The video below shows a court processing applications for bail before a judge while the accused are still at the jail. ¬†The use of a video link gets rid of the need to process, transport, seat and return the accused and appears to be a great idea to get some cost savings back into the system.
Mind you, it doesn’t pay to show disrespect, even over video:
A lawyer who viewed this video isn’t impressed: ¬†
A little criminal defense lawyer perspective: First, the judge was clearly out of bounds increasing her bond because he didn’t like her attitude. Release on bond/bail legally is only allowed to serve two purposes – ensuring that the defendant returns to court (skip out and you don’t get your money back), and ensuring that the defendant complies with their conditions of release (mostly – don’t commit more crimes while released). There is no legitimate basis for a judge to modify bail/bond for a moment of flippant behavior.
Second – states that don’t provide arraignment representation suck. Where I practice, the PD’s office arraigns everyone who doesn’t have a private lawyer, even if they ultimately are not appointed a PD. If she had a lawyer representing her, this wouldn’t have happened – the lawyer would have been doing the talking and if she did anything inappropriate the lawyer would shut it down – client control is a lot of the job.
Third – video arraignments cause this kind of shit. She wasn’t in court, she was in jail and the county (state?) set up a video link between the jail and the courthouse to save themselves transportation costs. So she’s standing in front of a little camera with a little screen showing the courtroom to view and she’s surrounded by other detained defendants. It just doesn’t inspire the kind of behavior that actual presence in the courtroom does.
Third- Why not appoint her a public defender – she makes $200 a week, she can’t afford competent representation, jewelry or no…
Finally- the what the fuck factor. This is the perfect example of what is wrong with our criminal justice system. The state (or county) made two choices intended to save money – video arraignments and not appointing a public defender. Probably she wouldn’t have been held in contempt if she was in the courtroom and/or had a lawyer. Now the state/county gets to pay for a month in jail for what – possession of some xanax? Even if you take the contempt charge out of the equation – girl making $200 a week gets picked up for possession of a few pills and they hold her on $5000 – $10000 bond? Unless she has family willing to post or a sympathetic bondsman available, she’s going to sit in jail until she either pleads out or gets a trial – which can take months. So of course she’ll plead out, probably for time served, if that, and be yet another person we just spent several thousand dollars shoving through a kangaroo-court process and tarring for life with a drug charge that will severely limit her ability to move up from her $200 a week job (which she probably lost while she was sitting in jail), all for what – a few fucking xanax?