In a not-so-surprising follow-up to yesterday's post about a Miami Police Officer who had been charged with armed kidnapping and sexual battery, the officer is being held in the Miami-Dade County Jail without a bond.
This is not a vindictive move on the part of the court. Florida specifically designates certain offenses as non-bondable offenses.
In simple terms, any crime that carries a maximum sentence of life in prison is deemed a "non-bondable offense."
This includes first-degree felonies punishable by life (1st PBL) and life felonies.
Offenses designated as life felonies require an Arthur Hearing in order for the court to possibly set a bond.
An Arthur Hearing is a specialized court proceeding whereby the state must prove the charges to the judge (no jury). The burden that the state must meet in order to prove the charges in an Arthur Hearing is higher than the burden that the state must meet at trial. If the judge finds that the state has met this burden, then the court must assess whether the accused is a danger to the community and what pretrial detention measures should be taken.
The court may issue a bond, may impose house arrest, or may continue to hold the accused in jail without a bond.
If the court finds that the state did not meet its burden, the court will set a bond of some sort.
An Arthur Hearing should be set by your criminal defense attorney as soon as the accused is arrested. There is no legal requirement that a person wait a set amount of time before filing for an Arthur Hearing. The law says that an information (charging document) doesn't have to be filed in order for the court to hold an Arthur Hearing. What that means is that you can have your Arthur Hearing prior to your arraignment.
Eric Matheny is a criminal defense attorney serving Miami-Dade and Broward.