Proposal for 12/27: Bail Fund Account

Posted by & filed under Assemblies, Past Proposals.

“The accounting working group, with your consent, would like to move $100,000 dollars from the NYCGA general fund to establish an account with the sole purpose of posting bail.  This is an effort to ensure that we are able to continue to post bail for those arrested going into the spring.”

18 Responses to “Proposal for 12/27: Bail Fund Account”

  1. Sally Marks

    If there is no money for necessities, bail could be a moot point.

    Funds are needed for everything. No one basic human need is more important than another. Should people go without just in case, the money is needed at a later date for bail?

    A better train of thought is to simply watch the budget overall.

  2. Yoni Miller

    I’ve heard many people say they wanted to make a separate bail account with sole intent of getting rid of the money, so that we can focus on what needs to be done, instead of bickering over a few hundred dollars here and there. I appreciate the intention, because the greed is ironically killing us, and we need to get our shit straight, I do not support this proposal though.

  3. Voter March

    A segregated bail fund is an excellent idea. It would be well received by the Legal Working Group and the National Lawyers Guild, both of which I am a member of. A bail fund would ensure that bail money is available and would ease the administrative burden of approving bail on short notice. The posting of bail goes to our basic constitutional right of being free pending a trial.

    However, I believe that a friendly amendment is appropriate, especially in light of the media publicity about an Occupier who had bail set at $35,000 for allegedly possessing an unlicensed 45 calibre handgun and in further violation of an out-of-state protection order.
    See article in Gothamist at
    http://gothamist.com/2011/12/22/gun-toting_occupy_wall_street_prote.php

    I would suggest that the bail fund be subject to:
    * Checks and balances to ensure proper approvals and internal controls;
    * The arrest have some nexus with an approved OWS direct action;
    * No bail for alleged crimes of murder, rape, arson, illegal handgun possession, or possession of hard drugs;
    * No bail for more than $3,000 per arrest incident; and
    * All arrestees receiving bail money have a personal legal obligation to return the money to the bail fund at the end of their criminal case.

    • Bob

      I think your suggestions are right on!
      No supporting illegal hand guns! F that! I can’t believe the legal team considered that. It disgusted me.
      $3,000 isn’t enough though. Maybe $15,000. Judges are crazy sometimes.

    • Bob

      It couldn’t hurt to specify exactly what that “personal legal obligation to return the money” would be, in the proposal.

  4. Patrick Conway

    I agree with Voter March on all points.

    I’m also wondering who approves the requests for access to the bail fund for arrested individuals? The GA, I suppose? If so, this might not cut down on bail discussions all that much.

    This is a large amount, and there are large questions associated with the administration of the fund which aren’t covered in any way by this too-short proposal. I suggest that more time is needed in developing it; I can’t support it as it is, but with much more refining, I could.

  5. Justin Strekal

    “However, I believe that a friendly amendment is appropriate, especially in light of the media publicity about an Occupier who had bail set at $35,000 for allegedly possessing an unlicensed 45 calibre handgun and in further violation of an out-of-state protection order.”

    OWS did not post that bail, it was provided by a outside donor. I really do like your proposed friendly amendments and hope you put them forward either tonight or as a separate proposal in the future

    • Voter March

      @Justin “frindly amendments”

      Sorry, could not make it to the GA meeting and risk another relapse of bronchitis standing out in the rain. If we need a separate written proposal, just let me know…

  6. grimwomyn

    I will not be able to come, but I think this is the wisest thing that i have heard to come out of the NYCGA. Twinkle twinkle.

  7. quinn

    I also agree with Voter March on most points, except for the hard $3,000 limit, since there is no way to know what a judge will set the bail at. I mean, I wouldn’t put it past a judge to set the max bail + $1 or something.

    Also, bail is paid for and returned to the surety, not the arrestee, so we should strike the part about the arrestee having to return the money to the bail fund.
    http://www.nyc.gov/html/dof/html/services/services_bail.shtml

    • Voter March

      @quinn “3,000 limit”

      Agreed that a Judge has discretion to set bail. However, we need to be practical and we cannot allow one $100,000 bail to wipe out the entire bail fund.

      @quinn “arrestee having to return the money to the bail fund.”

      Agreed, the bail money is returned to the surety. However, there are situations, such as where the defendant fails to show up on a scheduled Court date, where a Judge can cancel the bail and jail the defendant. In those cases, the defendant would be personally responsible for reimbursing the bail fund.

      • quinn

        So we agree on no hard $3000 limit?

        And if they are a no-show, then the FA shld be written differently (not only in the event of the end of their criminal case).

        • Voter March

          I think there needs to be a hard limit, because otherwise the funds can get depleted by 1 or 2 large bails. The prior limit was $1,000 which was too low. I am suggesting $3,000.

  8. Lopi

    I support this proposal w voters friendly amendments attached. Sorry I can’t make it. I’m down with whooping cough and standing in the rain for hrs won’t help none. Good luck! Twinkle fingers

  9. kevin henson

    Yes! Create seperate bail fund before the money is gone. This spring will be so important and preperation is necessary. Special interests and undercovers will insure the money dissipates. Secure it now.

  10. Lopi

    either that or we should definitely give all of our money to mcdonalds. BTW, seriously? how much money are we paying so people can sleep in mcdonald’s???? what the fuck, people. what the fuckity fuck. I am sure all of those people that donated their hard earned money to fight for economic justice wanted it to end up in the pocket of one of the grossest corporations on the face of the planet. This is off topic, my apologies, but I just heard about this and I feel nauseousness