It seems like only yesterday I was in Denver attending a very brief, but required hearing to advance a ballot initiative in Colorado. As I reported to my readers at that time, an organization called Safe Streets Colorado was pushing an initiative to limit the use of Pretrial Services to first time criminal offenders and misdemeanants.
Getting an initiative on the November ballot, Safe Streets Colorado would require obtaining nearly 75,000 validated signatures on petitions in support of the initiative. A daunting task, but with the help of the Americans for the Preservation of Bail (APOB), Colorado bail agents’ and concerned citizens’; 172,000 signatures were submitted to the Secretary of State on August 2nd. According to APOB this is the most signatures ever submitted in support of a ballot initiative in Colorado’s 132 year history; quite an achievement.
After overcoming a legal challenge over a filing deadline set by the Secretary of State, the Secretary of State certified the initiative as Proposition 102.
I’ve had a number of conversations with bail bond agents in Colorado and around the country about the choice of taking the issue of Pretrial Release and the release of criminal defendants from jail at taxpayer expense to the taxpaying citizens of Colorado. Some agents I spoke to believed this was absolutely the right path to take while others preferred the legislative process.
The bail bond industry in Colorado has suffered for years from an apathetic and incongruous bonding community. Colorado has been unsuccessful in their efforts to form a cohesive bail agent association similar to what we see in California, Oklahoma and Texas, etc.
As a bystander, I’ve not seen anything like this in my 28 years in bail. I find the effort which has taken place in Colorado to be very intriguing and I’m anxious to see the result.
To APOB’s credit, they saw an opportunity to bring Colorado bail agents together under a common cause and in doing so have done the near impossible, placing an initiative on the November ballot that would severely limit the use of Pretrial Release. Should Proposition 102 pass, and I believe it will, it will be seen as a huge victory not only for Colorado Bail Agents but the citizens of Colorado who are tired of seeing their tax dollars used to provide free bail to criminal defendants.
If I was a citizen of Colorado, I would vote yes to Proposition 102.
I would be interested to hear your comments on Proposition 102 and the course taken to limit the use of taxpayer funded Pretrial Services in Colorado. Click here to send me your thoughts.