This Bill would virtually eliminate the fundamental constitutional
right to bail in criminal cases and simultaneously let hardened criminals out
of jail for free because they say they are poor. In addition, this Bill undermines
judicial discretion in determining pretrial release by creating a system of “catch
This legislation will cost the State of Florida hundreds of
millions of dollars, which will instead go toward new criminal welfare
programs. This move will also put out of business hundreds of
multi-generational, mom and pop commercial bail companies, which are mostly
minority and women owned businesses. These companies deal with criminal
defendants on a daily basis at no cost to the citizens so that justice can be
done...and victims have their day in court.
Criminal Justice Reform has been marketed around the country as a
cure-all for our increasing crime problem, but in reality these reforms end up
weakening accountability in the criminal justice system by fundamentally making
it easier for repeat criminals to get out of jail.
To compound the problem, the use of new ”black box” computer
algorithms are supposedly going to be able to predict who is going to commit
another crime and who is going to flee. These computer algorithms have
already been found to not only be ineffective but also have the potential to
unfairly racially profile defendants. Ask New Jersey how well that is
working out for them—their new bail computers, which began in January 2017, are
handing “get out of jail free” cards to “low-risk” heroin dealers, child
sex offenders, gun criminals, and hardened gang members. Even prior
felons are being released on nothing more than a “pinky promise” to appear. HB 967 will destroy criminal accountability in Florida, give
repeat criminals a free pass, all while wiping out an entire private industry
that has served our communities for over 200 years…at ZERO cost to taxpayers.
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Bill H.B. 967