Thursday, December 02, 2010

Washington Task Force Makes Bail System Recommendations

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OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) - A Washington state task force formed after the shooting deaths of four police officers recommended on Wednesday tighter regulation of bail bondsmen and more information-sharing with judges who set bail.

The suspect in the police deaths, Maurice Clemmons, bailed out of jail three times in 2009 without ever paying more than 4 percent up front, including just days before the Lakewood police shootings, the Seattle Times reported.

Unlike some states, Washington does not require people getting a bail bond to pay 10 percent of its value.

The 20-person task force, which was created to study the bail system following the police deaths, did not suggest minimum payment rates for those who get a bail bond.

Judges, prosecutors and victims' advocates have argued for a fixed bail bond premium. But defense attorneys and others have worried that a minimum payment could hurt the poor, the Times reported.

Task force member and Snohomish County prosecutor Mark Roe said some officials were "disillusioned" they didn't know bail bondsmen required less than 10 percent.

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