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NCJ Number
Federal Probation Volume: 57 Issue: 1 Dated: (March 1993) Pages: 9-14
J G Carr
Date Published
6 pages
Argument is presented for the elimination of the use of bail bonds as a condition of release pending trial by all Federal courts.
Although the Federal Bail Reform Act of 1984 permits Federal courts to require financial conditions such as a cash bond, property bond or a bail bond to assure the presence of a defendant at trial, the majority of districts no longer use bail bonds. The rest of the Federal courts are urged to eliminate the use of bail bonds. According to the author, bail bondsmen serve no purpose that cannot be better performed by the courts themselves. By ordering a corporate surety bond, courts turn the power to decide whether a defendant will be released pending trial over to the bail bondsman since there is no obligation for him to provide bail if he finds there is a risk of flight. Once bail is given, the only means the bondsman has for assuring the appearance of the defendant at trial is the collateral he has taken. Courts can impose and monitor a range of nonfinancial conditions that may be more effective in securing the defendants presence in court. Furthermore, there is no evidence that bail bondsmen are more successful in apprehending fugitives once a defendant has jumped bail than are Federal law enforcement agencies.