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The Missouri Supreme Court recently ruled on a case that defense attorney's and bail bond agencies had been keeping a close eye on.

Kirk Jackson, a man from the St. Louis area, brought the case to the states high court after a judge set his bail at  $75,000 cash-only after he was accused of invading people’s privacy by using a concealed camera in a massage therapy business.

The High Court ruled that no one's constitutional rights are violated when Judge's impose a cash only bond on people charged with serious crimes. 
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 When people are charged with crimes they sometimes contract with a bail bondsman who covers the bond for a fee. When judges set a cash-only bail, defendants must pay the full sum before they are released from jail pending trial. Bonds, in an amount set by the Court, are utilized to assure that people appear at subsequent hearings and/or trial. If the person fails to appear, they forfeit the bond and a warrant is issued for their arrest.
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 Jackson's attorney argued that cash-only bail should not have been allowed. He said it violates part of the Missouri Constitution stating “all persons shall be bailable by sufficient sureties, except for capital offenses, when the proof is evident or the presumption great.”
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Judge Alan Blankenship, the interim Presiding Judge for the 39th District, applauds the court's decision.  "This is a very instructive case and interprets the relevant Constitution and court rule provisions based on the language used and the historical context in which these provisions were enacted.  It has a very good and thorough discussion of bonding concepts and restrictions, and is consistent with our bond practices.  I will definitely use this case when teaching the subject of bail at Missouri's New Trial Judge Orientation."
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Attorney Mark Rundel is in a unique position as he is also a municipal court judge for several municipalities.  "The opinion issued by the unanimous Missouri Supreme Court was a fascinating history lesson on how appearance bonds have evolved in our criminal justice system. As a part-time municipal judge I usually permit surety bonds or a cash bond option.  If a defendant fails to appear and there is a surety bond, the resources of the bonding company are used to find the defendant instead of the limited resources of city.  I primarily issue warrants with cash only bonds to those defendants who have already plead guilty then fail to keep their promise to pay their fines and costs or perform other conditions of probation."
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Prosecutors throughout the state defended cash-only bail. They maintained that an adequate bail should be set to ensure that the defendant returns to court. Additionally, prosecutors highlighted another section of the constitution permits courts to impose special conditions.
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"As an attorney who does criminal defense on cases in state court, I understand certain cases may require restrictive bonds but to those defendants who are not a flight risk nor a danger to society, the ability to get out of jail and back to work and not be housed at the taxpayer's expense, the ability to post a bond benefits everyone.  Fortunately, we have good judges in our state court who will weigh these kind of factors in determining a proper bond,"  said Rundel.


Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/2012/10/30/3893339/missouri-high-court-rejects-challenge.html#storylink=cpy

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