It has been become such a common practice in the judicial system to have the opportunity for the use of bail bonds. So much so that is often noted in movies, TV shows and literature. But where did it all start?
Ajua Bail Bonds would like to relate a brief history on the practice of using bail bonds.
– To begin, for those who are unclear of what a bail bond or a bail bond agent is, here is the definition:
A bail bondsman or bail bond agent is any person or corporation that will act as a surety and pledge money or property as bail for the appearance of persons accused in court.
– A bail bond is a written promise signed by a defendant and surety to ensure that a criminal defendant will appear in court at the scheduled time and date, as ordered by the court. The bail amount is set by the court.
History of Bail Bonds
The first modern bail bonds business in the United States, was established by Peter P. McDonough in San Francisco in 1898. But, there is evidence that the first surety bail bonds were agreed upon in what is today, modern Iraq. Citizens were released from jail by having an indemnitor pay a sum in money and to promise the defendant will show up to court backed by the indemnitor’s property such as his sheep. Stone carvings place these events at over 4,000 years ago!
Release from Jail in America
When the New World was in its beginning years, crime was running amuck. In an attempt to take control of the wild bunch, it was easier to adapt the English criminal system. Taking its cue from the British, over time America was able to evolve a criminal system that works to provide an affordable means of release from jail and a greater success of criminals playing by the rules.
Bail Bonds in Medieval England
In medieval England, it was learned that those accused of crimes would do whatever they could to avoid facing the court and the possible punishment for their crimes. In those days, the widely used punishment was water torture and burning at the stake which explains why so many made a run for it. Local sheriffs had a hard time keeping criminals locked up until trial because there was no magistrate in the local town and it could be a month or more before a judge would hold court. In so doing, there wasn’t any room to hold the criminally accused. The local sheriff was called upon by the King to decide which criminals should be released. The sheriff also had the authority to decide the fate of any and all criminals, based on the severity of the crime. This loosely structured ‘justice system’ had a tendency to be exploited for personal gain. In 1275, Parliament passed the Statute of Westminster to keep the sheriffs from being corrupt. The statute specifically listed which crimes were bail-able offenses and which were not. Once this was enforced, there were no changes made to the system for hundreds of years.
Bail Reform Act of 1966
During the evolution over 200 years of the right to bail and trial, the most beneficial law to date was instituted by the U.S. Congress in the form of the Bail Reform Act of 1966. It stated that a defendant facing trial for a non-capital offense should be released “on his personal recognizance” or on personal bond. Be that as it may, if the court had reason to believe the defendant would skip town, the judge could choose a more restrictive alternative like limiting the defendant’s travel and executing an ‘appearance bond’ that would be refunded when the defendant appeared in court.
Bail Reform Act of 1984
Finally, the federal justice system joined in by instituting the safety of the community as an element to be considered when imposing bail and thus the Bail Reform Act of 1984 was passed. This newer version added guidelines stating that a person can be detained without bail if he:
– Poses a risk to the community.
– May intimidate jurors or witnesses, or otherwise obstruct justice while out on bail.
– Commits a violent or drug-related crime, an offense carrying a penalty of death or life in prison, or committing any felony while already having a serious criminal record.
Professional Bail Bond Service to Get you Out of Jail Fast in the Central Valley of California; Fresno, Atwater, Merced, Selma, Visalia, Hanford and Madera
We hope this was a help in understanding how the bail bond system came into play in modern times. If you should find yourself of needing a bail bond in the Central Valley of California, call Ajua Bail Bonds today!