A Georgia woman accused of conspiring with two individuals to kill her husband is unable to post a $100,000 bond and remains in jail, according to her lawyer.
Her two alleged accomplices were released on $20,000 bail. The 36-year-old Thomasville woman is accused of unsuccessfully conspiring with the two Bahamas natives to kill her husband while they were on the Abaco Islands, a few months after the couple filed for divorce.
The husband filed first, alleging adulterous conduct and irreconcilable differences. The wife countered that she “incurred debt beyond her means to pay” and her husband should be forced to assume.
According to a law enforcement source, police successfully foiled the plot by acting on crucial information on a phone recovered during a separate criminal inquiry into a recent local business break-in. Written messages found on the phone indicated the existence of the sinister plot. The identity of the phone’s owner remains unclear. As the investigation continues, the police source did not provide further details on the matter.
Attorneys representing all three defendants appeared in court during a Friday arraignment, according to court documents. The judge has yet to rule on a bail modification request.
The Importance of Pretrial Release
With the possible exception of Mrs. Puff, no one wants to be in jail. Incarceration is more than unpleasant. It’s unhealthy and detrimental to your criminal defense.
When the cell door closes, cortisol production multiplies. These stress hormones trigger the “flight or fight” instinct. Running or fighting releases these hormones. But in jail, neither fighting nor running is an option. Therefore, these stress hormones accumulate in the brain. Prolonged exposure to these hormones causes brain damage. “Prolonged” could be a few months or a few hours, depending on the individual.
Brain injuries are usually permanent. Many people know at least one person who went to jail as one person and came back as someone else. Sometimes, the change is for the better. Usually, it’s for the worse.
There’s more. Pretrial detention also makes the job of a Marietta criminal defense lawyer much harder, especially in the current environment.
Frequently, solid criminal defenses require extensive investigation. Attorneys must interview witnesses, review law enforcement documents, and the list goes on. If a defendant is behind bars, the defendant is often tempted to skip this process and plead guilty, just to get it over with.
Additionally, incarcerated defendants only have limited contact with their attorneys. Close attorney-client partnerships generally produce the best results. Pretrial detention makes such a partnership impossible.
Pretrial Release Laws
The Eighth Amendment limits government powers to punish criminals and detain them before trial. This provision was probably inspired by the bizarre case of Titus Oates in the 1670s.
Oates was a charismatic scoundrel who repeatedly perjured himself to both civil and religious authorities. One contemporary described him as “a church vermilion with a Moses face.”
In 1678, he told English king Charles II that Catholics planned to assassinate him. He gave authorities over 500 names of alleged conspirators. Although he produced no evidence, he charmed a royal minister into believing him. A few months later, one of Oates’ cohorts was found dead. Oates blamed Catholics, again without any evidence, and the king authorized mass arrests. Over the next three years, fifteen innocent men went to the gallows.
The drama ended in 1685 when James II succeeded Charles II. Oates was tried, convicted, incarcerated, and sentenced to be “whipped through the streets of London five days a year for the remainder of his life.”
William and Mary, the Duke and Duchess of Orange, pardoned Oates in 1689, but by then his reputation was in tatters. He died in obscurity in 1705.
Pretrial Release Options
In countries like Russia, the central government passes laws and also implements them. If people don’t like the implementation, that’s too bad. But in the United States, the central government frequently passes laws, and the states decide how to implement them.
That’s the case with the reasonable bail requirement in the Eighth Amendment. Under the Constitution, defendants are entitled to pretrial release unless they’re a flight risk or a public menace, at least in most cases. In terms of implementation, three alternatives are available in Georgia:
- Own Recognizance: First time, nonviolent offenders facing misdemeanor charges are usually entitled to pretrial release. The sheriff releases the defendant if s/he promises to adhere to certain conditions. Public menace offenses, mostly DUIs, are the primary exception.
- Cash Bond: Almost no one is eligible for pretrial release, but almost everyone is eligible for cash bond release. Usually, the sheriff sets a presumptive bail amount during booking. If the amount is too high, a Marietta criminal defense lawyer can often reduce it at the arraignment. Mor eon that below.
- Bail Bond: This form of pretrial release is basically a cross between cash bond and OR release. Instead of paying almost nothing or a huge amount of money, $100,000 or more in a serious case, the defendant pays about 10 or 15 percent to a bonding company. Then, if the defendant skips bail, the bonding company assumes the financial risk.
Presumptive bail is usually based on the defendant’s criminal record and the severity of the offense. These factors have little bearing on flight risk and public menace. At the arraignment, a Marietta criminal defense lawyer can use additional factors, like the amount of money the defendant can pay, to reduce bond amount.
Bond Forfeiture Issues
The aforementioned conditions of release, which apply in all three forms of pretrial release, usually include generic and offense-specific conditions. Generic conditions include remaining in the county and appearing at all required hearings. Offense-specific conditions include an IID (ignition interlock device) in a DUI and a keep-away order in an assault.
The criminal justice process usually lasts at least several months. So, most defendants violate at least one bail condition.
Generally, the judge gives the defendant a chance to make amends. If the defendant misses a court date, especially a procedural hearing, most judges will reschedule it. If the defendant doesn’t get an IID by the deadline, most judges will extend the deadline. Judges make these accommodations if a Marietta criminal defense lawyer immediately goes to the judge and asks. Defendants who ignore the problem usually fare much worse.
If the judge forfeits bail, law enforcement officers could arrest the defendant at any time. Arrest warrants have no expiration date. Voluntary surrender is a much better alternative than random arrest at some future date. Voluntary surrender, as arranged by a Maretta criminal defense lawyer, often takes care of the warrant and bail-jumping charge in as little as one morning or afternoon.
Pretrial release is vital, but it’s not immediately available to everyone. For a free consultation with an experienced Marietta criminal defense attorney, contact The Phillips Law Firm, LLC. Virtual, home, and jail visits are available.