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The economics of justice

Posted by on in Just A Thought...
The economics of justice is a huge contributor of reform strategies and consequential remedies brought about by a multitude of social issues such as jail overcrowding, offenders with mental health concerns, the indigent, low level offenders and many others.

This as the blog catagory suggests is just a thought.

I am not an attorney and I do not pretend to have an educated understanding of legal procedures, I am however a firm believer in common sense. I have been in the bail bond business in Houston for many years and sometimes when speaking with our customers I can not help but scratch my head and wonder; how did this case get past the first court setting, or why is this defendant's bond set so high?

It makes perfect sense that innocent people get arrested or that a person may be charged with a criminal offense and the severity of what they are charged with is more extreme than what actually occurred. Complaints filed by police officers and charges accepted by the district attorney's office are for the most part based on information; the police officer or assistant district attorney were not there on the scene when the alleged offense occurred.

Part of our criminal justice system is supposed to be to determine what crime if any really did occur and then if a crime is believed to have been committed; prosecute it accordingly. The Texas Code of Criminal Procedure states that it shall be the primary duty of all prosecuting attorneys, including any special prosecutors, not to convict, but to see that justice is done.

Again I would like to state that I am not an attorney so my understanding of what I read in the world of legal reference is limited to that of a gnat.

However, (if) my understanding is correct then in effect the first duty of a (prosecutor) is not necessarily to prosecute but to discover evidence in order to make a decisive conclusion about how to further proceed.

I can not address the complexities of why a particular case is not dismissed quickly if in fact the defendant is innocent or why a charge is not quickly reduced to a lesser offense if the merits of the case are of such that the just action would be to do so. There is more at work behind the scene in the District Attorney's Office and in the private offices of criminal defense attorneys than I have knowledge of and so I can not offer intelligent commentary.

What I can write about is bail bonds in Houston and about where I see that common sense could and should be applied. What is considered to be just treatment is vastly different depending on the individual perspective; however certain basic principles of liberty and justice should always prevail.

The presumption of innocents is the most basic principle of our criminal justice system, and it seems that we have made a steady progression toward a presumption of guilt for many years in America. This is evidenced by bail schedules predicated on prior criminal record that seek to use bail as punishment rather than its intended use which should be solely based on appearance.

The theory is that because a possible new conviction increases the length of possible jail time that the potential flight risk of the defendant is also greater. In theory this is correct thinking, however the practical application of how we prosecute and incarcerate must also follow the economical concerns of state and local government. Therefore, in many cases possession of a small amount of narcotics by previous offenders is eventually plead for minimum jail time and should negate the theory of greater flight risk. Accordingly, it would seem like the proper action would be to set bail at a lower amount.

America's economic problems are high on the list of concerns; we have little choice but to address them.

My opinions are not meant to help the bail bond business in Houston they are simply common sense solutions that could help and help is needed anywhere and everywhere. Our blog is going to give our personal opinion for the next few weeks on a variety of criminal justice concerns..... so stay tuned and thanks for reading.
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