Friday, August 8, 2008
In an odd set of circumstances, the Detroit Mayor was jailed after leaving the country to do business in Canada. See Holly Watt, Washington Post, Detroit Mayor Jailed for Violating Bail Conditions The mayor has been the subject of a state prosecution, an outgrowth of what has been called a "text message scandal." And according to the Detroit Free Press he may have some new charges. See M.L. Errick, Jim Schaefer, Ben Schmitt & Joe Swickard, Kilpatrick faces felony assault charge after his night behind bars. Some thoughts:
1. A standard provision in most bail orders is that one can't leave the country. And whether one thinks they are guilty or not, once charged and on bail it is necessary to abide by the conditions of bail.
2. Detroit is mere minutes from the Canadian border, and his argument appears to be that he was doing business for the city. Should the need for this kind of activity been accounted for in the bail order?
3. If in fact more charges are added against the mayor, is this an appropriate time to add these additional charges?
Once charged with a crime, one has the reality that even though they have not been found guilty, and may never be, they are being punished and under restraint. In many ways this goes against the system of justice we advocate - one that requires proof beyond a reasonable doubt prior to punishment. But the pre-trial constraints can often hamper a person's activities and this is a clear example of just that.