Monday, February 22, 2010

Friction Between Lawmakers Over Bail Limit Bill

Bills: House, Senate at odds over what other crimes incur bail denial

Lawmakers have kept partisan politics to a minimum as they work to limit the constitutional right to bail.

Now unity is fraying over the issue, but the seams are between not Republicans and Democrats, but House and the Senate.

Both chambers of the Legislature have voted overwhelmingly to change the state constitution to allow judges to deny bail in certain cases. Both of the proposals they want to send to voters would apply only to criminal suspects staring down life in prison.

And both changes, if they had been in effect last year, would have allowed a judge to detain Maurice Clemmons before he killed four Lakewood police officers.

But House members argue that only their version would lock up enough dangerous criminals.

“It definitely will protect more people,” said Rep. Mike Hope, a Seattle police officer who sponsored the House version. The Senate measure “doesn’t even cover half of 1 percent, when you’re looking at crimes.”

Judges can already deny bail to suspects facing the death penalty. The Senate would let them do the same to people accused of a crime that could land them in prison for life with no early release, including a third strike for certain serious crimes and a second strike for sex crimes.

The House would allow denial of bail for any potential life sentence, regardless of whether there is a possibility of early release. That would add first offenses on many of the most serious crimes – including murder, rape, first-degree robbery, first-degree burglary and first-degree arson.

Read more here

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

1 comment:

Matt said...

Definitely a good idea to withhold bail (at least for a good period of time) on Capital cases.