In a published decision released Monday, the Court of Appeals of Indiana ruled in favor of the plaintiff, Melissa Kay Sneed in the case of Sneed v. State and against Decatur County on the issue of whether the court should have granted her request to post a bail bond in lieu of a cash bond.
For bail bond agents in Indiana this ruling is long overdue. Too many judges in Indiana have refused a defendant’s option of posting a bail bond and instead have demanded a bond in the form of a full cash bond or a meager cash deposit of 10% (with the balance of the bond being unsecured).
In my view this decision will require judges in counties currently closed to bail bonds such as St. Joseph, Bartholomew, Vanderburg and Marshall to begin allowing pretrial detainees to opt to post a bail bond as opposed to full cash or a deposit bond.
This should be welcome news to residents and more importantly victims in these counties closed to bail bonds who have long endured their local disregard for the rights of victims and residents by not using the most effective release option for assuring a defendant returns for court, a bail bond.
As Sneed v. State clearly states, “…when the defendant is able to deposit the entire amount of the cash bail without the help of a bondsman, it is not very likely anyone will pursue the defendant if he or she decides to skip town prior to trial.” Bail Agents, whose bonds are backed by insurance companies, have a financial interest in getting a defendant, who has absconded, back to court.
This is a good day for the bail industry in Indiana and I can’t help but quote that much maligned comedic actor Charlie Sheen, and scream, “Winning”!