Look who’d really gain from the drive to end bail
A New York Post Editorial
On June 20, the New York Post ran an editorial about the bail system. We have highlighted some of the important details here:
“The larger myth concerns how many people are locked up awaiting trial because they can’t post bail.
The truth? “The vast majority of defendants” are actually let free without bail, notes James Quinn, a 37-year assistant in the Queens DA’s Office. Bail is set in “only a very few” cases, particularly when it comes to misdemeanors.
And those few cases largely involve people who have shown they are unlikely to show for their court dates — for example, because they’ve failed to show in past cases.
Of some 700 misdemeanor arraignments in Queens during one week last March, Quinn noted, bail was set for only 43 — 43! — defendants. That’s less than 6 percent.
Such folks would be the core candidates for the speaker’s taxpayer-funded, get-out-of-jail-free card. Yet these 43 people collectively boasted 478 prior arrests, 340 prior convictions and 114 prior bench warrants, and faced charges in 93 other current cases.
Criminal Justice Agency data shows nearly 25 percent of those set free under supervision after an arrest wind up arrested on other charges while awaiting trial for the earlier arrest.
But bail is a key — and sometimes necessary — incentive for defendants to show up in court. If taxpayers let everyone go free without posting their own bail, it will only lead to more crime. And, ironically, more jailings.”