Legislation to set minimum bail amounts for crimes of violence and or the use of a firearm advances from House Criminal Justice. Crowley Representative John Stefanski’s bill would set a minimum bail of $50,000 for a violent crime and $100,000 for one that involves the use of a firearm.
“Let’s set a minimum floor for a bond if the judge decides they want to go lower than that because of the factors in our code warrant it then just tell us why you did that,” said Stefanski.
Michael Calhoun with the Promise of Justice Initiative spoke in opposition to the bill. He said it’s often family members of the accused who have to pay the bond or place their homes or assets at risk so the accused can prepare for trial.
“Really what this does is target people’s ability to go home and defend themselves in the courts based on their income,” said Calhoun.
Stefanski said the majority of the time Judges set bonds accordingly, but this is his attempt to make Louisiana safer.
“You know I have heard some stories about people who have been accused of committing some very serious crimes and the public believes the bond does not reflect the crime,” said Stefanski.
House Bill 498 passed favorably in committee and heads to the House floor.