WHAT ARE THE FACTORS THAT A JUDGE LOOKS AT WHEN DETERMINING BAIL AMOUNT?
When setting bond for a defendant, a judge typically considers several factors, including the defendant's criminal history, the nature and severity of the current charges, the defendant's ties to the community, and the defendant's employment status and financial resources. The judge may also consider the defendant's past compliance with court orders and the risk that the defendant may flee or pose a danger to the community if released on bond. Additionally, some jurisdictions may have specific guidelines that dictate how bond should be set in certain cases. Here is a quick list of possible considerations.
The defendant's flight risk
The defendant's criminal history
The severity of the alleged crime
The defendant's ties to the community
The defendant's employment status and financial resources
The defendant's mental health and substance abuse history
The defendant's family situation
The defendant's risk of reoffending
The defendant's history of appearing in court
The defendant's potential danger to the community or specific individuals.
This case addresses the following issue: State v. Robertson, 455 P.2d 570 (Kan. 1969).
What are the factors that a judge looks at when determining bail amount?
This case explored the topic of what factors a judge looks at when her or she is determining he bail amount for a particular defendant. In exploring this topic, the court concluded that the judge should be guided by consideration of the nature of the offense. Id. at 572. Additionally, the judge may consider the propensity of the defendant for the crime as indicated by previous convictions and the judge must consider the probability of escape. Id.
The defendant appealed from a conviction, judgment and sentence in the district court for robbery in the first degree. Id. at 571. The defendant was sentenced as a repeat offender for a period of no less than thirty years. Id. Furthermore, the defendant had three prior felony convictions in the same county in which he was found guilty for the first degree robbery. Id.
The defendant argued that the bail required by the district court was unjustified and excessive. Id. The amount of bail was fixed by the presiding judge at $25,000. Id. In addition, no proceedings to obtain a reduction of bail appeared in the record. Id. However, the record did show that the defendant had committed three previous felonies. Id.
In order to address this argument, the court examined the factors necessary to determine a bail amount. Id. The court determined that the amount of bail rested in the sound discretion of the presiding judge. Id. at 572. Also, the court noted that the purpose of bail was to insure the presence of the prisoner at a future hearing. Id. Furthermore, according to the court, fixing the amount of bail by a presiding judge should be guided by a consideration of the nature of the offense as shown by the proof thereof. Id. Moreover, a presiding judge may consider the fondness and propensity of the defendant for crime as indicated by his or her previous convictions. Id. Also, a presiding judge must consider the probability of the defendant escaping. Id.
The court held that no hard and fast rule could be laid down for fixing the amount of bail on a criminal charge. Id. Each case must be governed by its own facts and circumstances, and a court that is reviewing a lower court’s decision should not interfere with the decision of the presiding judge except where a clear abuse of authority by the presiding judge was shown to deny the defendant of his or her due process of law and affect his or her substantial rights. Id.
After considering all of these factors, the court determined that there was no clear abuse of authority by the presiding judge and the $25,000 required bail amount was not unjustified or excessive. Id.