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Bail Bonds: Small Victory Over Pretrial Release

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

See the article below released by The St. Pete Times regarding county officials deciding not to oppose limits on pretrial release. An excerpt is below:

Pretrial release: The bail bonds industry won a subtle victory during last week's meeting.

The county had opposed bills last spring that would have restricted the number of people eligible for release from jail without bond. Bail bonds lobbyists pressed hard for the bills, which sought to limit the pool to poor people.

Sheriff Jim Coats said the effect would cost taxpayers $5 million to staff and operate extra jail space, because fewer people would be released.

"Obviously that kind of goes against the point of the bail bondsmen and folks being able to pay their way," Harness said.

Commissioners Neil Brickfield, Nancy Bostock and Norm Roche objected, leading to a 3-3 vote that muted the county's voice against any legislation for the upcoming session. Karen Seel was absent.

"This is a case of the government competing directly against bail bondsmen," said Brickfield, who did public relations work for bail bonds companies before being elected in 2008.

Click on the following link to read the entire article, Pinellas County sets lobbying priorities, beach nourishment among them.