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Bondsmen Pan Bail Overhaul Plan

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Bronx Criminal Court, New York state courts (Stephen Nessen/WNYC)

A proposal by New York's top judge to make big changes to the bail bonds system for criminal defendants is getting bad reviews from the bail industry.

Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman said in his annual State of the Judiciary speech Tuesday that judges should order supervised monitoring for nonviolent offenders, when possible. And when bail is required, Lippman wants not-for-profits to replace for profit lenders.

George Zouvelos, president of the New York Professional Bail Bondsmen and Agents, said his members will fight the proposals.

“We strive for personal profit,” Zouvelos said. “The professional bail bondsman brings important benefits for society. Changing the effective system of the status quo would be not only a mistake but catastrophic.”

Zouvelos said criminal defendants are often treated badly in the overburdened courts system, but the bail bonds industry is not the problem.

He also denied Lippman’s claim that the bail bonds industry fails to meet the needs of low-income New Yorkers who are unable to meet even low bail requirements.

“I do $1,000 bonds and $750 bonds by the ton,” Zouvelos said.

There are thought to be about 70 active bail bondsmen in the state.

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Comments [2]

Jack from Buffalo, NY

How many members are in the NYPBA? Just Zouvelos.

Feb. 14 2013 03:47 PM
BailInsights from Los Angeles

The bail industry is not only more effective in getting defendants back to court as compared to "not-for-profit" or shall we say, taxpayer funded pretrial release programs, but more importantly, the commercial bail bond industry costs the county $0. In fact, bail generates revenue for the county through premium taxes paid, court fees, and forfeiture payments. In fact, a study just completed in Dallas County, Texas by the University of Texas at Dallas, showed that the commercial bail industry saved Dallas County over $11 Million.

Lastly, someone needs to ask Judge Lippman what happens when someone let out through a pretrial program doesn't show up for court. Ask him who goes and gets that person to hold them accountable. The answer is no one does. A warrant is issued and then it becomes the responsibility of an already over-burdend law enforcement. The person is usually only caught after committing another crime and creating another crime victim. When someone is let out through a commercial bail bond agent, they show up for court or someone goes and gets them. Why? Because they are financially incentivized to do so....they are on the hook for the bond. If they don't get them back, the bail bond agent pays the full amount of the bond to the court. That is accountability. The result...the criminal justice system gets a chance to work, the county saves money, the community is safer, and crime victims get a chance at justice.

Feb. 07 2013 10:45 AM

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