Colorado Bail Bond-Related Measure Sparks Controversy
Larimer County, Colorado – Controversy is brewing in Colorado over Proposition 102– a November ballot measure seeking to change the handling of criminal defendants awaiting trial in Larimer County.
Proposition 102 would ban judges from assigning defendants to pretrial services on unsecured bonds with the exception of first-time offenders accused of non-violent misdemeanor crimes. In contrast, only defendants utilizing surety bonds obtained through a bail bond agency for a fee would be able to be assigned to pretrial services.
As background, pretrial services involve the screening and examination of a defendant by a bond commissioner who determines their flight risk and potential community threat if released. Under a personal recognizance bond, defendants promise to appear in court with no monetary commitment between the court and the defendant. Under a surety bond, defendants utilize the services of a bail bond agent, who agrees to guarantee the appearance of the defendant in court or pay the court the entire bond amount.
Opponents of Proposition 102 argue that the measure would lead to defendants spending increased jail time, ultimately leading to higher jail populations and increased state costs. Supporters of Proposition 102 point to public safety issues of offenders being released from jail on personal recognizance bonds.
County commissioners on Tuesday, September 14 unanimously approved a resolution against Proposition 102.