Georgia Senate bill calls for cash bail for 53 more felonies

Georgia Senate bill calls for cash bail for 53 more felonies

Georgia senators want to require cash bail for many more crimes than under current law, a move the bill’s sponsor says would deter people from committing additional crimes.

“These are not mistakes. These are not involuntary actions. People who choose to violate this law,” Sen. Randy Robertson, a Catawla Republican, said of those he is targeting. Senate Bill 63, which passed by a 31-21 vote on mostly party lines on Thursday It will now proceed to the House for further debate.

Currently, anyone charged with a felony in Georgia must post cash or property to get out of jail for seven serious crimes, including murder or rape. The measure added 53 additional crimes to the list, including misdemeanors such as passing a worthless check, or reckless driving or fighting in a public place. It is undone Portions of a 2018 law by former governor Nathan Deal which sought to abolish cash bail for most misdemeanor offences.

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Opponents say the change would mean more poor people sitting in jail and risking losing their jobs and housing, accused of crimes they are unlikely to ever go to jail for.

“The problem is that cash bail uses the bluntest weapon we have to try to attack crime. And that is prison. Just jail,” said Sen. Josh McLaurin, a Sandy Springs Democrat.

A part of the bill Massive national action by Republicans Pushing back against changes over the past two decades that allowed more people to get out of jail without bail.

“It mystifies me that so many people are concerned about prisoners and criminals and not citizens and victims,” ​​Sen. Jon Albers, a Roswell Republican, said Thursday.

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Georgia Governor Brian Kemp has said he wants more restrictive bail conditions. That’s how he and other Republicans line up Last year hurt their Democratic opponents Soft on crime. Kemp is supporting other anti-crime proposals in Georgia this year, including Long sentences for some criminals.

“We’ve found that being tough on crime helps,” said Robertson, one of the leading proponents of crime suppression. “It’s working. Just don’t be fooled by those who champion criminals.”

Georgia’s bail measure states that someone with three prior felony convictions, or a felony conviction within the previous seven years, cannot be released from jail without posting cash or property bail.

Robertson said that without such provisions, judges and prosecutors would make “exceptions” for people who don’t deserve them.

“They’re recidivists,” Robertson said. “These are individuals to whom the system has been kind.”

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The bill further restricts a city or county’s ability to release someone from jail without bail, saying that someone cannot be allowed out of jail without automatically being required to post bail until they appear before a judge.

Judges are supposed to grant bail only to those who are not considered a threat to society and a threat to abscond before trial. The bill would not override a Georgia law that says judges must consider a person’s ability to pay when setting bail. But opponents say they believe Republicans are trying to pressure elected judges to set higher bail even when people can’t pay.

“This bill will essentially force more judges to choose prison because of their stress,” McLaurin said.

Another part of the bill classifies domestic terrorism as a serious violent crime. That means anyone convicted of the crime must serve the full sentence ordered by a judge, cannot be sentenced to probation as a first offender, and cannot be paroled unless an offender has served at least 30 years in prison.


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