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‘Montgomery is under siege’ district attorney says of crime

Published: Jan. 24, 2022 at 1:07 PM CST|Updated: Jan. 24, 2022 at 6:48 PM CST
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Montgomery County District Attorney Daryl Bailey says the capital city “is under siege” after spending his entire weekend dealing with the city’s violent crime.

Bailey said the city’s crime is an issue that needs to be addressed, stating, “We’ve got to start sending messages that this behavior is not tolerated.”

Bailey hopes the Alabama Supreme Court’s ruling raising bail amounts for those charged with murder will help keep them behind bars.

The high court’s order raises the maximum bail amount for murder charges in the state. Previously, a murder suspect’s bail could be set at $150,000. Now it can go up to $1.5 million.

According to Bailey, his office has seen suspects get arrested for murder, bail out of jail, and then go on to commit further crimes, including additional murders.

“We have had two murders committed by people already out on bond for murder in the recent past,” Bailey added.

So, what is bail? According to the DA’s office, bail allows a suspect awaiting trial to get out of jail in exchange for a promise (usually money) to ensure they appear in court.

The purpose of bail, Bailey said, is for public safety.

“What people don’t understand is right now, as it stands in the state of Alabama, the only way that they can have no bail when they are arrested is if it’s a capital charge,” Bailey said. “I know people don’t really understand the difference between capital murder and murder but just the difference I can share with you right now is capital murder is when someone kills someone in the course of committing another dangerous felony.”

For instance, Bailey said, if the murder happens during a robbery.

Bailey also spoke about his vision of doing away with cash bonds, an option he said is bad for public safety.

“You know, if you and I go and commit a crime together...you’re rich, I’m not...we commit the same crime, you get out because you’re rich, I stay in because I’m not rich, I’m poor. That’s not public safety,” Bailey said.

Bailey said he would like to see the county transform into a system similar to the federal system.

“In other words, once someone is caught, apprehended by law enforcement, brought before a magistrate or a judge, that judge then determines whether the person is a danger to public safety. And if they are, keep them locked up. Let’s don’t give them the opportunity to get back out,” Bailey said.

Bailey added that the community, especially parents, need to step up. He added that in one of the city’s recent murders, the parents were aware the suspect had access to a gun.

“Parents, you got to go through your child’s bedroom, you got to go through your child’s things, you got to go through your child’s social media,” Bailey added. “There is rarely a murder committed today, or a shooting committed today, that does not have a social media component. So, parents have got to be parents, they’ve got to step up to the plate, start watching what their children are doing.”

Doing that, Bailey said, could save your child’s life or keep them from spending it in prison.

Below are some additional details the district attorney’s office released on bond:

The main types of bail are release on own recognizance, cash, property, and bail bondsman.

1. Release on own Recognizance: accused is released without any form of monetary payment based on their reputation and insignificance of the offense charged

2. Cash: A judge can order that an accused pay the entire sum of the bail prior to being released

3. Property: property must be equal or more to the bail amount

Factors considered by the Court when setting bail:

1. The age, background and family ties, relationships and circumstances of the defendant.

2. The defendant’s reputation, character, and health.

3. The defendant’s prior criminal record, including prior releases on recognizance or on secured appearance bonds, and other pending cases.

4. The identity of responsible members of the community who will vouch for the defendant’s reliability.

5. Violence or lack of violence in the alleged commission of the offense.

6. The nature of the offense charged, the apparent probability of conviction, and the likely sentence, insofar as these factors are relevant to the risk of nonappearance.

7. The type of weapon used, e.g., knife, pistol, shotgun, sawed-off shotgun.

8. Threats made against victims and/or witnesses.

9. The value of property taken during the alleged commission of the offense.

10. Whether the property allegedly taken was recovered or not; damage or lack of damage to property allegedly taken.

11. Residence of the defendant, including consideration of real property ownership, and length of residence in his or her place of domicile.

12. In cases where the defendant is charged with a drug offense, evidence of selling or pusher activity should indicate a substantial increase in the amount of bond.

13. Consideration of the defendant’s employment status and history, the location of defendant’s employment, e.g., whether employed in the county where the alleged offense occurred, and the defendant’s financial condition.

Bail Schedule: Any enhancement statutes related to the charged offense. The bail schedule is set by the Alabama Supreme Court.

1. Everyone is entitled to bail unless charged with Capital Murder and if charged with Capital Murder the judge can release on bail within their discretion.

2. If a person has been sentenced less than 20 years, then at the Judge’s discretion they may be released on an appeal bond.

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