Today, I had a case that perfectly illustrates the guilty-til-proven-wealthy mindset that I've been talking about while on the campaign trail during this race.
Two years ago, the Feds raided my client's house. They seized LCD and other items, but they didn't arrest him. This past Thursday, the State cops finally did arrest him, charging him with 10 felonies, all non-violent drug offenses.
The magistrate, rigidly following the bond schedule, set secured bonds ranging from $3,000 to $40,000 on each felony. The total bond was $126,000.
My client has never been convicted of a crime before, he's never missed a court date, and he's not been in any trouble over the past two years. In fact, he's been working 55 hours a week doing manual labor, a job he now will lose, because he's in jail and cannot make bond.
He's an Iraq war veteran who served three tours in the Middle East as a combat medic. He won numerous medals and awards, one for throwing himself over his grievously wounded Sergeant, shielding him with his own body under heavy enemy fire. He treated over 400 casualties in the field. He was honorably discharged and is 75% disabled from injuries suffered in battle, including hearing loss, lesions on lungs from chemical exposure, and a torn ACL suffered landing in muddy field when his parachute failed to properly deploy.
He is neither a flight risk nor a danger to the community. He's a hero.
At a bond hearing today, I explained all this to the judge. The Assistant District Attorney sat silent, leaving the matter up to the judge's discretion.
The judge agreed to reduce his bond, but only down to $60,000.
So now his family has a difficult choice to make. They don't have $60,000. So they can either pay a bondsman a nonrefundable fee $6,000 or they can let him sit in jail until his case can be resolved, which could take months or even years.
If my client's family were wealthy, he'd be out now. But they're not, so he's not. He's sitting in jail, costing the County taxpayers $175 a day, as if had been already found guilty.
My opponent claims to be in favor of cash bail reform. Yet, it's his policy to either argue for increased bond or to sit silent, as his assistant did today. In other words, he doesn't even try to limit the effects of this system.
I guarantee that when I'm DA, I will join in defense motions to reduce or unsecure bonds for non-violent offenses like the ones my client is charged with. Our County can't afford to keep non-dangerous people like my client in jail while awaiting their case to be heard. We must end cash bail. NOW!