I recently represented several court-appointed clients who were seeking bonds. I met them in the jail to go over their situation and discussed the relevant issues surrounding what would encourage or prevent a judge from giving them a bond. The bond allows them to be released during the time that they are waiting to stand trial. Without a bond, they may have to sit in jail for a month or two leading up to a trial that might not result in incarceration of that long of a period.
The judge looks predominately at whether the defendant is a flight risk and whether or not they are a risk to the community. If either of those things are a concern, the judge is less likely to grant freedom to the defendant while they await their trial.
As part of the judge’s paperwork, they have a piece of paper from the magistrate with notes on it from when the person was first arrested. The magistrate can often grant a bond right there at the point of booking but for one reason or another did not in the present situations. The magistrate writes notes about the evidence (very brief) and any criminal record. Additionally, the magistrate can take notes about the person’s conduct during the arrest process or while in front of the magistrate.
In two of the cases I was working on, the magistrate wrote derogatory notes. In one instance, the defendant had a bad attitude with the magistrate and cussed them when addressing them. In another, the defendant had to be physically restrained by deputies when in processing at the jail. The magistrates notes were clearly not favorable in either case.
The defendants now wanted to go before a judge to ask them for some favor and mercy. They wanted to be found trustworthy of release pending trial. The problem is that the notes from the official who most recently came in contact with them reflected rebellion and disregard for authority. Worst, there are implications of character issues such as a lack of integrity in that the defendant acted a certain way when they thought there would be no consequences and now a different way when they wanted something.
Our integrity and character are best measured when we believe nobody is necessarily going to hold us accountable. Do we choose to take the shortcut on our taxes? Do we intentionally flip to the pornographic movie when our wives aren’t around? Do we have people in our lives that we call to share our struggles and failures to ensure that we develop in those areas?
The accountability for our character is sometimes a delayed response. Justice for our choices is certain. There is a reckoning and when we step into destructive choices, destruction will follow. When we make the tough calls even when it doesn’t seem like we absolutely have to, the Life and Fruit from that discipline yields tremendous Reward.