Indiana Agent Meeting Update

Bill Carmichael addresses ISBAA members.  Seated left is Bob Dawson and Lee Sexton. The Indiana Surety Bail Agents Association held their annual meeting yesterday in Indianapolis.  ASC President & CEO Bill Carmichael broke down the recent Indiana Supreme Court addition of Indiana Criminal Rule 26.   Criminal Rule 26 suggests a recommendation to judges they release defendants on their own recognizance if they are not deemed to be a risk to public safety or a risk of flight.  This is the same discretion Indiana judges have always possessed.  Criminal Rule 26 also requires the court to obtain a signed guarantee from defendants who deposit cash equal to less than the full amount of bail.   Perhaps this is more symbolic than anything because it’s hard to collect from a fugitive.  Click here…
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ABC to Hold First Agent Conference in Las Vegas

Check presentation to Camp Esperanza (L-R) Mike Whtilock, Lisa Langrehr, Marge Walstad, Logan Runde, Mike Runde, Doreen Bruner and Jack Whitlock What the heck is going on?  Well, you can find out when if you attend the American Bail Coalition's (ABC) inaugural Affiliate Agent Conference next month in Las Vegas. The commercial bail advocates at ABC have been working non-stop the last several months opposing initiatives targeting the elimination of commercial bail.  ABC has also been introducing initiatives and ideas to improve the system of bail and the criminal justice system as a whole. ABC's team will be providing a myriad of updates on battles and initiatives occurring all across the country at their first conference November 9-10, 2016, at Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas, Nevada. The conference will also include…
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Sooners should question the wisdom of Oklahoma’s SQ780

State Question 780, also known as, the Oklahoma Smart Justice Reform Act is on the ballot November 8, 2016, for consideration by that state’s residents.  Its likely few Sooners appreciate the adverse impact SQ780 will have on the safety of their children, communities and businesses should this initiative pass in November.  SQ780 has two objectives 1) ease up on drug offenders and 2) ease up on property crime offenders by reducing felonies crimes to misdemeanors.  At a period in Oklahoma’s history where crime has been on the decline, proponents of SQ780 want to relax the very laws that have been the basis for that reduction in crime. The threat of a felony conviction can be an effective deterrent of criminal behavior.  Removing the threat removes the deterrent.  SQ780 would be…
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My Elevator Speech on Bail

I traveled to the gulf shore early this week to attend the PBUS 2016 Mid-Year Meeting in Biloxi.  PBUS President Beth Chapman and her board of directors produced one of the more informational meetings I’ve attended for the national association.  The lineup of speakers was first rate and the reports on the commercial bail industry’s efforts to derail criminal welfare was detailed and illuminating. Milwaukee County Sheriff David E. Clarke, Jr. was the Keynote speaker Monday night.  Although Sheriff Clarke’s home state of Wisconsin has not benefited from the use of commercial bail since 1978, he did voice his support for returning the most effective form of pretrial release to The Badger State. After listening to Sheriff Clarke’s speech the gentlemen I was seated next to ask me what my…
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Public Safety Prevails in Connecticut

In spite of the last digit media blitz and threats to line item veto certain elements of the budget, Connecticut Governor Malloy’s effort to pass his Second Chance 2.0 legislation failed to get a vote on the final day of the special session and his bill died. In a week where it is being reported the homicide and violent crime rates saw a major increase across the country, Governor Malloy was trying to pass legislation that would have increased the age to 21 for which an offender can be charged with a juvenile offense.  He also wanted to release misdemeanor offenders on their own recognizance and no guarantee of appearance in court.  The problem, too many Democrats and Republicans were not buying into a proposal that, if passed, would have…
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Indiana Bail Agents Poised to Shine Light on Court’s Deposit Bail Scheme

A simple check of the Michiana Crime Stoppers website will highlight why the practice of granting criminal offenders a 90% discount on their bail is woefully ineffective.  The majority of Indiana counties release all or a portion of criminal offenders on cash bail equal to a mere 10% of the original bail amount.  St. Joseph County, South Bend, Indiana and home to Notre Dame University is known for permitting nearly every criminal offender to post 10% cash bail and walk out of jail unsupervised.  As of May 9, 2016 Jason Pasley was a fugitive wanted for failing to appear for court in St. Joseph County on March 10, 2016.  Pasely is charged with residential entry, battery and strangulation.  Another fugitive Edward Johnson failed to appear April 13, 2016.  Johnson is…
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Millions of Warrants – The Closeted Epidemic

I was in Sacramento earlier this week where I joined ABC’s Policy Director Jeff Clayton and California lobbyist Katherine Brandenburg in meeting with state officials and legislative staff at the State Capital.  At issued was yet another legislative proposal targeting the commercial bail industry.  Assembly Bill 2449, is a bill that would have added a $10 fee to each bail bond in favor of a bail investigation and prosecution fund controlled by the California Department of Insurance.  The language in this bill also included a significant increase in license related fees for bail agents.  Fortunately, this taxation bill was left wanting for support among California legislators and it was withdrawn by its sponsor, Assemblywoman Susan Eggman. During one of the many conversations we had at the state house we learned…
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Connecticut’s 10% Bill Should Not Pass

Governor Malloy’s Second Chance 2.0 initiative was under review Wednesday in the Joint Committee on Judiciary at the Connecticut State House.  I was present for the hearing along with ABC Policy Director Jeff Clayton, American Surety Company agent Mary Casey and other members of our profession to testify in opposition to S.B. 18, a bill proposing reforms in that state’s criminal justice system. Jeff and I arrived a day early to meet with ABC’s lobbying team and legislators to discuss S.B. 18.  The two components of this bill that would have an immediate impact on commercial bail are 1) a 10 percent deposit bail option and 2) releasing all misdemeanor offenders from jail without bail. The 10 percent cash bail scheme is nothing more than the state competing against commercial…
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The “In Lieu of Accountability Act of 2016”

The effort to roll out the red carpet for criminal offenders by eliminating secured release pre-trial has a new champion: Congressman Ted W. Lieu (D-33) of California.  Rep. Lieu filed H.R. 4611 on February 24, which contains language that prohibits the use of money as a condition of pretrial release.  The “In Lieu of Accountability Act of 2016” also proposes that states that continue to hold criminal offenders accountable by requiring surety to guarantee their appearance will discontinue receiving government funding. The irony of Rep. Lieu pursuing this agenda is that he’s from California.  California has been slowly marching toward a lawless society with the passing of legislative measures that have proven to be colossal failures and responsible for a surge in crime and profound threat to public safety in…
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Timing is Everything

It was February 2006 when reality TV personalities Duane and Beth Chapman were welcomed into the arms of PBUS.  A decade later with endorsements from the Georgia Association of Professional Bondsmen, Oklahoma State Senator Ralph Shortey and 50 percent, plus six of PBUS voting members, Beth Chapman was elected President. PBUS has just entered a new era. While PBUS was holding elections this week the attorneys for Equal Justice Under Law were filing an amended complaint in Buffin v. San Francisco, U.S. Representative Ted Lieu (D-CA) was filing H.R. 4611 the No More Money Bail Act of 2016 and ABC’s Policy Director Jeff Clayton was testifying in opposition to a Utah bill that, should it pass, would severely limit the amount of commercial bail written in The Beehive State. This year will be a year to remember in the…
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