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Subject: Here's an area that could use some reform. rss

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Jon Badolato
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I never heard of this person or his story, but holy cow, this is horrendous. The guy is accused of a crime, can't post $3,000 bail, and is sent to solitary at Rikers Island Prison for over 800 days with no trial and no hearing. Commits suicide as a result of his ordeal. The fact that this happened in the USA is ridiculously bad and appears to be an area that needs serious reform.

https://www.aclu.org/blog/speak-freely/kalief-browders-tragi...




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Junior McSpiffy
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Riverton
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That is horrible. First and foremost... speed up justice.

But the line that stuck out to be was that the ACLU rejects and system which demands money for freedom. So my question would be... what alternatives do we have? "We think you've done something illegal and worth imprisoning you if it is found to be true, but we're just gonna let you go for now as long as you promise to show up to court when we ask." The idea of bail is that the person is invested in showing up when summoned, that it makes it hard for them to flee if people think they are a risk to do so. So if we are going to eliminate money from the equation, what do we replace it with? Or do we just let people walk free with nothing to keep them tethered to the community?

I agree that the idea that not being able to afford bail and ending up in jail unaccused for over two years is despicable. But aside from speeding up the wheels of justice (which would serve justice in some ways but might harm it in others, helping those at risk get more easily railroaded), what alternatives do we have for balancing risk with justice?
 
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R. Frazier
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West Sacramento
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I think reasonable time limits gets it done. For example, after 90 days, the accused has the right to either a very low bail (or a zero bail) based on his financial condition, or a right to waive speedy trial and start his trial.

Remember the people have no right to arrest until they are basically ready to start their case, so they have no excuse, the only one who might need more time is the defendant.


EDIT:

Another issue: the reason he had to stay inside is because the crime he was accused of was a probation violation for a prior crime he had previously plead guilty for: grand larceny (grand theft auto), he claimed he was not joyriding but he plead guilty to it anyway. I mean, I have a problem with putting a 16 year old in with the adult population period, but this isn't as simple as the article makes it sound. This kid had a record and the other crime was a lot more serious.
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Jon Badolato
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rylfrazier wrote:
I think reasonable time limits gets it done. For example, after 90 days, the accused has the right to either a very low bail (or a zero bail) based on his financial condition, or a right to waive speedy trial and start his trial.

Remember the people have no right to arrest until they are basically ready to start their case, so they have no excuse, the only one who might need more time is the defendant.


EDIT:

Another issue: the reason he had to stay inside is because the crime he was accused of was a probation violation for a prior crime he had previously plead guilty for: grand larceny (grand theft auto), he claimed he was not joyriding but he plead guilty to it anyway. I mean, I have a problem with putting a 16 year old in with the adult population period, but this isn't as simple as the article makes it sound. This kid had a record and the other crime was a lot more serious.


I agree with McSpiffy about bail and its overall purpose, but I would apply it strictly to alleged crimes which are injurious to others health or well being. In my mind, even with a prior, stealing a backpack while clearly a crime is not likely to cause serious injury to others unless it was taken in a violent manner. And to be stuffed away for over two years in solitary confinement without hearing or trial is most definitely not commensurate with the alleged crime. Speedier hearings are good, but this is not my area of expertise so I'm reluctant to put forth possible solutions to this which may in fact suck.
 
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Professor of Pain
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rylfrazier wrote:
Another issue: the reason he had to stay inside is because the crime he was accused of was a probation violation for a prior crime he had previously plead guilty for: grand larceny (grand theft auto), he claimed he was not joyriding but he plead guilty to it anyway. I mean, I have a problem with putting a 16 year old in with the adult population period, but this isn't as simple as the article makes it sound. This kid had a record and the other crime was a lot more serious.

He has a record but it may well be that he struck a plea bargain because of his poverty and lack of a serious attorney. Regardless, even if he did steal the car I can't see how the punishment and ultimate fate is warranted.
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Kevin Salch
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There should be some time limits set, either bring to trial, or release. Combined with bail reform. I think there is a place for bail. But, other technologies exist. (tracking devices for example)

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MGK
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GameCrossing wrote:
I agree that the idea that not being able to afford bail and ending up in jail unaccused for over two years is despicable. But aside from speeding up the wheels of justice (which would serve justice in some ways but might harm it in others, helping those at risk get more easily railroaded), what alternatives do we have for balancing risk with justice?


it's called "spending more on the justice system so the judge/defendant ratio doesn't force one to make a choice between bad policy decisions," with a side order of "maybe you're arresting too many people in the first place"

like, the reason the system is set up to force plea bargains - and it is - is because it literally cannot function at present if everybody exerted their right to trial; it couldn't function if even one in five exerted their right to trial, come to that
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