I love to go to movies. I’m looking forward to seeing The Avengers this weekend. If ever I heard of a movie that had a bounty hunting priest hired to track down fugitives for Church’s Bail Bonds I would certainly go. The reason I like going to movies is to escape reality for a few hours. In the case of a church writing bail, this could be the reality in Michigan if HB 5533 were to pass. HB 5533 would create “Charitable Bail Organizations” who could act as surety on a bail bond for no compensation.
If you’re a sinner charged with an ordinance violation, misdemeanor and yes, even a felony, under HB 5533 you could ask your local church to post your bond and you wouldn’t even be required to toss a few bucks into the collection plate.
Actually under HB 5533 you don’t have to be an organized church, you simply have to be an organization qualified as a 501(C)(3) under the Internal Revenue Code and MCL 400.271 to 400.294 specifically setup to post bail on behalf of “poor” individuals. Notice they do not use the term “indigent” rather “poor”, which is subjective as in your poor soul.
HB 5533 states a court shall allow a “Charitable Bail Organization” to become a surety on a bail bond. There is no mention about how the court will collect forfeited bonds from these organizations or whether or not they have the authority to apprehend fugitives.
There is no question HB 5533 needs to be defeated. The Michigan court system already has the latitude to release a defendant on their own recognizance. Unless you’re a charity golf tournament with a foursome trying to get their A player out of jail before their 8:00 a.m. tee time, nothing good can come from authorizing a 501(C)(3) to post bail. What will they think of next?