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June 2, 2016

"Rich Defendants’ Request to Judges: Lock Me Up in a Gilded Cage"

The title of this post is the headline of this lengthy front-page New York Times article.  Here are excerpts:

Last October, Ng Lap Seng, a Chinese billionaire indicted on charges that he bribed the former president of the United Nations General Assembly, was granted bond of $50 million, secured by $20 million cash and a Midtown apartment where he would be confined and subjected to GPS monitoring and round­the­clock guards at his own expense.

Many thousands of people arrested in New York languish in the city’s jails because they are unable to make even modest bail. So advocates for prisoners and lawyers for indigent defendants say the idea that some defendants are able to stay out of jail because they have the means to finance a novel confinement plan is blatantly unfair.

“It just reinforces for me the point that our entire system of pretrial detention is predominantly based on wealth,” said Inimai M. Chettiar, a lawyer at the Brennan Center for Justice who runs an initiative to end mass incarceration. Joshua Norkin, a lawyer at the Legal Aid Society of New York, said the elaborate bail package that was being proposed for Mr. Zarrab and that was granted to Mr. Ng should remind judges in the state court system that they have the tools to release low-­income people “on alternative and more creative forms of bail, and they’re failing to do it.”

The cases of wealthy defendants’ receiving special bail conditions are not limited to international defendants. In 2009, Marc S. Dreier, a Manhattan lawyer who pleaded guilty to running an elaborate scheme that defrauded hedge funds and other investors of $700 million, was granted a $10 million bond pending trial and remained in his East Side apartment, secured by electronic monitoring and armed security guards, which his family paid for.

June 2, 2016 at 08:06 PM | Permalink

Comments

Read this article yesterday -- seems very tricky since we are dealing with legally innocent people and bail is supposed to be in place to safeguard them being there on trial, not as some sort of punishment mechanism. IF the rich have the means to provide this while others do not, not sure why they shouldn't have the chance since again they are legally innocent etc.

The article suggested there was some concern in certain cases that the personal "gilded cages" had some concerns in that respect -- some evidence that they could not be trusted. But, the ultimate thing that came from it was the appearance of unfairness that others with less money were not offered alternatives pending trial. And, at least in many cases, that is quite possible -- especially for relatively minor crimes -- and a select few rich people shouldn't get special treatment just because they have money. Since EVERYONE is legally innocent here.

Posted by: Joe | Jun 3, 2016 10:26:39 AM

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