble profession being persecuted by the current president we have some reason to hope in the coming days, months and years there will be a return to law and order, holding people accountable for their actions and respect for victim’s rights.
The election set a positive tone for the first American Bail Coalition Affiliate Agent Conference in Las Vegas. The one day conference preceded only by an evening reception, was held at Mandalay Bay and was short on fluff and long on substance. Those attendees who were looking to be immersed in specific details and strategy on how to combat agenda driven organization aimed at putting bail out of business did not walk away unhappy. New York bail agent Steven Zalewski said, “It was the most informative bail association meeting I’ve attended in the last ten years”. Mike Vester of Denver, Colorado commented, “This ABC conference could not have been more productive”.
ABC Executive Director Jeff Clayton presided over a day of discussion which began with a review of battles that took place earlier this year in Connecticut, New Mexico and Utah earlier. In addition, there were presentations on the EJUL lawsuits to eliminate bail, lobbying efforts by certain State Supreme Court justices and, what challenges await commercial bail in the coming months.
There were several panel discussions addressing victims’ rights, pending EJUL lawsuits and understanding indigent defendant jail populations. Jeff unveiled ABC’s Agent Tool-kit that contains a plethora of items including national talking points, legal case transcripts and briefs, Power Point presentations and media articles on bail.
The pending inauguration of a new president does ease concerns that the targeting of a well-established and successful private sector component of the criminal justice system, bail bonds, will cease. And perhaps, H.R. 4611 – No Money Bail Act of 2016, will be permanently placed in the waste basket where it belongs. There still leaves the state legislatures and study committees convened by state supreme courts, considering bail reform. This is why supporting organizations like ABC and its Affiliate Agent Program are so important to the survival of the most effective means of guaranteeing a criminal defendant appear in court. I encourage all surety bail agents and surety companies to visit www.americanbail.org to sign up for membership. It would be a worthwhile investment in your future.