Friday, August 8, 2008

Detroit Mayor Jailed -Doing Legitimate Business But Violating Bail Order?

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.

(esp)

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Comments

He was jailed for one day, which is the same anyone would have received under that same judge for violating the terms of the bail agreement.

Does it really matter when they would bring the other charges of assault? They were going to bring the charges against him whether he violated his bail or not.

As far as him doing official business, this would have been no big deal. All he had to do was notify the court that he was going to Canada, and that would have been that. Instead, he decided, like he always does, that somehow he is above the law, and he rightfully paid for it.

Posted by: ummmm | Aug 9, 2008 4:07:00 AM

The general bond condition is that one can't leave the STATE without permission. I practice in a county that borders Ohio, and the courts here will usually allow trips to Ohio for work or for medical treatment without approval being sought on an instance-by-instance basis in advance. Probationers are usually allowed to go from here to Ohio without advance notice, provided they do not stay overnight. Extraditing someone from another state, if they refuse to return, is usually a 60-90 day process. Extraditing from another NATION can take years, even if someone could stand in Hart Plaza in Detroit, and look across the river, and see Mayor Kilpatrick standing in Dieppe Park on the river in Windsor, Ontario. The international boundary certainly did not help his argument of "business as usual" when he was caught having gone abroad without permission.

Posted by: Greg Jones | Aug 12, 2008 1:22:53 PM

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