Bail or Jail?

By Frank Gayaldo

March 14, 2017

Is Mayor Silva’s bail finally fair?


Former Mayor Silva’s bail was originally set at a headline grabbing $1 million dollars more fit for the likes of fictional character Dr Evil. Especially since a recent cop killer’s bail was only $500,000, our readers have been asking hard questions. 
 Judge Ronald Northup reduced his bail to $350,000. 
This is still a totally unusually high bail amount for this type of alleged white collar crime where the district attorney has yet to provide a dollar figure on what they are alleging he stole. Is the DA alleging they have SO FAR discovered Silva embezzled one dollar, “$75,000”, “hundreds of thousands”, “millions” or “maybe millions”? This is a foundational question that no one will answer. 
The Eighth Amendment guarantees all American’s reasonable bail…unless you are the former Mayor of Stockton. 
Normally the advice of pretrial services is followed when determining bail. So what did they suggest? That Silva be released on his own recognizance…meaning that he simply sign a promise to appear and walk out the jail door. Just like anyone else would charged with similar offenses. 
Normally a judge might keep the defendant’s passport, possibly (but again not usually) fit him with a GPS ankle bracelet, and then treat him like everyone else. 
Now Silva has three choices:
1) Remain in jail
2) Pay the full $350,000 directly to the court, all of which would be fully refundable as long as Silva made all his court appearances
3) Use a bail bondsman who will typically charge a 10% ($35,000) nonrefundable premium. If the defendant fails to appear to any of his/her court dates, the full amount of the bail ($350,000) becomes due, typically six months from the initial failure to appear. 
One thing is for certain: “normal” is never normal in the 209. 
*209 Times contributor Frank Gayaldo is among other things a former “bail enforcement agent”. 

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