Broward County's bond schedule will change on May 18, 2015. Many crimes that once carried "convenience bonds," or predetermined bond amounts that allowed an arrested person to post a monetary bond before seeing a judge may now be eliminated. The purpose of this new order by Broward's Chief Judge is to bring more accused people before the first appearance judge.
This will likely result in higher bonds for repeat offenders, more Pretrial Services bonds for first-time offenders, and longer calendars in morning and afternoon bond court.
This change comes after a few high-profile cases where repeat offenders were able to get out of jail by posting relatively small bonds. While out on bond, they reoffended.
Politicians - such as judges - are afraid of negative press. What is typical is to create a blanket policy that punishes everybody, such as the complete unraveling of Broward County's bond system.
You will now see significant jail overcrowding as people will be held in custody for longer periods of time.
Bad idea across the board. Convenience bonds are a good thing. Serious crimes, such as armed robbery and murder, are non-bondable anyway, ensuring that the most dangerous offenders remain in custody.
All other accused people should be entitled to bond out of jail right away instead of spending needless time in custody.
Eric Matheny is a criminal defense attorney representing clients in bond hearings, bond reductions, and all bond matters in Miami-Dade County and Broward County, Florida.