Man Dies In Jail Because He Could Not Post a $160 Bond

An allegedly drunk 54-year-old man who is diagnosed with a mental disorder was arrested by policemen in Calhoun, Georgia while walking down the road, supposedly a minor crime. Instead, the man spent a week in jail unable to pay the cash bond. Now the man is the center of a movement to dismantle the foundation of the American criminal justice system.
 
According to NBC News report “The man, Maurice Walker, spent a week in jail because he was unable to pay the $160 cash bond required of anyone arrested for “being a pedestrian under the influence of alcohol.
 
While he waited to see a judge, a civil rights law firm took up his case, filing a lawsuit that accused the city of violating the Constitution’s guarantees of due process and equal protection by keeping poor defendants accused of minor crimes jailed before trial.
 
The case drew interest around the country, with police and bondsmen siding with the city and the U.S. Department of Justice filing a brief in support of Walker. It has landed before a federal appeals court, where it is being watched as a potential bellwether for reform.”
 
Read full article at nbcnews.com
 
While the case above has drawn criticism about the defendant not being able to post a bail bond,a recent case in St. Louis, MO does not appear to drawing the same attention.Jo’Von Mitchell, will be face charges of armed criminal action and first-degree assault on a law officer that he shot on Thursday night in St. Louis County. The police officer, whose name was not revealed, was released after treatment for his two wounds on his left arm. Suspect’s cash bail will set at $250,000.
 
As reported in stltoday.com says that “Four officers went to his home in 10400 block of Royal Drive in Castle Point neighborhood of north St. Louis County, about 10:40 p.m. to arrest him on a warrant charging him with felony unlawful use of a weapon for allegedly firing a shot in his neighborhood that hit a vehicle on July 12. Nobody was hurt that time.After the officers knocked on his door, Mitchell came out a side door and starting shooting.”
 


 
Sgt. Shawn McGuire said “Officers did not have a chance to return fire before he went back inside. One officer used a patrol car to rush his wounded colleague to a hospital while the two others kept watch pending arrival of help. A tactical operations unit surrounded the home.At 2:15 a.m. Friday, Mitchell and two women came out voluntarily. The women were not held.”
 
Police Chief Jon Belmar says “The officer is ready to go back to work after treatment for two wounds in his left arm that might have been caused by one shot or two.” Belmar said he didnt know when the officer would return to duty and it’s possible that more charges might be filed against Mitchell later.
 
While bail is not designed to be a punishment, it is designed to encourage an individual to show up in court for any hearings until his or her case is disposed of. Whether or not cash bail, and when it is imposed is a violation of ones constitutional rights, is something that the courts will be weighing in on soon.
 
Featured image courtesy of nbc.com
 
 


 
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St. Louis Police Chief Drops Out of Mayoral Race To Focus On Crime Fighting

 
The police chief of St. Louis, Sam Dotson, recently made a decision to drop out of the mayoral race. Upon entering the race, Dotson was rebuked by Mayor Francis Slay, and because of that, he is now willing to direct his focus again towards fighting crime, just as the mayor advised. He was planning to announce his candidacy after the presidential election, however, the mayor publicly made an announcement, calling him out.
 
An article by riverfronttimes.com states that “Dotson said the mayor’s statement forced his hand, and he decided to announce early. He spent the following weeks defending his candidacy from rivals, including Alderman Antonio French, who insisted Dotson couldn’t both run a campaign and effectively police the city. French is also running for mayor.”
 
Dotson said “After giving this a great deal of thought, I decided I could best serve my city by staying on as chief, and not running for mayor,” he said. “Crime is the number one issue in our city. To combat it, we need less politics, not more.
 
Additionally, the article reports that “Dotson said Slay has urged him to work to stop violent crime.”
 
Instead of running for mayor, Mayor Slay urged me to focus on working with him to unite our city around a comprehensive plan to reduce the violence that is so corrosive to our city,” Dotson said. “This morning I told him I would.” 
 
To read more go to riverfronttimes.com.
 
With the numerous violent crimes committed in St. Louis, Mayor Slay probably cannot afford to lose one reliable police officer over a mayoral candidacy. With the lack of trusted crime-busting officials in St. Louis, there are already reports about homeowners trying to defend themselves from criminals. This is happening more and more around the St. Louis metropolitan area such as the case of a suspected car thief shot dead by the homeowner, reported by stltoday.com.
 
At about 1 a.m., Shawn Jimenez, 31, of Lake Saint Louis, is said to have tried stealing a homeowner’s  2009 Volkswagen Passat, where he was eventually found dead. The unnamed homeowner sustained no injuries. According to Chris DiGiuseppi’s account, he received a 911 call from a townhouse owner on Monterey Cyprus Drive at 12:51 a.m.
 
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To be more specific, basing on DiGiuseppi’s account, the article states that “At 12:51 a.m., a resident of a townhouse on Monterey Cyprus Drive called 911. He had heard his car alarm and went outside to confront a man trying to steal the car. He called to tell police shots had been fired and he needed assistance.”
 
Additionally, according to the report, “When officers arrived, they found the Passat about a block away, on Quail Meadows Court, where it had struck a home. In the driver’s seat was a man who had been shot. He died at the scene. Officials did not say if he was armed.”
 
The article also stated that the police are “investigating to determine whether the shooting was justified” and that police are also looking into “how the suspect got there and whether anyone else was involved, DiGiuseppi said.”
 
For a place in need of very urgent help when it comes to fighting violent crimes, Dotson is right when he said that St Louis needed less politics and more effective and dedicated policing. Citizens need to be able live their lives knowing they are safe and protected, instead of having to protect and defend themselves.

 

 

Featured image credit:Riverfronttimes.com

 


 
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Predictive Policing- Good or Bad For the Criminal Justice System?

 
In a period where people are gripped with fear of crime and violence, the words “predictive policing” are comforting to hear. They are a perfect combination of advanced technology and predicting human behavior, which are two of the current human obsessions nowadays. They are also believed to address crime-related issues that most countries in the Western World, particularly, the United States, are obsessing about. This can be observed by how law and order is being pushed in this year’s presidential campaign.
 
In a recent article published in the AEON blog about predictive policing, it states that “a system that effectively anticipated future crime could allow an elusive reconciliation, protecting the innocents while making sure that only the truly guilty are targeted.”
 
Additionally, reports say “based on statistical analysis of crime data and mathematical modeling of criminal activity, predictive policing is intended to forecast where and when crimes will happen. The seemingly unassailable goal is to use resources to fight crime and serve communities most effectively. Police departments and city administrations have welcomed this approach, believing it can substantially cut crime. William Bratton, who in September stepped down as commissioner of New York City’s police department – the nation’s biggest – calls it the future of policing.”
 
However, issues of concern also arise with regards to predictive policing. The article says that “the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has issued multiple warnings that predictive policing could encourage racial profiling, and could finger individuals or groups selected by the authorities as crime-prone, or even criminal, without any crime.”
 
More specifically, the article says “But even if predictive policing cuts crime as claimed, which is open to question, it raises grave concerns about its impact on civil rights and minorities.”
 
Read the full article here: aeon.co
 
Fighting and addressing crimes is important in order for citizens to be assured they are living in a safe community. Predictive policing may be necessary as long as it is implemented well and ensuring that all rights are being considered. This is not a process for authorities and courts to use as a means to convict a person even with poor evidence for racism reasons, like in the case of George Allen, who spent most of his life in jail for a crime not fully proven as his doing. While George Allen was eventually released from jail, it came a little too late.
 
According to an article published in the St. Louis Post Dispatch, part of George Allen’s letter about his life in jail goes: “??Jail has stolen away my dreams … the truth is hard to swallow…with all the ferocious fighting in prison, your everyday dreams become far and few in between which is a low-down dirty shame…”?
 
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Allen, 60, died of natural causes last Oct. 16 and was laid to rest on Wednesday. He was found by his family in his bedroom. Allen faced murder and rape convictions even with very poor evidence, but he was freed after these convictions were reversed and spent four years of freedom before his death.
 
Allen’s mother, Lonzetta Taylor, 85, said, “??I prayed and cried for 29 years for God to let me see my son walk out of that prison.”
 
According to reports on his release, “George Allen is joined by family and supporters upon his release from prison in Jefferson City on Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2012. A judge earlier in the month overturned Allen’s conviction in the murder of Mary Bell in St. Louis. Allen spent almost 30 years behind bars.”
 
While predictive policing might be the solution to reducing crime to the lowest rates, fair consideration and proper implementations should be observed to make the true criminals pay and the innocent be vindicated.

 

Featured image courtesy of govetech.com

 

 


 
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Source: @Stl_Bail_Bonds October 31, 2016 at 01:26PM
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Getting Released From Jail Without Posting Bond May Soon Be a Reality

 
 
There are 9 counties in Indiana that will begin using special tools that will help them determine if someone can be released from jail without bail and not pose a threat to society. These reforms are expected to go into effect in all courts on Jan. 1, 2018. It wouldn’t be surprising to see these reforms make their way into the St. Louis area either. When, and if they do, if you are a bail bondsman in St. Louis, Mo this will most likely affect your business.
 
There are stories being reported about a stroke victim that died in jail, and he was only there for smoking pot. There is another circumstance where a Virginia man who was charged with a misdemeanor for smoking marijuana in his own home died in jail in after he could not afford $100 for bail.
 
An article in the Cleveland.com about bail reform says “Bail reform is about victims’ rights too, Pennsylvania officials say: Prominent Pennsylvania legal minds are calling on the state to reform broken bail systems that jail low-level, poor defendants while wealthier people convicted of more serious crimes pay their way out.
 
“It’s time to . . . stop locking up low-risk individuals who will be worse because they were locked up for being poor, not for being a risk to public safety,” Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections John E. Wetzel and Pennsylvania Victim Advocate Jennifer R. Storm wrote in a column for pennlive.com, in which they encouraged a panel that is examining the bail system to move forward with reforms.”
 
To read the full article go here cleveland.com
 
It is important to recognize that the bail reform proposed above seems to be only relevant to circumstances where the accused would not be a risk to public safety. It would not apply to circumstances in which the accused is charged with a violent crime or could be considered a danger to the community, like in sex trafficking crimes.
 
Over the past 10 years, law enforcement agencies from throughout the country have been faced with an upward trend of sex trafficking crimes at an alarming rate. It is common for these crimes to take place in hotel rooms, and often times the perpetrator will share the victim’s photos online. Washington University, located in St. Louis, MO has assembled a group of researchers that are using cutting edge technology and science to help prevent these crimes. They are using a high-tech approach to help combat the sex trafficking trade.
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A recent article at source.wustl.edu states “researchers from Washington University in St. Louis are using science to fight back, developing a high-tech approach to combat the sex trafficking trade. Teaming up with a nonprofit organization called the Exchange Initiative, Robert Pless, professor of computer science and engineering at the School of Engineering & Applied Science, and research associate/doctoral candidate Abby Stylianou have designed a new, web-based application that helps fight sex trafficking by targeting the places where the crimes usually occur.”

 

Robert Pless, professor of computer science and engineering at the school said “my lab works to create new ways of understanding and using images collected by webcams and smartphones.” Pless also said “In this project, we are working to build new technologies tools to fight sex trafficking — first, by making tools so everyone can contribute data to fight these horrible crimes; and second, by creating new image-analysis tools so law enforcement can best use these images in investigations.”

 

The app was described in the article as working as follows. “The app, called TraffickCam, allows travelers to upload images of their hotel rooms to a database. Law enforcement officers can search the database to pinpoint where a particular photo was taken, in order to track down where a victim has been. Developed by Pless and Stylianou to maximize the accuracy and usefulness of the imagery, TraffickCam is a user-friendly, high-tech approach that allows citizens to fight one of the fastest-growing and most heinous crimes in our country today.

 

TraffickCam is simple to download and use, and is available on both iPhones and Androids. Once installed, it allows travelers to easily take photos of their hotel rooms, provide an exact location, then upload the photos to the database, which is only accessible by law enforcement officers.”

 

While bail reform might be a good idea for petty crimes or possibly even in circumstances where the offender is not a danger to society, it is probably not a good idea to take the reform to far. People who commit serious crimes must be held accountable for their actions and justice must be served. The only way justice can be served is if the accused goes through due process in a court of law. Posting bail increases the chances that an individual will appear in court and justice will be served.

 


 
 
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