This week marks a crucial moment for professional bail agents in Connecticut, as the Rules Committee of the Superior Court proposes significant changes to the Practice Book Rules. The proposed changes would provide accused individuals with a substantial discount on their release, potentially eliminating the need for professional bond agents. However, such a decision would not only impact our judicial system but also pose a significant risk to public safety.
One of the primary concerns surrounding the elimination of professional bail agents is the issue of accountability. Bail agents play a vital role in ensuring that individuals released from custody appear in court as required. By forfeiting a financial bond when a defendant fails to appear, bail agents act as a powerful incentive for defendants to fulfill their legal obligations. Without this mechanism, the risk of individuals skipping court dates and evading justice significantly increases.
Another critical aspect affected by the proposed changes is the protection of victims, particularly in cases involving crime and domestic violence. Victims deserve their day in court, and the presence of a professional bail agent helps ensure that defendants are held accountable for their actions. By providing a financial stake in the defendant’s appearance, bail agents contribute to the overall safety and well-being of victims, their families, and the community at large.
There has been a spike in domestic and property crimes such as vehicle and catalytic converter theft throughout the state. Police have been reluctant to investigate and make arrests because there is a lack of consequences at court. The feeling is, why risk their careers and personal assets (due to recent “police accountability” legislation) when defendants aren’t prosecuted anyway. Now the Judges are voting Friday on offering bail (which they set) at a 93% discount without a mechanism in place to look for people who fail to appear. If Judges don’t take every measure to ensure defendants go to court it will exacerbate the policing issue and failure to appear rates will skyrocket.
NO LEGITIMATE BAIL COMPANY WILL SURVIVE ONLY WRITING BONDS OVER $50,000!
The case of New York serves as a cautionary tale regarding the elimination of bail agents. New York had previously eliminated bail agents but experienced significant consequences as a result. The absence of a robust accountability system led to an alarming number of defendants failing to appear in court. Recognizing the impact on public safety, New York has since attempted to roll back these changes. Connecticut should learn from this experience and avoid making similar mistakes.
Public safety should always be a top priority, and the role of professional bail agents cannot be understated. They act as a crucial safeguard, ensuring that individuals released from custody fulfill their legal obligations and do not pose a risk to society. By providing financial security and holding defendants accountable, bail agents contribute to the stability and integrity of the justice system. Removing this vital component would jeopardize public safety and undermine the very purpose of the judicial process.
While the proposed changes to the Practice Book Rules in Connecticut may offer perceived benefits to accused individuals, they carry significant risks for public safety. The elimination of professional bail agents threatens accountability, compromises the rights of victims, and undermines the effectiveness of the judicial system. Connecticut should learn from the experiences of other jurisdictions and prioritize public safety by maintaining the crucial role of professional bail agents. The well-being of our communities and the integrity of our justice system depend on it.
Daniel Toner is President, 3-D Bail Bonds, Inc., Hartford on behalf of Liza Davis of Liza Davis Bail Bonds LLC, Middletown; John Kunkiewicz, Owner, Northwest Bail Bonds, Torrington; Elizabeth Rodriguez DBA Liz Rodriguez Bail Bonds, Waterbury; Sean Furlow, Sean Furlow Bail Bonds, New London.