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John Oliver calls out inequality in the bail-bond system in US Courts

Thursday, June 11, 2015

June 6, 2015. The Washington Post reports on how Comedy talk-show host, John Oliver, is shining the bright light of comedy-truth on the darkest secret of the United States Justice System.  The Bail-Bond systems disproportionately punishes the poor who often have to choose between criminal charges of which they are innocent or sitting in jail for months waiting for a trial if they can't afford to post a bail bond. A Bail Bond is a cash payment posted by a person charged with a criminal to guarantee their appearance in court. Increasingly, even non-violent, administrative type criminal offenses are being required to post bail bonds in the thousands of dollars.  While the rich easily post bond and bail bondsmen get rich, according to John Oliver, up to forty percent of jail populations in the United States consist of people who have not been convicted, are presumed innocent, but can not afford to post a bail-bond. This doesn't even address the potential for corruption that breeds around Sheriff's who have absolute discretion on who they will allow to serve as bail-bondsmen in their counties; and, lawyers who pay bail-bondsman for illegal referrals which often prevents honest and truly talented lawyers from competing in the market place and showers riches on plea-dog lawyers who never try jury trials and brow-beat almost all their clients to plead guilty.  John Oliver is a proponent of pretrial release programs which are fundamentally fairer to the poor and less fortunate in society. 

-Author: George Creal



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