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Today's thug of the week is a walking, talking, one-man, crime wave. James Lee is a m/w who lives in the "Nutbush" area of Memphis. He is also a member of the "Dirty Dozen" gang and has been arrested over 40 times. He has entered a guilty plea in 20 cases, mostly for burglaries.
He was last arrested on 10/2/08 on a bench warrant, then was "held to state" on October 8th, and got out of jail on a $25,000.00 bond. I presented this guy to the commanders of the MPD this morning in the TRAC meeting, and I must say they all agreed with me. This guy has shown a propensity for being a burglar in the past - numerous times - yet he gets a $25k bond? Given his record, he should have gotten no bond, because now he is out, and do you think he might be doing burglaries to pay his lawyer and repay whoever loaned him money for his bond?
This is a big reason we have such a problem in Memphis. Bonds get set on people who have no business being unleashed on the public. Unfortunately, there is a schedule in the TCA that suggests how much bail should be for certain things. Maybe we need to tie that amount to the number of offenses, so that it costs 10,000 per previous conviction, plus the new charge. This guy would have a bail of about 180,000.00 and I think that would keep him on the cold steel of the jail cell.
40-11-118. Execution and deposit — Bail set no higher than necessary — Factors considered — Bonds and sureties. —
(a) Any defendant for whom bail has been set may execute the bail bond and deposit with the clerk of the court before which the proceeding is pending a sum of money in cash equal to the amount of the bail. Upon depositing this sum, the defendant shall be released from custody subject to the conditions of the bail bond. Bail shall be set as low as the court determines is necessary to reasonably assure the appearance of the defendant as required.
(b) In determining the amount of bail necessary to reasonably assure the appearance of the defendant while at the same time protecting the safety of the public, the magistrate shall consider the following:
(1) The defendant's length of residence in the community;
(2) The defendant's employment status and history and financial condition;
(3) The defendant's family ties and relationships;
(4) The defendant's reputation, character and mental condition;
(5) The defendant's prior criminal record, record of appearance at court proceedings, record of flight to avoid prosecution or failure to appear at court proceedings;
(6) The nature of the offense and the apparent probability of conviction and the likely sentence;
(7) The defendant's prior criminal record and the likelihood that because of that record the defendant will pose a risk of danger to the community;
(8) The identity of responsible members of the community who will vouch for the defendant's reliability; however, no member of the community may vouch for more than two (2) defendants at any time while charges are still pending or a forfeiture is outstanding; and
(9) Any other factors indicating the defendant's ties to the community or bearing on the risk of the defendant's willful failure to appear.
(c) (1) Whenever a court's judgment includes the requirement that the defendant pay a fine or cost, the court may require that the payment of the fine or cost be secured by surety bond or other appropriate undertaking if such defendant has a history of past due fines and costs. A parent, guardian or other responsible party may be permitted to act as surety in order to guarantee the payment of the fine or cost.
(2) Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary, unless the surety executes a bond or agreement which specifically makes the surety liable for the fine, cost, or restitution, no surety shall be held liable for the fine, cost or restitution without the surety's consent.