‘Being fair and also being careful’: Discussing bond reform in Metro Detroit

Bond is meant to ensure defendant returns to court

The Local 4 Defenders are digging into why some criminals are let back onto the streets only to commit more crimes.

DETROIT – The issue of bond reform is being discussed across Metro Detroit.

Judges say there is a fine line between safety and what’s fair. Martin Jones is on the Detroit Board of Police Commissioners.

“What we have to have in a community, in our society, is we have to have some semblance of law and order,” Jones said.

Jones said in some cases defendants post a low bond and are out in hours. He said violent offenders need a high bond.

“We want the people that need to be off the street to be off the street,” Jones said.

On Monday, Detroit police chief James White announced the arrest of Elvin Shepard, 44, who was charged with the vicious beating of a 63-year-old. White said Shepard was given a high bond, $250,000 cash.

“That’s important. We do not want this person back on the street to further victimize,” White said.

Bond is meant to ensure the defendant returns to court.

“We have to really be of the mindset of being fair and also being careful,” 36th District Court Judge Kenneth King said. “I have to weigh the interest of making sure the defendant shows up for court, making sure that they don’t pose a danger to the community but also that they have a constitutional right to bond, to a fair, reasonable bond.”

Prosecutors in Washtenaw County do not ask for a cash bond and said cash bonds are unfair to the people who cannot pay them.

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About the Authors:

Local 4 Defender Shawn Ley is an Emmy award-winning journalist who has been with Local 4 News for more than a decade.

Kayla is a Web Producer for ClickOnDetroit. Before she joined the team in 2018 she worked at WILX in Lansing as a digital producer.