Two US Court of Appeals Wins for Victims, Taxpayers, and Law-Abiding Citizens!!!

Within one week, two separate US Court of Appeals ruled Money Bail and Bail Schedules Are Constitutional

Last week, the US Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit granted a stay of order in O’Donnell v. Harris County against activist Federal Judge Lee Rosenthal’s ruling in Harris County Texas. The Appeals Court reversed Rosenthal’s clearly biased and wrongful injunction that all misdemeanor defendants must be released from jail within 24 hours regardless of a Circuit Judge requiring bail. The Appeals Court reaffirmed there is no constitutional right to affordable bail and the mandated release of defendant whether it was 24 hours or 48 hours presents public safety risks and irreparable harm to those in surrounding communities. Though the Appeals Court made the same ruling in February, 2018, and mandated Rosenthal make changes to her injunction, she made no attempt to follow the Appeals Court decision.  In fact, she doubled down and issued a second preliminary injunction completely ignoring the rule of law. It is extremely sad that a judge who clearly understands the law, decided to ignore an Appeals Court mandate and use her opinion to make a harmful decision.  However, the systems of checks and balances that our forefathers created within the court system for this reason, worked! This is a great ruling for the victims and citizens of Harris County who have had to endure a 50% failure to appear rate by defendants with no accountability.

Ken Good, a distinguished Texas attorney with years of experience in bail summed up the ruling: “…the judges had demonstrated they were likely to prevail on at least four of the seven grounds set out in the motion. These grounds included: (1) the second preliminary injunction violated the mandate rule; (2) the second preliminary injunction violated the limits of a federal court’s power; (3) the US Constitution does not require mandatory release of those who cannot afford bail; and (4) the US Constitution does not require mandatory release of those detained more than 48 hours without a hearing.”

A second ruling, one week later, within the US Court of Appeal for the 11th Circuit also ruled in Walker v. City of Calhoun that monetary bail and bail schedules are constitutional as long as due process exists in the form of a review by a judge within 48 hours.

Unfortunately, taxpayers and law-abiding citizens had to pay millions to uphold the US Constitution because a few activists who want their opinion, not the constitution, to be the rule of law.

Undoubtedly, monetary bail was intended as an option for release by those who wrote and ratified the US Constitution in 1791. Simple logic proves this fact: Monetary bail was used by courts in 1791. If those who wrote and ratified the Constitution did not imply “excessive bail, excessive fines” as a monetary option within the 8th Amendment, monetary bail and fines would have been ruled unconstitutional over 220 years ago.

About Ken Berke

Ken Berke is a licensed bail agent in Florida. As Executive Vice President of Roche Surety & Casualty Co. Inc. he frequently travels throughout the United States meeting with bail agents and the public to increase awareness of the professionalism and importance of the bail industry to victims, defendants and the judicial system. He is a frequent contributor to the Roche Surety blog where he dispels false claims against the 8th Amendment and bail through facts, statistics and logic.