News Stories Document Communities At Risk Due to Revolving Doors for Criminals.

The following news articles are proof positive of the dangers of bail reform policies around the United States. In many of these instances, defendants released on unsecured bonds/personal recognizance went on to recommit serious offenses while out of jail, creating a revolving door in county jails.

Many of these stories also paint the true picture of risk assessment tools – automated algorithms that perpetuate racial injustices by often incorrectly categorizing African-American defendants as higher-risk for reoffending while incorrectly categorizing white defendants as lower-risk.


New mother found dead days after accusing boyfriend of assault

By Jessica Willey
KTRK
October 13, 2017

“Less than a week since reporting her boyfriend beat her up, a brand new mother is dead and he is being investigated for murder, according to court records.”

“He was charged with beating up his girlfriend, Shanikia Johnson, last Friday.”

“Graves, the father of her 2-week-old baby boy and her boyfriend, was arrested for assault. He was jailed and hit with a protective order. The next day, swearing he couldn’t come up with the $5,000 in bail money, he was released on an unsecured bond.”

“On Sunday, a sister said she was pleading with Johnson not to let him into their apartment in north Harris County. Three days later, she said he was calling for help saying Johnson was unresponsive.”

“Less than a week since the alleged assault and jail release, Johnson, a reading specialist at Southmayd Elementary School, was dead.”

“In a letter to parents Thursday, her school’s principal wrote, “Our hearts go out to the friends and family of this educator, as well as to our school community as a whole. She was a wonderful reading specialist and friend who was loved by all. We will miss her greatly.””

“A family member is caring for the baby boy and another questions why Graves was out of jail in the first place.”


Repeat offenders not showing up for court dates after posting bond

By Phil Archer
KPRC
December 21, 2017

“But police are complaining that the fix has created a crisis that has made the county’s misdemeanor courts a revolving door.”

“The order essentially requires that misdemeanor suspects be released within 24 hours of arrest, whether they can pay bail or not, even if they have pending cases. So, most are given unsecured bonds.”

“Statistics recently compiled by the district clerk’s office show a large number of the suspects simply don’t bother to show up for court.”

“Since last June, over 8,000 unsecured bonds have been granted, but 3,500 of them were forfeited. That’s a forfeit rate of about 43 percent.”

“If it’s his first time to ever be arrested of that, of course, give him a second chance. Let him go out if he can’t afford to pay it, but not somebody who has 10, 15 or, in Mr. Franklin’s case, 34 times. How many times are we going to allow them to keep coming in there and get out?” Hunt said.


Kubosh: Texas can’t afford to give criminals Get Out of Jail Free card

By Michael Kubosh
Houston Chronicle
January 25, 2018

Yet a federal judge recently singled out this practice in Harris County, ruling it unconstitutional and ordering the release of most misdemeanor defendants from jail within 24 hours – an unreasonably short amount of time to properly vet their backgrounds.

Around 43 percent of those individuals later forfeit their appearance in court, compared to around a 5 percent forfeiture rate among those released in the traditional bail system.

Just this past October in Harris County, a father of a two-week-old baby boy was arrested and jailed for assault after his girlfriend, the new mother, reported his abuse to law enforcement. After swearing he couldn’t come up with the $5,000 needed to post bail, he was released on an unsecured bond. His girlfriend, a longtime Houston Independent School District elementary school teacher, was found dead just days later.

Without a money bail system, the gigantic cost of these reforms will inevitably trickle down to taxpayers. Some residents in New Jersey already are facing millions in tax hikes as a result of bail reform. In Harris County, defendants who are out on personal or sheriff’s bonds and fail to appear in court cost taxpayers approximately $34,000 per day, or around $12.5 million a year.


Crime-Predicting Algorithms May Not Fare Much Better Than Untrained Humans
By Issie Lapowsky
Wired
January 17, 2018

“There was essentially no difference between people responding to an online survey for a buck and this commercial software being used in the courts,” says Farid, who teaches computer science at Dartmouth. “If this software is only as accurate as untrained people responding to an online survey, I think the courts should consider that when trying to decide how much weight to put on them in making decisions.”

That report analyzed Compas’s predictions for some 7,000 defendants in Broward County, Florida, and found that the algorithm was more likely to incorrectly categorize black defendants as having a high risk of reoffending. It was also more likely to incorrectly categorize white defendants as low risk.

“Any tool whose machinery I can’t examine, I’m skeptical about,” Berk says.


Machine Bias: There’s software used across the country to predict future criminals. And it’s biased against blacks.
By Julia Angwin, Jeff Larson, Surya Mattu and Lauren Kirchner
ProPublica
May 23, 2016

“There’s software used across the country to predict future criminals. And it’s biased against blacks.”

“The score proved remarkably unreliable in forecasting violent crime: Only 20 percent of the people predicted to commit violent crimes actually went on to do so.”

“When a full range of crimes were taken into account — including misdemeanors such as driving with an expired license — the algorithm was somewhat more accurate than a coin flip. Of those deemed likely to re-offend, 61 percent were arrested for any subsequent crimes within two years.”


Murder of east Austin woman linked to series of robberies
By Calily Bien
KXAN
December 29, 2017

“A 19-year-old who police say went on a robbery spree on Christmas night has been linked to the deadly shooting of 30-year-old Ebony Sheppard.”

“The suspect then told the four victims they had 5 seconds to “run away or he would start shooting,” according to court documents. As the victims started to run away, the suspect began to yell out his count down. “However, the suspect then fired multiple shots” as they ran and struck two of the victims. The victims kept running through the creek bed to get away from the shooter.”

“APD Lt. Jason Staniszewski said in a press conference Friday that while Lewis was fleeing the scene in the Escalade, he ran over an individual who is now in serious condition.”

“Twenty-four hours later, police say Lewis saw Sheppard in the parking lot of the Sixty 600 Apartments. Shepphard was in the process of warming up her car to pick up her mother and 4-year-old son. Her family heard one gunshot and all ran to the parking lot where they found her lying on her back near her car, according to an arrest affidavit.”

“We are so happy that there’s a sort of closure, not complete, but now we know who did it,” said Sheppard’s aunt, Andrea Brown, who went on to say she feels her niece and her family was failed by the criminal justice system.

“This fellow is on a monitor — who in the world is monitoring him?” she asked, referring to the ankle monitor Lewis was wearing. “We’re paying parole, probation, supervisory people, we’re paying their salaries. There’s got to be some changes. I mean, I feel like I paid to have my niece killed, and that’s that’s — that’s not a good feeling.”


Port Authority PD: Harasser Who Smashed Woman’s Phone Had 3 Warrants
By Jerry DeMarco
Fort Lee Daily Voice
December 28, 2017

“Records show Wood — who has an extensive criminal history — was released in September, under New Jersey’s 2017 bail reform law, after being arrested on an assault charge.”

“A man who’d been harassing a woman grabbed her phone and smashed it as he ran from Port Authority police officers who arrested him after a struggle, authorities said Thursday.”

“”An investigation found that the suspect and victim were known to one another and that the suspect had been harassing the victim in person and via cellphone,” Pentangelo said.”

“Wood also had three active warrants, he said.”


Glen Rock Thieves Take Advantage of Increased Holiday Package Deliveries
By Rebecca Greene
TAPinto
December 27, 2017

“Rafael G. Del Rosario, 20, of Paterson and Anthony Chalas, 18, of Hawthorne were charged with receiving stolen property and littering in connection with two of the incidents on Lincoln Avenue.”

“Both were released on their own recognizance in accordance with New Jersey’s new bail reform system.”

“The alleged thieves were spotted by an off-duty Ridgewood police officer a few days after the incidents on Lincoln Avenue were reported. They were apprehended by Glen Rock officers who were on road construction detail.”


Fugitive freed by NJ bail reform back in Monmouth County jail
By Russ Zimmer
USA Today
December 15, 2017

“A suspect in a Middletown-Holmdel burglary spree was apprehended in Maryland and is back in local custody after she was twice let go because of new rules on bail in New Jersey.”

“After their arrest on Feb. 5, the couple was released pending trial because they were deemed unlikely to commit additional crimes and also likely to show up for court hearings based on the Public Safety Assessment, a computer-based risk calculation that considers the crime and the accused’s criminal history.”

“The PSA missed on Bostrom and Doherty. Within a couple of weeks of their release, they were arrested again for allegedly trying to sell some of the items they had stolen during the rash of burglaries for which they would soon be indicted.

Nonetheless, both defendants were released a second time thanks to the PSA, but with new requirements to report periodically back to the court. Neither did and both left the state.”


Gov. Martinez slams constitutional amendment reforming bail system
By Kate Bieri
KVIA
October 23, 2017

“In an exclusive interview with ABC-7’s New Mexico Mobile Newsroom, Martinez said, that as part of New Mexico’s bail reform, criminals will be able to walk out of jail with a simple promise they will appear in court.”

“It has been four months since the change and some voters have said they did not realize they passed a constitutional amendment that would release a majority of criminal defendants the morning after their arrest – without posting bond.”

“Frankly, the voters who voted for this amendment were misled,” Martinez said, “They were misled that the most dangerous would stay in jail, when in fact, we have murderers who are accused of murder and are walking among us.”

“It’s hugely concerning because they not only get out on their own recognizance, no one’s supervising them,” said Martinez.”

“Recently, the state was unable to get pre-trial detention on Tez Soto, a man accused of child abuse.”

“They get arrested again for committing new crimes or failing to comply with the conditions of release. They go back to jail, there’s a revolving door. They get back out onto the streets. They commit another crime. They get re-arrested. They go back to jail. The door revolves again and they come back out on the streets,” said Martinez. 


Murder suspect was set free twice in domestic violence cases, records show
By Thomas Moriarty
NJ Advance
February 6, 2018

A man charged with fatally shooting his ex-girlfriend Tuesday morning in Newark had been arrested twice recently on domestic violence charges involving the same victim and released from custody pending trial, according to court records.

Tiffany Wilson’s killing drew a pointed response from Newark Mayor Ras Baraka, who issued a written statement Tuesday afternoon blaming bail reform laws for putting Kareem Dawson back on the street.

“What happened this morning is a sobering example of why the flaws in bail reform must be fixed,” Baraka said.


Case Worker Charged With Sex Assault on Child He Was Assigned to Help
By Charlie Kratovil
New Brunswick Today
January 10, 2018

A 16-year-old child was allegedly taken advantage of by a case worker from a non-profit “care management organization” that was assigned to assist their family.

Miguel Garrido, the 23-year-old former case manager from Monmouth Junction, was arrested and charged with several crimes on November 17, according to the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office (MCPO).

Garrido is now facing several serious charges, including:

  • first-degree aggravated sexual assault
  • second-degree sexual assault
  • third-degree aggravated criminal sexual contact
  • fourth-degree criminal sexual contact
  • two counts of third-degree endangering the welfare of a child

Garrido was held at the Middlesex County Jail until November 27 and released under New Jersey’s new “bail reform” legislation to await his trial on the charges.


New mother found dead days after accusing boyfriend of assault

By Jessica Willey
ABC13

“Less than a week since reporting her boyfriend beat her up, a brand new mother is dead and he is being investigated for murder, according to court records.”

“He was charged with beating up his girlfriend, Shanikia Johnson, last Friday.”

“Graves, the father of her 2-week-old baby boy and her boyfriend, was arrested for assault. He was jailed and hit with a protective order. The next day, swearing he couldn’t come up with the $5,000 in bail money, he was released on an unsecured bond.”

“On Sunday, a sister said she was pleading with Johnson not to let him into their apartment in north Harris County. Three days later, she said he was calling for help saying Johnson was unresponsive.”

“Less than a week since the alleged assault and jail release, Johnson, a reading specialist at Southmayd Elementary School, was dead.”

“In a letter to parents Thursday, her school’s principal wrote, “Our hearts go out to the friends and family of this educator, as well as to our school community as a whole. She was a wonderful reading specialist and friend who was loved by all. We will miss her greatly.””

“A family member is caring for the baby boy and another questions why Graves was out of jail in the first place.”


Repeat offenders not showing up for court dates after posting bond

By Phil Archer
Click2Houston.com

“But police are complaining that the fix has created a crisis that has made the county’s misdemeanor courts a revolving door.”

“The order essentially requires that misdemeanor suspects be released within 24 hours of arrest, whether they can pay bail or not, even if they have pending cases. So, most are given unsecured bonds.”

“Statistics recently compiled by the district clerk’s office show a large number of the suspects simply don’t bother to show up for court.”

“Since last June, over 8,000 unsecured bonds have been granted, but 3,500 of them were forfeited. That’s a forfeit rate of about 43 percent.”

“If it’s his first time to ever be arrested of that, of course, give him a second chance. Let him go out if he can’t afford to pay it, but not somebody who has 10, 15 or, in Mr. Franklin’s case, 34 times. How many times are we going to allow them to keep coming in there and get out?” Hunt said.


Kubosh: Texas can’t afford to give criminals Get Out of Jail Free card

Yet a federal judge recently singled out this practice in Harris County, ruling it unconstitutional and ordering the release of most misdemeanor defendants from jail within 24 hours – an unreasonably short amount of time to properly vet their backgrounds.

Around 43 percent of those individuals later forfeit their appearance in court, compared to around a 5 percent forfeiture rate among those released in the traditional bail system.

Just this past October in Harris County, a father of a two-week-old baby boy was arrested and jailed for assault after his girlfriend, the new mother, reported his abuse to law enforcement. After swearing he couldn’t come up with the $5,000 needed to post bail, he was released on an unsecured bond. His girlfriend, a longtime Houston Independent School District elementary school teacher, was found dead just days later.

Without a money bail system, the gigantic cost of these reforms will inevitably trickle down to taxpayers. Some residents in New Jersey already are facing millions in tax hikes as a result of bail reform. In Harris County, defendants who are out on personal or sheriff’s bonds and fail to appear in court cost taxpayers approximately $34,000 per day, or around $12.5 million a year.


Crime-predicting Algorithms May Not Fare Much Better Thank Untrained Humans

By Issie Lapowsky
Wired.com
January 17, 2018

“There was essentially no difference between people responding to an online survey for a buck and this commercial software being used in the courts,” says Farid, who teaches computer science at Dartmouth. “If this software is only as accurate as untrained people responding to an online survey, I think the courts should consider that when trying to decide how much weight to put on them in making decisions.”
That report analyzed Compas’s predictions for some 7,000 defendants in Broward County, Florida, and found that the algorithm was more likely to incorrectly categorize black defendants as having a high risk of reoffending. It was also more likely to incorrectly categorize white defendants as low risk.

“Any tool whose machinery I can’t examine, I’m skeptical about,” Berk says.


Murder of east Austin woman linked to series of robberies

By Calily Bien
KXAN
December 29, 2017

“A 19-year-old who police say went on a robbery spree on Christmas night has been linked to the deadly shooting of 30-year-old Ebony Sheppard.”

“The suspect then told the four victims they had 5 seconds to “run away or he would start shooting,” according to court documents. As the victims started to run away, the suspect began to yell out his count down. “However, the suspect then fired multiple shots” as they ran and struck two of the victims. The victims kept running through the creek bed to get away from the shooter.”

“APD Lt. Jason Staniszewski said in a press conference Friday that while Lewis was fleeing the scene in the Escalade, he ran over an individual who is now in serious condition.”

“Twenty-four hours later, police say Lewis saw Sheppard in the parking lot of the Sixty 600 Apartments. Shepphard was in the process of warming up her car to pick up her mother and 4-year-old son. Her family heard one gunshot and all ran to the parking lot where they found her lying on her back near her car, according to an arrest affidavit.”

“We are so happy that there’s a sort of closure, not complete, but now we know who did it,” said Sheppard’s aunt, Andrea Brown, who went on to say she feels her niece and her family was failed by the criminal justice system.

“This fellow is on a monitor — who in the world is monitoring him?” she asked, referring to the ankle monitor Lewis was wearing. “We’re paying parole, probation, supervisory people, we’re paying their salaries. There’s got to be some changes. I mean, I feel like I paid to have my niece killed, and that’s that’s — that’s not a good feeling.”


Port Authority PD: Harasser Who Smashed Woman’s Phone Had 3 Warrants

By Jerry DeMarco
Daily Voice
December 28, 2017

“Records show Wood — who has an extensive criminal history — was released in September, under New Jersey’s 2017 bail reform law, after being arrested on an assault charge.”

“A man who’d been harassing a woman grabbed her phone and smashed it as he ran from Port Authority police officers who arrested him after a struggle, authorities said Thursday.”

“”An investigation found that the suspect and victim were known to one another and that the suspect had been harassing the victim in person and via cellphone,” Pentangelo said.”

“Wood also had three active warrants, he said.”


Man charged with killing boy with car remains out on bail, despite 3 new arrests

By Michaelangelo Conte
NJ.com
December 27, 2017

“A man accused of killing an 8-year-old boy with his car in 2015 remains out on bail, despite being arrested at least three times this year. “

“But Roe’s PSA score, which took into consideration all the charges pending against him, resulted in his release under conditions of supervision which include checking in with Pretrial Services twice per month.”


Glen Rock Thieves Take Advantage of Increased Holiday Package Deliveries

By Rebecca Green
Tap Into.net
December 27, 2017

“Rafael G. Del Rosario, 20, of Paterson and Anthony Chalas, 18, of Hawthorne were charged with receiving stolen property and littering in connection with two of the incidents on Lincoln Avenue.”

“Both were released on their own recognizance in accordance with New Jersey’s new bail reform system.”

“The alleged thieves were spotted by an off-duty Ridgewood police officer a few days after the incidents on Lincoln Avenue were reported. They were apprehended by Glen Rock officers who were on road construction detail.”


Fugitive freed by NJ bail reform back in Monmouth County jail

By Russ Zimmer
USA Today
December 15, 2017

“A suspect in a Middletown-Holmdel burglary spree was apprehended in Maryland and is back in local custody after she was twice let go because of new rules on bail in New Jersey.”

“After their arrest on Feb. 5, the couple was released pending trial because they were deemed unlikely to commit additional crimes and also likely to show up for court hearings based on the Public Safety Assessment, a computer-based risk calculation that considers the crime and the accused’s criminal history.”

“The PSA missed on Bostrom and Doherty. Within a couple of weeks of their release, they were arrested again for allegedly trying to sell some of the items they had stolen during the rash of burglaries for which they would soon be indicted.

Nonetheless, both defendants were released a second time thanks to the PSA, but with new requirements to report periodically back to the court. Neither did and both left the state.”


Gov. Martinez slams constitutional amendment reforming bail system

By Kate Bieri
KVIA
October 23, 2017

“In an exclusive interview with ABC-7’s New Mexico Mobile Newsroom, Martinez said, that as part of New Mexico’s bail reform, criminals will be able to walk out of jail with a simple promise they will appear in court.”

“It has been four months since the change and some voters have said they did not realize they passed a constitutional amendment that would release a majority of criminal defendants the morning after their arrest – without posting bond.”

“”Frankly, the voters who voted for this amendment were misled,” Martinez said, “They were misled that the most dangerous would stay in jail, when in fact, we have murderers who are accused of murder and are walking among us.””

“”It’s hugely concerning because they not only get out on their own recognizance, no one’s supervising them,” said Martinez.”

“Recently, the state was unable to get pre-trial detention on Tez Soto, a man accused of child abuse.”

“”They get arrested again for committing new crimes or failing to comply with the conditions of release. They go back to jail, there’s a revolving door. They get back out onto the streets. They commit another crime. They get re-arrested. They go back to jail. The door revolves again and they come back out on the streets,” said Martinez. “


Machine Bias

By Julia Angwin, Jeff Larson, Surya Mattu and Lauren Kirchner
Propublica.com
May 23, 2016

“There’s software used across the country to predict future criminals. And it’s biased against blacks.”
“The score proved remarkably unreliable in forecasting violent crime: Only 20 percent of the people predicted to commit violent crimes actually went on to do so.”

“When a full range of crimes were taken into account — including misdemeanors such as driving with an expired license — the algorithm was somewhat more accurate than a coin flip. Of those deemed likely to re-offend, 61 percent were arrested for any subsequent crimes within two years.”

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