With law enforcement being under unprecedented scrutiny these days, it seems that many public officials and prosecutors are “pressured” into filing charges against law enforcement officials even if they know there may not be enough evidence to convict the defendant in a court of law. Most recently, police officer Edward Nero (a Baltimore MD) police officer was acquitted of all charges in the high profile death of Freddie Gray. Freddie Gray suffered a spinal cord injury while in police custody which lead to his death. This event set off a series of protests and riots which culminated in 6 police officers being charged in connection with his death. Another officer that was charged in the case had his trial end in a hung jury.
In an article published in the New York Times written by Jess BidGood and Timothy Williams, they report that according to a professor of law at the University of Baltimore “The judge did seem to create a hierarchy of responsibility and say that Officer Nero was at the bottom, now, let’s see as we go up whether or not anyone else is sufficiently responsible as to be criminally liable.”
The article goes on to say that “For Officer Nero’s trial, Ms. Mosby’s team of prosecutors tried an unusual legal theory: that he and Officer Miller exceeded their authority by handcuffing, moving and searching Mr. Gray without first questioning and patting him down, as the law requires — essentially turning a lawful detention into an unlawful arrest. The prosecutors said that Officer Nero had committed misconduct by arresting Mr. Gray without probable cause, and that any physical contact they had made with him while doing so amounted to second-degree assault.”
You can read the entire article in the New York Times here: Police Officer in Freddie Gray Case Is Acquitted of All Charges
Below is a video that talks about the acquittal and how some people are not happy about it
While on the heels of the acquittal mentioned above, a former St. Louis, Mo police officer has just been charged with first degree murder for a shooting he was involved in from 2011. According to Christine Byers of the St. Louis Post Dispatch, former officer Jason Stockley was arrested and charged with first degree murder for the on duty shooting of Anthony Lamar Smith.
In the article Byers reports “Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce’s office on Monday charged Jason Stockley, 35, of Houston. St. Louis police and U.S. marshals arrested Stockley on Monday at his home in the 6300 block of Chevy Chase Drive in Houston.”
According to the article, during a high speed police pursuit, Stockley is heard on audio saying “I’m going to kill this (expletive deleted), don’t you know it.”
City prosecutor Jennifer Joyce is quoted in the article as saying “I’m disappointed because I know what fine public servants the vast majority of police officers are, and this kind of conduct on the part of this former officer doesn’t reflect the excellent work I see from them every day,” Joyce said. “So it’s disappointing in that regard, but it’s important that people understand that if you commit a crime, and we have the evidence to prove it, it doesn’t matter to us what you do for a living. Our job is to hold people accountable if we have the evidence. And in this case, we do.”
The entire article can be seen here
While Stockley is being held without bond in Harris County, Tx, once transferred to St. Louis, Mo he will probably request a bond hearing. If a bond is set as “secured,” Stockley would probably want to hire the best bail bondsman St. Louis Mo has to offer to help with his release.
With what seems like an increasing anti police sentiment currently circulating the country, one state, Louisiana in particular is considering making attacking the police a hate crime. In an article by Ray Brown of America Now, he quotes Chuck Canterbury, the national president of the Fraternal Order of Police as saying “Talking heads on television and inflammatory rhetoric on social media are inciting acts of hatred and violence toward our nation’s peace officers. Our members are increasingly under fire by individuals motivated by nothing more than a desire to kill or injure a cop.”
Brown goes on to say in his article “Although violence against police officers was at an all-time low in 2015, the Washington Post notes, police groups have said there is a growing threat against them because of increased scrutiny of police conduct, especially in regards to shootings of unarmed suspects.”
You can read Brown’s full article here
Like in any profession, there are going to be some “bad apples.” These people should certainly be dealt with on an individual basis and be held accountable under law for whatever actions they may have taken. However, just because there are a few “bad apples” in a group, this does not mean the entire group is bad.
Before rushing to judgment or caving into public sentiment in ruining someone’s life or career in order to save your own, facts should be examined, and then, and only then if the facts present themselves should the appropriate action be taken.
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In simple terms, when a suspect is arrested for an alleged crime, a bail amount is set. The suspect then needs to post that bond as a “guarantee” that he
or she will appear in court until the case is disposed of in some capacity. While the suspect has been charged in the case, he has not been convicted,
and in order to be convicted he must have due process under our laws.
Recently, many activist groups believe that bail is unfair. Their position is that if you have money, you can post bail and get out of jail while awaiting
your court appearances. If you don’t have money, the groups say you must sit in jail, and their position is that this is not fair.
A recent article by Sukey Lewis titled “$2 Billion Bail Bond Industry Threatened by Lawsuit Against San Francisco” goes into detail about the position
this group is taking. According to Sukey “more than 60 percent of people in California’s jails haven’t been convicted of a crime, according to the
Public Policy Institute of California. Some are there because the crime with which they are charged is so grievous that they don’t qualify for bail.
But many are locked up because they can’t afford to pay bail.” Sukey also reports that a federal judge in Oakland will hear arguments claiming that
the San Francisco jails violate the constitutions equal protection clause.
If you would like to read the entire article click here: $2 Billion Bail Bond Industry Threatened by Lawsuit
You have to remember that bail is designed to ensure a court appearance. In general, it has nothing to do with guilt or innocence. If you don’t post
bail, and have to sit in jail, then you will be guaranteed to make your court appearance. Because the sheriff, marshall, etc will transport you there,
that virtually guarantees your court appearance.
However if you are released from jail, and don’t post bail, there is really no “incentive” for you to show up in court. If you don’t show up, a warrant
will be issued for you. Then maybe, maybe a law enforcement agency will make a small effort to arrest you if they can locate you at an address they
have on file. If not, there is no certain time frame in which the suspect will be arrested and it could be years before a case is disposed of.
And by the way, when the suspect/defendant is arrested and brought back to jail, it will be done at the taxpayers expense. What role does the Bail
Bond Industry play in all of this? Well, the bail agency that posted the bond would track the defendant down in a timely manner so he can be brought to
justice. In addition to that, it does not cost the taxpayer one cent to make this happen.
Again, bail has nothing to do with guilt or innocence. There are many people who were tried in a court of law and found guilty, and then years later were
found to be innocent. A recent article in the Washington Post by Radley Balko talks about prosecutorial guidelines and conduct. Balko references four
men who sat in prison for years for a murder they did not committ.
In fact, Balko says “the four, along with a fifth who also was convicted, were eventually cleared through the work of a commission that investigates
innocence — but not until they’d served years in prison, including several years when a judge says the prosecutor and sheriff “did nothing to follow up
on” another man’s confession.”
You can read the entire article here titled “The culture of conviction”
Another very important thing to remember is just because somebody committed a crime, and maybe even confessed to it, they still must be found legally
guilty in a court of law. So yes, they may be guilty of doing the crime, but until a court says they are guilty they are presumed innocent by law.
For example, just the other day in St. Louis, MO, a man robbed a bank and lead police on a high speed chase. There were eywitnesses who saw him do this
as well as other evidence. So while we can all say “yes he did this crime,” he is still not guilty until found so by a court of law. And while he is
awaiting his court appearance, if he is looking for the most professional bail bonds St. Louis mo has to offer he should call Bob Block Bail Bonds at
You can see an article about this incident here: Police stop bank robbery suspect driving wrong way on I-270
Below is a video of the incident as well:
To sum it up, when a defendant is released with no bond, or a bond they post on their own, they may or may not go to court. If they don’t, there is no
time frame on when the defendant will be arrested and brought to justice. But rest assured, when they are it will be at the tax payers dollar.
In contrast, when a Bail Bondsman posts a bond, the bondsman guarantees the defendants appearance in court at their own expense to ensure the defendant
is brought to justice.