Imagine that your daughter has been beaten and raped. You rush to the hospital and find her in ICU fighting for her life. Homicide detectives come and try to get information from her in case she dies. She is hooked up to machines you don’t understand. Healthcare workers are talking in a language you don’t understand. The prosecutor is talking in legalize which you don’t understand. You are drowning in thousands of important details, sick with worry, and powerless. And the man who beat and raped your daughter is busy revictimizing her with the help of his defense team.
Let me be clear: our presumption that defendants are innocent until proven guilty is a foundation of our judicial system. It is flawed, but our system is what makes our country great. We want to error on the side of the accused. That being said, when you are the victim of violent crime being vulnerable, philosophical and altruistic is going to work against you.
In my son’s case while he was ICU his stabber had:
bailed out of jail with a cash bond; and
retained a team of defense attorneys.
You need to find out as soon as possible some information (have a friend do this if you don’t have the strength).
What type of bail did the defendant get? There are different types of bail (the following information is from herbertbailbonds.com:
Recognizance Release This type of bail bond comes in second to citation release in terms of its ease for you. No money is needed, just a promise on your part that you will appear before a judge on the given date. Once you sign the paperwork, you will then be released from custody. Although no money is charged for release, there is a fine for not appearing in court.
Cash Bail Cash bail is pretty self-explanatory: It is bail that is paid in cash. You can pay any bail in cash as long as you have access to the money needed.
Surety Bond When you need to get out of custody and do not have access to cash, the only way to get back to life is to work with a bail bondsman. The first type of bond that a bail bondsman can offer you is a surety bond. This type of bond is secured by paying 10% of the bail amount to the bondsman with the promise to show up in court when called upon.
Property Bond Property bonds are not accepted in all states, but they are used in California on occasion. With this type of bond, the full rights of the property must used as collateral. Many different types of property can be used, but real estate is the most common.
Federal Bail Bonds When a federal crime is in question, only federal bail bonds can be used. These bonds proceed similar to property bonds in that the transaction is done directly with the court, without the use of a bail bondsman. Both cash and property can be used to obtain this bail bond.
Immigration Bail Bond This type of bail bond is only used for non-citizens and non-residents present in the United States. Due to the lack of legal status of the arrest party, it is difficult to obtain and specific criteria must be met for eligibility. A bail bondsman can help you, but you should seek out someone who has experience with immigration bail bonds.
Tip: Determine the type of bond your attacker got – ask the victim advocate, police or prosecutor. Why? Because that will give you a good indication with whom you are dealing. Of all the options, a cash bond is the worst option for the victim – be wary. In my son’s case, his attacker made a cash bond. Knowing that would have suggested 1) his parents had access to $35,000 cash and 2) his parents were going to protect him from the consequences of his behavior.
Tip: Are there other details assigned by the judge at arraignment? For example, are there no contact orders, protection orders, etc. put in place? In my son’s case, six no contact orders were issued for victims and witnesses who were university students.
Tip: Who are the defense attorneys? Find out. Had I bothered to find out information about the lead defense attorney (and their whole legal team) I would have learned that:
They were a former prosecutor (so knew the prosecutor’s office from the inside).
After the trial, this attorney was chastised by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals for past misconduct: http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/crime/appeals-court-judge-troubled-by-king-county-prosecutors-actions/). The behavior speaks to lack of character, but also a willingness to win at all costs. While we went into the process with respect for the law, we were dealing with an adversary who had none.
Check out the defense’s website. In my son’s case, the defense’s website describes the type of clients they represent: people who shake their babies, child molesters, rapists and other violent people.
Check out the defense's law school and its rank on US News and World Report.
Finding out this troubling information would have prepared us. Tip: If you are the victim of violent crime find out all you can about the parties involved.
During the Casey Anthony trial the defense attorney told the world that Casey’s father, George Anthony, made Casey perform oral sex on him. George Anthony was completely blindsided by this fiction during the trial. (This narrative was withdrawn after Casey’s acquittal.) Our system formally allows defense attorneys to lie. Be prepared.
My advice: if you hear anything at trial that is a lie regarding the victim – attack the lie as publicly and as quickly as you can. That day. The prosecutor won’t like it but remember the prosecutor will not clean up those lies for you. In my son’s case, The Seattle Times published those lies as fact.