Are 'self-appointed defenders of Law & Order' spreading tall tales about bail?

·2 min read
The popular board game Monopoly takes its inspiration from locations in and around Atlantic City.
The popular board game Monopoly takes its inspiration from locations in and around Atlantic City.

Happy Tuesday, friend.

As I know you know, there is no such thing as a real Get Out of Jail Free Card like the ones that come with the Monopoly board game.

The future of the real, and some say very unfair, system many people use to pay their way out of the clink continues to be contentious.

The Ohio Supreme Court recently affirmed that public safety is not a consideration when setting a cash bond.

Dave Yost is the Attorney General of Ohio.
Dave Yost is the Attorney General of Ohio.

In a guest column published earlier this month, Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost challenged the ruling in DuBose vs. McGuffey, and described why the so-called Community Safety Amendment to the Ohio Constitution will make Ohio safer and poses no obstacle to making bail fairer.

More: Yost: 'Fresh helping of injustice' served when violent criminals out on low bail reoffend

"I have heard from judges and prosecutors all over Ohio that DuBose is leading to very low bonds, sometimes for dangerous people with lengthy criminal records. There seem to be daily stories of people out on bail committing new violent offenses," Yost wrote.

Steven K. Dankof, Sr. is a judge in the Montgomery County Common Pleas Court
Steven K. Dankof, Sr. is a judge in the Montgomery County Common Pleas Court

In a recent joint column, Reginald J. Routson, a judge in the Hancock County Common Pleas Court, and Steven K. Dankof, Sr., a judge in the Montgomery County Common Pleas Court, say Yost is "flatly misstating Ohio law."

"As two trial judges with combined judicial experience of 44 years and who have made thousands of bail decisions, we are compelled to set the record straight," they write. "The current system merely guarantees that those perceived as “evil”, but poor, remain in jail, while those perceived as “evil” but wealthy can secure their release, free to commit new crimes – a story told and retold.'"

Reginald J. Routson is a judge in the Hancock County Common Pleas Court.
Reginald J. Routson is a judge in the Hancock County Common Pleas Court.

More over, they say a constitutional amendment is unnecessary because violent offenders can already be held without bail.

"Worse yet, the self-appointed “defenders” of Law & Order surely know that for over twenty years, a rarely invoked process has been in place to hold potentially violent defendants, rich and poor, without bail. So why not use the system already in place? The answer is simple and tragic: It takes time and effort," the judges write.

I don't know where this is going, but I know it won't involve fun or games.

Far too many accused people languish in jail because they can not afford to pay high bail.

"Under our current (bail) system, a rich and dangerous defendant can pay to secure their release, while poor defendants languish in jail pretrial, losing their job, their housing, and even in some cases, the custody of their children," State Rep. Brett Hudson Hillyer, R-Uhrichsville, wrote in a 2021 guest column. "How does such a system promote public safety and equal justice under the law? As a practicing attorney, I have seen this all too often in different counties across the State."

Some lawmakers are  pushing for bail reform
Some lawmakers are pushing for bail reform

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Columbus Dispatch editorial page editor and community engagement editor Amelia Robinson outside the 62 E. Broad St. newsroom on Monday, Nov. 8, 2021.
Columbus Dispatch editorial page editor and community engagement editor Amelia Robinson outside the 62 E. Broad St. newsroom on Monday, Nov. 8, 2021.

This article originally appeared on The Columbus Dispatch: Are 'self-appointed defenders of Law & Order' spreading lies about bail?